a project in Sweden
"the plants are growing through the table", "earth" "earth" "earth" "earth"
IT ALL STARTED ON THE HOMEPAGE
One winter night, on the URNATUR website, there it was: ARTIST in NATURE. Most fascinating words. Reading more, it took me less than a second to write to Ulrika. To apply for her program. To be the Urnatur Artist in Nature.
Long hold images started to grow into shapes, ideas turning into plans, the creative process kicked in.
A good and fruitful exchange with Ulrika followed, slowly, naturally.
GOING INTO PLANNING
There were many drawings going forward and backwards between us, but this one is describing the project the best: a low table, connecting to the ground in its middle part, flowers to be seen on an upraised level.
Flying out 4th of July, Tokyo-Bangkok-Stockholm.
Arriving: my God, that air!! The Swedish summer air! A relief, a refresh, so wonderful clear and crisp!
Riding the bus to Ödeshög: oh, those Swedish busses! Of course Volvo! Calmness pure.
Arriving at URNATUR: the most cute house for these 3 weeks awaiting us, Ulrika, Håkan, relaxed as always, happy hours. The summer nights are never getting dark, still bright outside at 23:00, amazing colors on the lake.
Every evening, the lake changes its colors.
Our guardian, sitting in our window, watching over us, greeting us, when we come back. No, it's not a real one. It's magic.
Most important companion through the project. This so much retro bike carried us, carried twigs, tool, planks, dirt, tea, flowers, and gave us the BEST rides downhill EVER in the evenings.
One of the tree houses. They make you feel like walking through a fairy tale, admiration growing in your chest.
I am sure, you want to visit URNATUR right now. There you go:
INTO THE WOODS
Deciding the place: at Urnatur, there are many many amazing places and it took a day to decide, where the project wants to be. The interaction between a place and the project has to be felt by the person, who will realize the project, a wonderful and sensitive step to be done. The decision fell on a space which was guarded by high pine trees, naturally opening into an ellipse, a place where the visual focus was lead downwards. I personally let myself be guided by the natural movement of my eyes. As it was about a low table project, any place where my eyes were attracted into the height or towards other points, wasn't meant to be.
we decided for and so, this is Ulrika, the forest Ikebanista!
turn right at the Hat cabin, pass over the moss, carefully, duck under the pine trees and there you are!
the place is bathed in sunlight. Here will be the center of the table.
whole Sweden is built on rocks with a bit of moss upon, it seems.
Like in Gulliver's travels, my tools grow more than double their usual size!
DOWN TO THE GROUND
As Håkan said "It's pretty much searching the space between the rocks", and he must know it, building all these huts and houses up in the forest. Me, I met the boundaries and limits right down in the ground. Quite naively, I thought, the metal rods, the ones Ulrika feared so much, would go smoothly into the ground, smooth as butter, but......no, each single of them went in, and hit a stone quite soon......
Building the base was the challenging part. Finding the right technique to weave the stems. For someone used to weave grasses, dealing with tree stems wasn't exactly the same, and I am grateful for my back that it did not snap, and for my daughter, who cut and carried together with me, hold the stems in the right position to fix them or cooked for me, while I was fighting with the base.
IT'S BEEN A HARD DAY'S NIGHT
Nothing better than proceeding! After the rim was set up, we started into the powerful part of the project. Lining the whole construction with thick hemp sheets, sent up from Germany, this felt like being a gardening couturier, or couturiesse?, then filling in heaps of dirt, loads of earth, bag after bag, balancing over the moss, trying to not walk too often over the same moss. Moss does not grow back easily, it takes years for it to settle in again, that's also the reason why we had to secure the workspace with vinyl sheets.
"If you walk over moss, be sure to walk carefully to not rip it off!"
A lesson taught to us by Ulrika.
These days in the middle of the project were fulfilling, just working hard while the day and sleeping well in the nights. A good man's rhythm.