Ok so I have not so far mentioned politics or world situations in this blog but I guess it’s unavoidable this year. My summer has been amazing but very weird like everywhere else of course. I kept the gallery open every weekend through summer, didn’t really feel comfortable to advertise but people kept showing up anyways. Most of them came across the sign by the end of the road but the significant difference in visitors were people from the islands finally finding my place! So nice and so many talks and “new” relatives, yes I am related to probably 50% of the island at least.. My husband made pizzas and they sold out again towards the end in an hour. Along with my photographs and products from locals on the island. All in all I do not know why I worried so much, everyone who came where responsible, kept their distance and all that. This summer was so packed with great swims, meetings and fantastic food now I actually embrace autumn and look forward to hiding out in my darkroom downstairs, no problem keeping a distance there.
This “winter” has consisted of rain, wind, more rain and lots more wind. Funnily enough most of the time perfectly timed with the weekends? Last was the storm Ciara.
This was an unusually sunny day though. We ventured out in the nature reserve with a bag full of cameras loaded with rolls of film.
I set out with a special place in mind, we met tonnes of bird watchers on the way. This place is very popular with bird watchers since a lot of unusual birds get blown in during stormy weather and there is a little hut built especially for watching birds.
The high water stopped us in our tracks though, where you can usually walk across there was now a deep ditch of seawater. After a brief discussion on responsible parenting me and the daughter decided to take our shoes and socks off and wade through the °5C degrees cold water, we do swim all year around after all..
It was so worth it! The waves were amazing, huge and we took lots of pictures. Until..a huge wave suddenly crashed over us and we got soaked so we had to head back before freezing to death in the cold wind. When I develop the develop pictures I’ll know if it was worth risking our lives.
Wow I realise I haven’t posted anything since Easter…which is a good sign I think!
This summer has been awesome, kept the gallery open every weekend and was totally taken by all the visitors I had. Both tourists and islanders found their way to the gallery and I sold out of jams, homemade cordial, fika(Swedish word for cakes and coffee) every weekend. My husband tried out making pizza and it was such a success we carried out the rest of summer and the last day sold out in one hour!
Not only work though, we had time for swimming, buying kayaks and enjoying summer.
My last post was bitter snowy winter…guess I’ve been busy. Now we’ve had a wonderful spring for quite a while. Lot’s of blossom and sunshine! I am terribly late with planting this year but plan to catch up soon. Spent a day re-building my veg-patch frames. I’ve added a huge one and I’m planning to add more. The less lawn to cut the better…plus more veg for the vegan daughter. As always the chicks are such great company. We take our lunch breaks on the stairs and they first start with cleaning their feathers then stretch out basking in the sunlight. I’m having conversations with Maggie, our oldest hen, noticed recently that everytime I say something to her she replies with a purring noise so I’m keeping it up. Also trying to make Oggy the cat to say hello(“Cats who say hello” on Youtube..) but we’ve been at it for at least five years or so and he’s not making much progress..
This year I’m mainly planting spinach, spuds, flowers, zucchini and herbs but added a few things recently. Someone tipped me off about the Sponge-cucumber so I had to order a bag and strangely 15 more seed bags made their way into the order basket.
I have also maximised the time outside doing photography in the sun. I have so many old photography papers that would not be of good use in the darkroom so I’ve used them for Lumen photograms instead and today I made wet cyanotypes with spring flowers. If you would like to know more about the techniques please check out alternative photography.com.
I’d like to say that I’ve been all over Hönö, the island I live on, but the other day I was shown a place that I’ve actually never been to(for what I can remember). So amazing and now my new favourite place. We have a large nature reserve with fantastic nature and I visit frequently on my guided walks, on my own, for a run or for photography.
It’s so easy to get stuck in habit and take the usual paths. This “new” area is apparently very popular with people doing bouldering and I can see why. There are huge boulders and small caves. The rocks are covered in moss and so are the trees growing in shelter of the wind.
I tried out my new camera given to me by a friend at xmas and developed my first pictures of the new year. Some real keepers! It would be perfect for wet plate photography but just carrying all the equipment up the mountain would be a days work.
The last few weeks everything has centred around getting my Christmas market ready. This year I tried staying open for two weekends but sadly the weather wasn’t on my side. Rainy and windy, not many people dared to venture out to the island. Although, we still had a great time!
My theme this time was a different xmas market and I think that’s definitely what we had… First weekend I invited a tattoo artist, I got my first tattoo ever and the oldest customer also had her first one, she’s 78. I sold my analog photographs and invited a local to sell his fantastic lamps made out of old cameras. On top of that of course we had homemade cakes for sale and my husbands spicy Indian Daahl soup with freshly baked sourdough bread. We sold out of Nam Prik Phao(Thai chili marmalade) and xmas mustard. I made one quite spicy but the favourite was sweet, full of flavour, a bit of brandy and sooo nice!
