Fagerås: The Place of a Million Daffodils

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That’s right: 1 million daffodils! Also, not just one kind, but many different varieties of daffodils, I never knew they were so diverse!

Every year, for a period of about 10 days, the flowers come into bloom and many people from the surrounding area drive over to see them blossom under the sun. I went there the other weekend where about 60% of the flowers were blooming and Fagerås was the hottest location of the whole region of the country! So under a blue sky and a hot sun we wondered through the fields of flowers and I took photographs. The we went over to the house where they had coffee and waffles for a good price and we sat out in the sunshine.

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I was surprised at how happy it made me to amidst so many flowers, but it really was a great feeling; I have always loved daffodils!

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Global Festival: The Countdown Begins!

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Yes indeed, there is now less than one week left until the Global Festival! We will be having theatre, dance, live music, art, graffiti and more in the little town of Tranemo over 5 days, so come and check it out.

Here is the schedule:globalfest-schedule-web

I will also be displaying my first ever solo exhibiton: ‘Knös’, as previously mentioned.

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The book is now available to order:  click on ‘Knös Book’ on the navigation panel to buy.

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Konstrundan: Local Artists Display Work

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Local artist Erik Hårdstedt (right) and a visitor to the exhibition (left)

One weekend in April we had the ‘Konstrundan’ event where many artists within the local area displayed their work or opened their studios to visitors. Each location was advertised in the same brochure so that people could take their car and spend a few hours on the Saturday or Sunday travelling around and seeing local art.

Here in Uddebo we had work being shown in the Skolhuset, with 2 exhibitions: the work of Erik Hårdstedt; works by Agneta Sofiadotter and Christel Khan.

In the main room of the Skolhuset, you could find the works by Agneta Sofiadotter and Christel Khan. Agneta’s works are acrylic and pen on plexi-glass, with a second layer of glass in front of the painted one. These works are very dreamlike and focus mostly on bodies; both people and animals. Christel works with ceramics and creates sculptures of strange people and creatures, which fits nicely with the other work on display, whilst providing an alternative medium with which to fill up the space. She also works with various other media.

 

Erik Hårdstedt was set up in another room, with his many watercolour painting for browsing and buying. He spends several months every year in India where he paints his work. There is quite a variety in what he does, including collage-paintings, surreal landscapes, building structures and pop-art. Although I am not too fond of watercolour as a medium, he takes it in many different directions and manages to make it interesting.

 

Visit their websites for more information:

Agneta Sofiadotter                                             www.agnetasofiadotter.com
Christel Khan                                                                  www.khan.se
Erik Hårdstedt                                                        www.erikhardstedt.se
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The Story of the Easter Bunny

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A swedish tale translated by me into English.

A long time ago there lived a boy in Greece who was called Orion. His father was Neptunus, the god of the sea, and his mother was Euryale and she was a nymph. You should know that nymphs are incredibly sweet.

Orion grew up and became a large, strong and beautiful boy. But simply because he was so large, strong and beautiful he also became arrogant and that is, of course, not very good. People should not be arrogant, should they?

But Orion was arrogant and he went around and boasted that he was the world’s best hunter. He said that he could hunt all of the world’s animals. And when his friends didn’t believe him he said that he would show them. He would hunt and kill all of the animals over the whole world. The others all thought that Orion was not very nice and actually quite stupid to have said that.

But Orion set off to hunt all the animals of the world. With him he had two dogs who were called Big Dog and Little Dog. One day he came across a birds nest which a little bird had built. There the little bird had also laid her eggs. The stupid Orion trampled it to pieces, as well as all of the eggs, and said that now he would also kill the little bird.

“Help, help!” cried the little bird. Spring’s goddess, whose name is Ostara, heard the little bird’s cry for help and jumped in to save her. “Now I will change you into a hare so that you can run away from the nasty Orion.” So Ostara changed the little bird into a hare. The hare set off at full speed so that Orion would not be able to catch up, and the bird that was now a hare thanked the good goddess Ostara.

Now Orion became very angry and decided to hunt an ox instead. The ox was owned by Plejaderna. Plejaderna was one seven siblings who had a huge father called Atlas. But when Orion came rushing to hunt the ox, the hare jumped in – the one who was really a bird – and teased Orion’s dogs who were called – yes, can you remember what Orion’s dogs were called? Exactly that! Big and Little Dog is what they were called.

When the hare teased Orion’s dogs, they ran back and forth in front of Orion so that he stumbled, and so the ox could run away and free himself from the stupid Orion. In this way the hare also saved another animal, exactly as Ostara had saved her.

But one day the hare asked her friend the goddess Ostara: “Now that I am a hare I cannot lay any eggs. That is very sad for me. I thought it was so great that I could lay eggs.”

