When in Panic Do What You Can

A few years ago I went through a rough phase. Nothing was stable or safe. This made me put on a tunnel vision, focus on the details in whatever I Did, made, be completely absorbed and shut everything else out, because what was happening around me at the time was too much to handle. I escaped into obsessiveness, took refuge in my productivity. It was intense. I could not sleep, I forgot to eat, I isolated myself and I painted for hours.

“I escaped into obsessiveness, took refuge in my productivity..”

This phase made me make self portrait upon self portrait to somehow pin down who I was, make something I could hold on to and something of me that would remain beyond my time here. I tried to understand what I could trust and if I could even establish trust again, in Life and in myself.

To go through a crisis is tough. Depending on how much of your world is taken away from you, how much you have left that you can trust and hold on to, how stable you are in yourself and what support you get or not, all contributes to how deep it runs and how long it takes to rebuild.

“It has been oh so heavy and exhausting but I have somewhere in me known it is the ‘difficult but good work'”

For me it has taken about seven years to get to a good place but that doesn’t mean I am done, feel completely healed or that I have nothing left to work on. Of course I do, but recently I have noticed changes, changes in me and my behaviors that support me and protect me. Thank you therapy and the work I have put in during these past years. It has been oh so heavy and exhausting but I have somewhere in me known it is the ‘difficult but good work’ and I am so much better off now than I have ever been. 🙂 Looking back I can hardly understand what I have gone through and even though it has taken a long time, I’m here now. 💪

All paintings are oil on canvas.

Too Eager Not to Try

When the rest of the house was still a building site, but work paused for a month during the summer, we put in furniture. The living room and kitchen space were not done yet as you can see below. The reason why we did this was partly because we needed somewhere to live during the summer that had a proper kitchen even if much of it was temporary installments, and partly because we wanted to try out the space, feel the space, experience the space. From the floorboards under bare feet to the scent of nature when you open the terrace door and the golden sunlit evenings. Now we have moved out, living in our small guest house again, but I think the decisions we make moving forward will be from a place of better understanding of the house and what it needs.

As I have learnt this far, after two apartment renovations and half way through a house renovation, it is never a straight line and unexpected problems and solutions always come up (if you work with great people). The process is back and forth, it is messy and without the mess the end result would not be as good. The sought after discoveries are found in the experimentation.

We bought and Italian vintage couch 🙂

In the picture above you see half of the living room space without window sills nor skirting boards around the windows, along the floor or ceiling. And neither are the new and bigger windows on the right hand side in place. And there are no curtains either. And there is no beautiful carpet in candy colors, no living room table (I hope for one in beautiful stone) and no floor lamp overlooking the couch. You get the idea. It is not done yet.

Wooden plate from Tokyo.

This beautiful wooden plate needs a better place. It cannot sit on top of another wooden surface. There is no contrast or tension in that. It is not interesting, nothing happens. But I could not keep it in plastic wrap any longer. It needed to breath and show its beauty.

Every time I see this wooden plate I think back to last summer when we traveled to Japan among other countries. I remember the heat and the sweat, the beautiful ramen bowls and strolling around Tokyo at night. Japan has a special place in my heart. I spent time there at a young age and it has made its mark.

Stonemasonry Visit

Furthermore, we had an errand on this island: to look for lime stone for our home renovation and specifically for the floor of our hallway and one or two out of three bathrooms that we plan to clad entirely in stone; floor; walls; and ceiling.

Of course it is an experience to visit the very place a material originates from, you make a connection and whenever we enter our hallway in the future we will think of this day where we walked around the dusty stone yard, talked with the people working there, watched them cut the stone and how we were amazed by how diverse a material can be. <3

The workshop.
Stone sample in their sample room.

Island Refuge

I had to get away, to a place that was not mine but that I could lend for a few days. Away to get closer, move to reach stillness. How ironic life can be at times. In the eye of the storm it is quiet.

The silence speaks in a different tone in places that do not belong to us. In the places that are ours, if we are lucky to have these, we hear must dos and should haves, but in places that do not belong to us these whispers do not adress us, we might not even hear them.

When will my skin be thick enough so that your words do not get to me, penetrate into my very core and tell me that, yes, I am wrong and have been wrong and guilty all along? When will I have distance enough to be my own, to validate myself and not need your approval? When will I be able to say stop and no, no further than this, and hold my ground without the tremendous anxiety keeping me awake at night until I take another pill? Will you ever see me? Will we ever be reconciled? Or will we only meet in the tunnel of light?

Inhaling across the water, exhaling and letting go of what is not mine, exhaling and pushing away what has gotten too close to me. Listening to the trees growing, to the waves falling onto each other. Looking myself in the mirror, my face is strange, constantly changing. It does not matter. Walking behind you in the heat along the shore line, suddenly remembering I forgot it all, a refuge in oblivion if only for a brief moment.

