Inspirational Directions and Spaces
Trip Start Jan 31, 2010
141Trip End Jul 21, 2010
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Where I stayed
We take two cars to the studio, as Joelle and I will head further on to the lake afterwards, and will need some way to get home. I am trusted behind the wheel of the yellow Renault, Joelle holding just a little tightly to the seat. The roads are a little empty, or a little ruralesque, which is fitting. I remember which side of the road to stay on for the whole trip as we’re lead over bridges and behind buildings
The studio is a freaking mansion! Kristen and her husband live above it with their son Paul when he’s home from Stockholm. We don’t see in the nerve centre itself, but their work is spread throughout the house, onto the front step and out in the surrounding gardens. There is a very different style to the two artists. Kirsten is visibly controlled in her organic pieces – many like the cups purchased by Staffan and Cicci. With these she creates patterns and motifs – one such piece for the State Garden in Orebro is a couch settee covered in an collection of leaves, berries and seed pods, each cut, shaped and glazed individually before arranged upon the larger form.
Groeitz’s work has a much more free feel to it. In some cases the pieces appear to have been left to their own devices and created themselves – disproportioned archaic shapes that reflect his drawings (thus proving the free form a lie). There IS a very dark quality to his work, the smiles often filled with ugly teeth and tongues, the smooth surfaces pockmarked towards the ends and curled away. Both styles are absolutely amazing.
A grey cat makes its way through the tiles
The sun is out, the blue sky making the landscape ever so picturesque. The house is surrounded by oak trees, half a tree house sitting in one, casting a wonderful shadow onto the green grass. Also surrounding the house are pieces of their work, along with glass pieces of son Paul’s. Walking around to the sound of the rushing river, this place feels warm, inviting and absolutely inspiring.
Near the water’s edge there is a small exhibition space. Walking in you need to slow down and check your balance. No two walls are the same, creating a very warped perspective to the room. Even the lights hang from the ceiling at an angle. Staffan gets seasick if he walks around the room too many times, and not many of the others want to stay in here either. A second exhibition space sits beneath their house, a strange cellar room that smells of damp and cold. This suits the pieces that are currently sitting amongst the near darkness – large pale white stone heads with wild smirking faces and wrinkles. Absolutely wicked.
The house was once the main mansion of the strip, situated across the river from here. What stands there now is an even more magnificent house. The original owner of the land had both sides of the river in his name, and was rich enough to grow out of his mansion, wanting a bigger one. The only problem was the best looking spot on the property was currently taken by the older house
Over Fika, which included a crazy cake that Cicci made for dessert last night but forgot about so never brought out, Staffan talks of a wicked festival they have in early June here. To one side of the mansion across the river is a large greenhouse and garden area, the owners being heavily involved in gardening both vegetables and flowers. A little further up, to the other side of the mansion, is a long garage type area, with a sealed road leading between the two and out into the forest and Arboga town. The owner of the garage area is one of many absolutely fanatically passionate about old school tractor engines and farming equipment. There is a small community, a little like a gun club that will spend weekends as a group helping each other fix their bits and polish their engines. Each of these owners, one gardener, one farming mechanic, wanted to have a spring/summer festival to celebrate each of their arts. They met with their own business plans, one asking the other if she could have this weekend, as it was suitable for her plants
As we get ready to leave their son Paul shows up. Having seen some of his work in the studio we talk about his pieces, and he and Kirsten show us a collection of the work of all three of them along with several other Scandinavian artists in a collective book titled Second Sight. It samples each of the artist’s work and gives them space to express their feelings about their work. It supported an exhibition that traveled through all the Scandinavian countries over a number of months. Paul seems cool and hopes we can see him again before he goes, but remembers he will be in Stockholm for much of the week. Oh well.
We leave the sculptor’s studio in a different direction, up and around a few unfamiliar dirt roads until we reach what I son learn is the lake
The sky is blue with a few clouds slowly making their way across the sun, just warm enough for a walk. Our journey is rather quick at first, as we do not wantt obe here when the sun goes down. When I was out in the forest with Staffan, he talked of the last tie he and Cicci were out here. The walk said to take one and a half hours. After such tie they realized they were only halfway around the lake, with less than an hour of light remaining. In the end they were fumbling along the terrain in near darkness, unable to see the tack clearly. For the last stretch they put their heads down and relied on sessus to lead them home, worrying more about their feet and putting their fiath in the dog. We did not bring a dog. We need to the sun to keep shining.
After a while the path disappears, the orange markers still visible one the trees as the ground sinks beneath the water. As we talk abot movies we jump from dry spot to spot, keeping to the plants and losing a spot every now and again, dampening the toes of a boot and learning to slow down
As we go through I pass on everything I’ve learnt about the forests from Alex and Staffan – the major tree types in Sweden, that age at which a tree’s skin cracks, the importance of the woodpecker, identifying the quality of the soil and the depth of the bedrock – all of it so interesting to me, strange that I never considered learning much of it about Australian wildlife. I hear the change in trees here as well as we pass through a thicket of spruce. For a good half an hour we can hear the road from where we are, even if we cannot see it. I think it runs quite close to the road, so the thin wall of trees would not be enough to keep out the noise.
There’s something in the water – small, brown and furry – breaking the surface and keeping close to the bank. My first hopes are beaver, but Joelle confirms the probability it was a water rat. Hooray for wildlife!