“I will arrange it so that you can lay eggs, even though you are a hare. Once a year – when it is Easter – you will lay a very remarkable egg. It will be the most amazing egg that you could find and it shall be called an Easter-egg. Inside them you will find different sweets, such as chocolate and caramels. And these eggs you will give to all nice children in the world.”

So the hare became very happy and this day she laid many Easter-eggs for Easter. And if you have been good maybe you will also get one of her Easter-eggs.

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Glad Påsk! : Happy Easter! : Sweden style…

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It is Easter Sunday and in many Christian countries people go to church and praise how Jesus came back from the dead. But in Sweden every tradition has more than just the Christian; there are always elements from other sources, some very old.

Let’s have a quick overview of a modern-day Swedish Easter:

Skärtorsdag  (Maundy Thursday) – Children dress up as påskkärringar, the Easter Witches, and go around knocking on doors and asking for sweets. This concept sounds familiar…

Långfredagen (Good Friday) – Although not the same now, apparently if you go back a couple of generations they would literally have no fun on this day: even the children were not allowed to play because they had to sit and think about Jesus.

Påskafton (Easter Saturday) – This is the day for Easter egg hunting and traditional Easter food, which is often lamb or fish, as well as eggs.

Påsk (Easter Sunday) – The day for church.

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A drink quite similar to coca-cola. This one is Påskmust, but you also find Julmust at Christmas time.

Why are there ‘Easter Witches’?

This comes from an older tradition from 1600s and before about the hexor (witches) who would fly to an imaginary place somewhere in Sweden called Blåkulla. They flew on broomsticks and often the devil would take the form of a cat and sit on the back of the broom and go with them. Related to the burning of witches at the stake there are also celebrations with fire across western Sweden, but this is not done in the east.

In a moment you are going to learn the most important thing of all: where the Easter Bunny came from!

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Gula Huset: Clothes Exchange

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The other weekend at the Gula Huset was a clothes exchange (kläd-bytar) where people could come and give away any clothing that they didn’t want. It is a really nice concept. There is no money involved and you don’t even have to contribute clothing to take some, it is  a purely free exchange of unwanted goods that other people may want. I even got some unused shoes!

The thing about anything in Uddebo is that it is also a social event, in addition to whatever else it may be, so the Gula Huset opened its doors to the cafe that is in progress and they sold coffee, so people could also fika.

 

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Swedish Youth and Alcohol: Documentary for the Kommun

Here is my video that I made about Swedish Youth and Alcohol. It was a project for the local kommun (council) but it will be taken to a conference in May, where they will show it as part of a conference for a new initiative to reduce underage drinking. The conference will be in Denmark and includes 5 countries from the EU: Sweden, Denmark, England, Romania and Spain.

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Exploring Uddebo: What do we have here..?

The other day I went for a wander around Uddebo with my camera. I would like to show you some buildings we have here and also introduce some of the locations where things happen.

1. The Old Hotel

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Not a venue for anything anymore, this is purely a residential household, but I think it is an interesting building and I also like the strange van in front – it makes me think of a steam train because of the chimney!

2. Abandoned House

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Another interesting building because it is in semi-ruin. I guess somebody owns it and maybe one day it will be renovated, but it gives some intrigue to the area. Scroll through the images to see more of the building and also an old boat that’s sitting outside.

3. The Old Supermarket

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Here is what used to be a supermarket at some point far in the past; now there are no shops or commercial places left in Uddebo. This building is owned by one of the inhabitants here who uses the location as a venue for music events. Upstairs is the ‘summer venue’ and downstairs, in the old walk in freezer room, is the ‘winter venue’. A month or so ago they had a band night in the winter venue with 3 rock/metal bands from Gothenburg. It was cool!

4. Gula Huset

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This is a very active building in the community. It is owned by a group of locals who paid some very small fee to the council to buy it as they have an agreement whereby they will renovate it themselves. This is a long-term project and at the moment they are focusing on creating a cafe in a room downstairs. The longer term plan is to turn the upstairs into artist studios. I have been helping a little on their ‘bygg-helgen’ (building weekends).

5. Konst och Trummelurhuset (Skolhuset)

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It may not be pretty on the outside, but it is on the inside! An interesting place, this used to be a school (which is why people sometimes call it ‘skolhuset’) but now it is the ‘Art and Drumming House’. Here you will find Fabian who is a very well known djembe drummer, along with his wife and baby, who owns the place. He often takes WWOOF-ers (www.wwoof.net) to volunteer there for a while and help with their building project in another old house in the village. You also find artists who work here and you can take a djembe-drumming course and other classes occasionally, such as yoga.

6. My Home

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Yes I live in a tree house! No, actually I don’t, but I kinda wish I did. I live in the upstairs part of the yellow building behind it. The tree house and bird house are in the garden of the house in front of us, which is owned by a wood-workman and artist, who made them of course.

