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!
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.
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…
I was invited to the local Island heritage centre to join in an arts/crafts market. Luckily only down the road so it was enough to pack my bicycle trolley with pictures. I decided this time to not get stressed before hand and only show what pictures I already had(partly because it’s summer and also it was my birthday) but of course couldn’t help myself to make some new wet plates and cyanotypes. There were about ten other art&crafts people selling everything from paintings to woven carpets, but I actually didn’t have time to take pictures or have a better look at their things because of a steady stream of visitors.
Everyone hade a table to put their things on, me selling photographs it gave me something to think about. I ended up cutting some wood into pieces, getting inspiration from a menu on a wooden stand at a restaurant a few days before, to stand my plates on. It worked really well! I especially liked the one for the Ambrotype where I made two scores in the wood and put a black plate behind the glass plate. A very nice day, looking forward to next year!
So there’s been rain, storm and snow one after the other and then more of everything. What to do on this opposite of summer paradise island? Actually plenty. The last two weekends I’ve been to two exhibitions at the next door island Öckerö. One with a painter and a local ceramic artist, I just love his ugly fish! Also quite funny that most people compare them to the politicians running the islands… Last weekend a photographer had a vernissage. The exhibition was called Iphone diary and consisted of pictures taken with his mobile, the complete opposite to my work but I loved it. I would have like to buy a picture but realised I would never be able to choose so I opted for three of his little books instead.
Now there’s a very successful business man on the island and apart from starting up the biggest company on Hönö he’s bought the gym, the bowling hall, a restaurant and conference center and now he’s opened a cinema as well. Soon there’s no need for us to ever venture into “town”(which is what us Islanders call Gothenburg). It’s a great experience with red carpets, 50 seats and of course popcorn and stuff. Then the very best thing, no 1,5 hour travel home after the movie only a 10 minute walk!