More from this trip in the next post on Friday. 🙂

Basic Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 3 ripe bananas
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 dl flour of choice
  • 2 dl rolled oats
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Coconut oil for greasing the pan
  • Breadcrumbs for dusting the pan
  • A handful of nuts and seeds of choice for topping

Directions

Mix the bananas, eggs, flour, baking soda and salt in a food processor/mixer. In a bowl blend the mix with the rolled oats.

Grease a baking pan and cover the inside with breadcrumbs. Pour in the mixture and top it with nuts and seeds. Put in the middle of the oven on 200° C for about 30 minutes.

Let cool before serving. Store wrapped in the fridge, or freeze in already cut up pieces.

A tip is to use neutral flavored flour. Otherwise the banana bread get a funky taste. I made that mistake once. 🙂 Rice flour is a good choice.

I used rice and amaranth flour.

I used olive oil for greasing the pan.

Water Color Attempt

35mm film from Seychelles 2017.

Some days it just doesn’t click. I do not know why. Maybe it is when I am not fully present or maybe not in tune, could that be the same thing? Some days it doesn’t reach even half the way, it is not close to getting there. When life suddenly becomes challenging, when it is turned up side down, plans are pushed aside, ambitions put on hold and priorities shifted. Survival mode is turned on, and then rest and healing is in first place. In these phases I believe it to be important to try when time and energy allows it. Even though it doesn’t feel right, the strokes feel awkward and the colors are off, I believe trying is important because it reminds us of the side of ourselves that we have but might have forgotten about in the adversity, that side of us that… is in tune, that lets her shoulders down, doesn’t try to push against but allows what is, sees and truly sees what is, is sensitive and feels it all.

Just Sip No Drip #3

This project is about making the coffee moment free from messy table tops with coffee and milk circle marks as well as making drinking coffee as enjoyable as can be.

This version of the project made me realize that the problem with drops going down the side of the cups are different from drops going down the side of the milk jar. I had been seeing the problem from one angle when it needed two different perspectives. 🙂 I had been so focused on a coherent visual identity of the mugs and milk jar together as a small family that I did not see that they needed to be different from each other to work. It made so delighted to find out I was wrong! 😀

What I mean by different approaches is that the mugs need a grip that protects you from the heat of the drink. Spillage from the mugs happens mostly when pouring the drink, not while drinking. On the other hand, the milk jar needs something to prevent the post-pour drop of milk to travel down its front down to the surface it stands on and do so continuously with every pour. These are two very different problems that need to be met in different ways, which is why I will share another version of this project in the future, part four that is.

Black stoneware clay with light glaze.

For this iteration I tried a new approach for building technique. I made the pieces in two parts, a bottom platform and a sheet that I built into a cylinder, that I then worked together. As the clay began to set I hugged the mugs and the milk jar firmly, an exaggerated version of how I would grip them normally, to create dents as grip and a more organic shape.

Here you can clearly see how I have wiped off the glaze from the bottom platform as well as the top edge. I did this to create different surfaces, the shiny in contrast with the rough and grainy. In fact the clay I have used here is supposed to be used for sculptures rather than home ware, which is why it contains these grains.

Since I had gotten disappointed with my glaze dipping before I made sure to dip once and do so fast. I wanted the glaze to be thin so that you would still feel and see the structure of the clay and the tools used.

I wanted a good looking inside bottom of the mugs because that is the final visual of your morning coffee or fika moment. The striped bottom will make a pattern with the coffee residue.

Bottom platform with a pocket to collect milk drops that succeed to travel all the way down.

Stable Base to Grow Tall

I made this flower pot with a friend in mind. I wanted to make something that resonated with her and her life view, and so I came up with this expression. She wants to be as grounded as possible before she takes the next step, to make sure she knows what she is doing before she dives into something new, which is only possible to a certain extent but her ambition is to be as stable as possible so whatever it turns out to be, she can handle it. 🙂 I found it very suiting that the object of this expression would be holder of a plant, of something growing out of it.

Stoneware clay with two layers of paintable glaze, cobalt blue and black.

The challenge when building the object’s different parts together is that they need to be wet to be glued together, meaning the act of building them together into one cohesive form makes the joints and the area around the joints fragile. Damp clay is lower in density as you have added more water to it. It is easier to shape but much more likely to collapse. Dryer clay is more stable but not as moldable.

To make this pot hold its shape while drying I built a structure of cardboard, old news paper and hemp wire around and inside it. Additionally, I started out with very thick clay, which made the flower pot very heavy. When it had dried enough I began to carve away what I considered excess clay. This is also a big part in shaping the final expression of the form, to take away what does not have to be there.

A Dip Before Dinner

This summer the liberty of having a bridge of our own has been so luxurious. There has been no need to plan or transport ourselves any further than down the slope from our house to take a swim. A few evenings we have put on the sauna and gone back and forth between the heat and the colder water. Afterwards I could feel new energy flow. 🙂

Summer evening sunlight. <3
We do not own a picnic basket yet so a box that we used during our move is our current substitute to get dinner down to the water.
We are not pro barbecuers yet but slowly learning the tricks by making all kinds of mistakes. 😉