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Tre Trappor Upp: Jonas Knutsson and Tom Kennedy Quartet

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Click above to listen to the first track off Tom Kennedy’s new album – recorded live by me and my camera

On Sunday 30th March the music club in Tranemo held a free concert of internationally recognised jazz musicians. They were the Jonas Knutsson and Tom Kennedy Quartet, who played saxophone and double bass respectively. The other two members of the quartet were Charles Blenzig on keyboards and Tuomas Ojala on drums.

As usual, the Sunday afternoon gigs at Tre Trappor Upp had primarily an older audience, but there were a few younger people there too. The club has live music every few weeks, some nights are for members only and some events are open to everyone. Bands who have recently played there, who I have seen, include: DeLarge, Thymeshift and a blues-metal band from Stockholm whose name I just cannot remember! In any case, there is a nice variety of music available here.

 

So onto the gig… I cannot say much on jazz, as I no absolutely nothing about it, but I would say that it was a very interesting and technically skilled performance. They played a mixture of songs composed by different people, both of their own music and of others; the one Tom Kennedy said everyone would know was called ‘Brazil’ and even I could recognise it! Looking it up it seems it’s a real classic dating all the way back to 1941.

So what comes next? Well the guys are doing a Sweden tour at the moment and then heading further afield. Anyone local who has missed the concert in Tranemo can head over to Borås on Friday 4th April to Annelundsvillan, for the concert starting at 20:00.

For more information check out: www.kulturivast.se

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On the Path: from Tranemo to Uddebo

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So we start by the lake in Tranemo on a fairly breezy, but mild day. It is approaching the middle of the day and sun is high in the sky, shining down over the town. Time to head over to the cycle route and start the 6 kilometre trek to Uddebo.

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The first thing we reach on the way round past the quiet yellow and red houses is an event venue. It is a yellow house standing just at the edge of the lake, which you can see from pretty much any side, along with a stage, an open-sided shelter with tables under it and a few other little huts for serving drinks and such-like. I have noticed some activity there lately; it is nearly the season when this venue will begin to be used again.

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Further around the lake, the cycle route stops following the line and continues off in another direction. Just as this happens you come across is this massive barn. It is quite a nice design and while it seems to be unused at the moment, it is still in good condition. I was wondering what it was for and was told that it may have been where the town stored its weapons in the past. Apparently, the Swedes had some sort of civil army arrangement, whereby every town would have a stock of weapons in case they needed to suddenly defend themselves. Now it has been deemed unneccesary.

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This is where the route really heads out into the countryside and away from the town. Through the trees and fields you have the cycle route and over to the right hand side there is  a road for cars, which remains parallel to the cycle path for some of the route. But as you will see below, this particular route has actually been around for a very long time:

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‘This is an old bridle path, a so-called ravine. In the form of a ditch, this way has taken the tramping of horses’ hooves for a long time. Until about 1820, this route went to Tostarps Gästgiveri (an inn), which at the time lay about 500m eastwards, by the river.’

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The path stretches out ahead of you once you emerge from the trees. Now there is nothing but a small ditch to the right between you and the road, and nothing but a fence to the left between you and the fields. The path is deceivingly long; it looks like you could walk the length of it in a few minutes, but this isn’t the case!

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When you do finally reach the end, you find a kind of funny looking bridge. It has a turquoise coloured metal frame around a wooden frame and it is designed specifically for bikes. Further along, and it took me a while to notice this, are the remains of an old bridge, which was much wider and made of stone, wood and rope. I can see why they needed to replace it.

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Ok, so now the path turns round gradually to the right, whilst a group of houses pass by on the left hand side. A little further along, as we see a one track road come along from the houses, there is a sculpture. I think of him as ‘The Warden of the Route’.

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He is in fact facing the opposite direction on the path, so you face him coming from Uddebo to Tranemo. I do not think he is as old as I would wish, but I like to imagine that he has been around for hundreds of years and was put there to watch over travellers as they went on their way.

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In reality, I think he hasn’t been there very long. He has been carved out of wood, his cape is made from a sheet of metal and it all has been painted. No matter his age or intentions, I still like to greet him as I go by.

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What is this I see in the distance? Why, I think it is the little village of Uddebo, which is spread out on either side of the valley and surrounded by woods. Here is my new home.

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And when you finally reach the end of the path this is what you find: a post with far too many arrows on it. There are some words on the arrows, fading away and unclear, but at least a few of them were places, including ‘London’. I am sure it can help me find my way home! Behind it you can see the old factory, which is currently not in use, and has recently been bought by a new owner.

Potentially this will become another location for community projects or art, as this community has a lot going on and an amazing amount of initiative for a settlement of only 300 people. I will do further posts about some of what is going on here, such as: building project at the Gula Huset; Djembe playing, yoga and art at the Konst och Trummelurhuset; art and rowing as part of Konst Paddling; Uddebo Festival 2014.

Lots to look forward to!

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