The landscape surrounding the water changes so very quickly. From the swamp and submerged land we rise up and out to a rocky outcrop, then back down to a lush greenery complete with berry bushes yet to bear fruit, tehn a dry space with dead trees surrounded by younger newbies
Some of the land has been cleared like the controlled forest of Cicci and Staffan, those with the orange markers left behind, trimmed like some sort of totem pole, ugly and standing out against the flattened landscape. After two of these areas we stop for coffee and food – in a spot we are sure can smell pancakes in. No, there are no pancakes in the forest. The work of the beavers is present, their grooves and freshly cut holes and fallen trees blocking our path. It’s not that they want to stop us from taking the path, hey just believe the country is overweight and the only way thry can fix it is by turning every path into a obstacle course. Thankyou Mr Beavers!
The orange markers we’ve been following the whole time continue out onto the road
Back at home with half an hour to spare before we’re due out again it’s a very different story. Angelica fro choir had invited us over for dinner, a wicked idea, with a very small problem. We don’t know where she lives. There is a link to a community address book, but when searching it cannot find Angelica on the plant, let alone in Sweden. A quick call five minuets before we leave has me even more worried. The directions are through roads with no names, no wonder google maps cannot find anything. The directions over the phone are something like
- Get to Fellingsbro (that googlemaps can do)
- Find a plant house on your left, turn left,
- Travel along until you see a yellow house, turn left again,
- There will be a grey house on your right, turn left and find the house with the trampolines out the front.
I am a little doubtful about this. To make matters a little more worse the petrol light is on, we may only have enough petrol to get there, if we ever find where there is
Getting to Fellingsbro, ok, fine, worked ok. And YES! The flower shop is on the left, and not surrounded by others like I assumed. Dirt road leads us up along to a strange slip lane kind of thing, and now there are three yellow houses to choose from. Oh dear. We try two and find the trampoline opposite the grey on the second attempt. Not too bad at all for no street names. Navigator Away!
When we get there Angelica can see us through the door. Saga runs ahead of her to open, her husband following. His name is Daniel and appearas to be all lean muscles and sinews. Later on he says it is due to a dislike of sugary things. He picks up the second child, a quiet shy boy by the name of Atle, Saga practices some yoga on the kitchen floor, everyone jealous of the remarkable flexibility of children.
Casper, the youngest loves to drop things. Especially from a great height, which consists of him standing and balancing on a chair. Yet to really walk, this standing takes a lot of concentration, so much that it is lost when he smiles, falling flat on his backside to start again. Everythign he can reach is to be dropped. The glasses and breakables are moved out of arms reach
We all sit down to a wicked dinner of meat that I’m told is meant to be served coldbut tastes amazing, and a potato dish that made me think of home, only without the seeded mustard mum used to smear on like a magician. Joelle gets a faux chicken piece made from Quarn, and the kids eat bits and pieces as we talk.
Joelle and I learn about Angelica’s miracle kids. Health troubles when she was younger had doctors believing she could not have kids. Three gorgeous children later it turns out she can, quite well in fact. She mentioned of handling how the rough life plan involved education career family, in that order, but has turned out in nearly the exact opposite way. Still, she would not change it for the world; her miracle kids really are just that.
After dinner we all take a walk, which I’m pretty sure will help wear the kids out for bed. Just around the block, we can watch the sun set from here, a truly picturesque moment if ever I saw one. Daniel says the best place to watch is from the balcony with a whiskey in hand, but it’s a mess and has been too cold to do so. Next week may be jus the right time to start again. Walking the block I notice the cat is following us. Angelica mentions the poor animal following them as she takes the kids to kindergarten. The path crosses a busy road about halfway along, and angelica has to resort to mental thought projections of “wait. Please wait there.” to the cat for fear of it being struck down by a truck. We slow down at times and give it a chance to catch up. It never gets too close but follows us all the same.
Joelle and Saga have running races. Then Saga and Atle. Then Saga and Daniel. Daniel knows to let her win, as he has learnt his daughter can be a sore loser when she wants to be. This has never been more apparent than a fateful night when they thought it a good idea to play monopoly. Things did not end as expected. Saga keeps taking off her jacket, much to Angelica’s distress. She doesn’t believe she’s cold when she’s running, and doesn't plan on stopping just yet.
Getting closer to the house we nearly lose Atle in a tree. Saga had begun to climb and thinking it a great idea Atle had joined her. Daniel runs back to him – as much as he likes it getting down again has proven a problem at times.
After putting the kids to bed, two of them quite reluctantly, the four of us sit down to watch The Box. Slightly messed up, made by the creator of Donnie Darko, the worst bit about it was the acting ability of Cameron Diaz, especially with that accent (I’m sorry, I loved you in Charlie’s Angels, maybe you should stick to bubblegum poop). The plot is a wicked idea, reminiscent of Dark City with the creation of situations for people to make ultimate decisions. Dessert was experienced in the form of wicked creamy cheese bits with Wild Strawberries. They look like regular strawberries, but smaller, and apparently you cannot find them in shops. For days after Pnau’s song Wild Strawberries plays through my head. Not my favourite song when it came out. Now I’m more tolerant of it. The movie ends but conversation move to the kitchen, Angelica talking about her study into wind power and how important it will be for future of power production. Eventually we hit that tired wall you get to around here and call it a night.
The night is cold enough to put ice on the windscreen. Using whatever we can find – I think it ends up being a fold being of cardboard and my blue fingerless gloves – we spend a good fifteen minutes scraping a hole to see through, hoping the rest will fall away as we drive.