The second weekend I invited a band to play, my son and students from his music school, to play acoustic xmas songs, it was so perfect in the barn. They were great!
Yesterday we got a Christmas tree from the harbour. My husband stood guard outside while I made space for the tree in our living room, apparently some kids started the big traditional hunt already(which is really not fare and totally against the rules) and someone got their tree stolen from their garden day after they bought it. If you are interested in what the Big hunt is all about check this link out: The big hunt is on! or read more about it at Easter!
I’m supposed to get ready for the Christmas market in my gallery and do nothing else than bake and make pictures in the darkroom but yesterday was such a gorgeous day. No wind, frost, sun coming up and the moon still out. A crispy -8°C degrees.
I had a picture in my head and thought well if I cycle to the Nature reserve and back that will take max 30 minutes right? I ended up not taking the image I thought of but lots of other great pics and coming back 2,5 hours later. It was so beautiful one could cry.
When I came home I developed my 3 rolls of film, as usual in Caffenol(coffee and vitamin C), as it turns out one of my two cameras didn’t work so 2 rolls out of three were blank. The only drawback with analog photography… Oh well at least I have my one roll and it was great to take a break from my self-made stress. Today back in the darkroom!
We signed up for an exhibition about a year ago and now the date is coming up very rapidly! The exhibition is made of pictures or any kind of art made with the nature reserve Ersdalen in mind. There are actually two nature reserves on Hönö but Ersdalen is where you get a mix of wild water, woods and amazing rocks.
So we went for a jog and took loads of pictures. My daughter has a plan to draw from a snap of the mobile(of a beer can…?) and I will of course do some kind of photo but haven’t decided what technique yet…
I have been so busy in the darkroom now though, which I’m very happy with! The last few days I’ve used up almost a whole pack of photo paper and almost my whole stack of film, it’s a good sign! I need to be very productive for the Xmas market coming up.
My daughter ordered a t-shirt online and somehow the parcel got sent to Björkö, one of the other 9 islands surrounding Hönö, so we thought why not make a day-trip out of it?
She wanted to go running, it was so windy we took my moped there, crossing on two ferries and 45min later arrived at Björkö harbour. Björkö is actually really close, if we had the boat in the water we could have gotten there in five minutes. Picked up the parcel and Lo and behold! They had the vegan ice-cream she wanted to try all year! So we had ice-cream in the sun down the harbour, warm like a summers day when out of the wind. We decided to let the ice-cream melt a bit in our bellies and went for a walk with my camera. We found so much to take pictures of, I kicked myself not bringing more film and spent my phone battery(mainly on photographing swan butts and jellyfish). After the walk we got really hungry and decided to go back home to cook but of course we couldn’t pass the sheep/pig/hen cooperative!
We last visited a year or so ago, then the hens were in a yard but now they ran free and had quadrupled if not more! No sheep around but the pigs where basking in the sunlight and the mud. On the ferry we decided on three recipes to cook(vegan of course, since my daughter turned at xmas) and getting back we realised we’d forgotten all about running(well maybe I didn’t forget…). All in all it was a fantastic day, Björkö is so nice and feels good to have made the most of these last Indian summer days.
So I had the yearly exhibition in the gallery/barn for the Island Art Wave(Konstvågen). 100 artists open up their studios for the public. As usual I tried not to stress it before the weekend but ended up being super stressed. It paid off though and I think we had record sales on the Saturday! A lovely weekend with great people, sold many pictures and lots of “fika”(coffee and homemade cakes). We doubled the amount of smoked salmon and sourdough bread but still sold out on the first day!
The weather in Sweden has been extreme, it didn’t rain from May until this Monday. On Sunday there was a huge fire at one of the other islands, Björkö, in our end of the archipelago. Luckily it was put out in a few hours with the help of islanders, fire department from Gothenburg, ships spraying water and 4 helicopters water bombing the area. Luckily only a garage burned down and a few houses got zinged and smoke damaged by the fire, no persons got injured. Then today it got really windy again, a warm wind, very strange clouds and I had a message from my mum saying -Don’t go swimming!! Apparently the water had suddenly receded, sinking the water level about 1.5 meters and it all came back again within 5 minutes. Crazy! When we’ve been on holiday in England we have been warned about the tide but in Sweden it is unheard of, the water might change slowly over night but like this??
So we skipped out on swimming today but luckily we had an amazing swim yesterday evening. So many beautiful memories to save for a cold winters day…