A TREASURE CHEST – DAGNY TANDE LID

Photo: Jann Bernhard Nilsen

It all began this summer. My husband and I were hiking in the Norwegian mountains Rondane  and I decided that mountain flowers should be my holiday project. I wanted to learn all the names of the tiny, beautiful flowers that surrounded our feet. I made this little bouquet and back at the cabin I started to google and to memorize. Great fun!

Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

While googling around I came across Fjellflora, a beautiful set of china produced by Porsgrunds Porselænsfabrik in Norway. It is designed by Tias Eckhoff (1926 – 2016), a famous Norwegian, industrial designer, for which he won The Norwegian Design Centre’s Award for Good Design in 1965. Today he is represented in various museums, including the Museum of Modern Art in New York City and Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Read about him (Norwegian only) and look at his design from here.

But what caught my eye were the beautiful floral decorations. This set consists of twelve flowers, all found in the mountains of Norway. The artist, Dagny Tande Lid, (1903 -1998) is internationally known, and up to this day she is ranked as being one of the best floral illustrators in the world. She had a lifelong love of flowers, and these were among her favorites.

Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

At the cabin I reached a decision, this china set should be mine! I spent all summer searching websites to find this particular set, and by the end of August I finally had a complete set. I was delighted to discover that each flower was described on the back of its tea plate, both in English and Norwegian with the signature of Dagny Tande Lid.

Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

However this is like a never-ending story because I found another treasure as well. Dagny Tande Lid had also decorated liqueur glasses with the same mountain flowers for Hadeland Glassverk in Norway. Even more to purchase, and luckily I managed to get hold of all twelve. Done, I thought, until I realized that she had been married to the famous botanist Johannes Lid who served as a curator at the Botanical Museumin Botanical Garden in Oslo from 1919 to 1956, and that the two of them spent all their life together writing about and illustrating plants and flowers. Their most famous book Norsk flora was first published in 1944 and is still used at the universities approximately 60 years after. My son, who is studying landscape architecture, has this book as part of his curriculum. I was lucky enough to come across a copy, second edition, from 1952.

The couple also studied in depth the flora of the Canary Island, the Arctic, Svalbard and Jan Mayen which led to numerous books. Two places on Jan Mayen are even named after them. And so is one of the buildings at Botanical Garden in Oslo;  In 2011 they were honored for their contributions by having the Botanical Museum named after them:  Lids Hus – Lid’s House.

Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

Dagny Tande Lid is best known for her illustrations for the Mountain flower of Scandinavia (Fjellflora), which has been issued in 325 000 copies since the first printing in 1952, and which is still available. As a matter of fact, I bought this book above, in a bookstore the other day. The text is written by the Norwegian botanist Olav Gjærevoll. The book has been translated into several languages, including English, German, Swedish and Finnish. She also became internationally recognized by the illustrations in Rocky Mountains Wild flower; a popular, beautifully illustrated guide to 430 species of Rocky Mountain alpine and sub-alpine plants. It is still used at universities “over there”. The drawings of Dagny Tande Lid can be exhibited here

Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

Dagny Tande Lid can be compared to an onion which can be peeled a layer at a time. The sweetest layer and the highlight for me was actually when I discovered her work at the local library; her poetry and essays in her production of sixteen books. She outlived her husband by 27 years, and spent all these years writing. She has such a way with words, and her poetry is beautiful, humorous and wisely written, all with her flower illustrations, of course. I spent the whole summer reading, and wow what a lady!!

A TRIBUTE TO NORWAY

Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

It is not a secret that I love my country and Scandinavia in general. I consider myself a true Norwegian or a Scandinavian although I do love to travel around the world as well. Here we are on the ferry between Moss and Horten back home after been visiting the family at the eastern part of Norway this weekend.

In order to be inspired by what Norway has to offer, dive into the informal link here written by the New Zealander Jess Miller who recommends 100 Best Things To Do In Norway. For my friends around the world, get inspired and come. For my Norwegian friends use it as a check-list to see whether or not you have missed out anything 🙂

The Norwegian short film «Iconic Norway» directed by film maker Grim Berge in Natural Light AS became the silver winner for Best Photo for Tourism Films in Cannes this September (2017). Watch the beautiful scenes with shots from northern Norway all the way to the very south. Sit back and enjoy from here.

WORKING TITLE

knitting

I love this picture. It tells so many stories, a story about needlework, another about mother – daugther relationship, a story about the 50s and last but not least a story about how often a child is a chip off the old block (eplet faller ikke langt fra stammen).

My husband and I found the picture while clearing up my mother-in-law’s apartment. In the photo she is sitting together with her sisters and their mother. Surely it is from the time when women should be productive also in their spare time. However you can actually tell fromt the picture that they all love what they are doing.

Today we are back on track, and knitting and embroidering are ever so hot. According to research knitting and other types of crafting have quite a lot in common with mindfulness and meditation, and besides creating makes people feel better about themselves.

MY CROSS

I do love my gold cross above that I carry ever so often. The design is great. It is tiny, tiny and measures eight millimeters. When I was eighteen and living in California for a year, I ran across a quote on a card in a bookstore, a card I have kept all this time. The quote goes:

“I carry a cross in my pocket, a simple reminder to me of the fact that I am a Christian no matter where I may be. This little cross is not magic, nor is it a good luck charm, it isn’t meant to protect me from every physical harm. It’s not for identification, for all the world to see, it’s simply an understanding between my Savior and me.”

HAPPY EASTER !

MADE IN NORWAY

I simply love the details in life, and these colorful patterns surely brighten up my day when I stand in my bathroom at six o’clock in the morning. Jordan, the Norwegian brand making and distributing their colorful toothbrushes world wide, and Solidox the oldest brand in Norway for production of toothpaste have been cooperating this year with similar design.

I recently went to England to visit friends, and among other things I gave each and everyone a toothbrush with matching tooth paste. Great fun and absolutely something to recommend instead of bringing traditional Norwegian souvenirs.

LONDON CALLING

Being an architectonic freak, visiting London is always great fun. This week I really enjoyed learning both the names and the nicknames of some of London’s buildings that my good friend kindly taught me. It may be part of the famous British sense of humour, but Londoners tend to use unofficial names when referring to some of the landmarks that form part of their city such as Big Ben (lilac above) which is actually named Elizabeth Tower.

I also visited my favourite gallery Tate Modern which sells products by Yoni Alter, an Israeli-British graphic artist who has made success by his overlapping of bright colors in order to highlight the buildings and landmarks in London (above). So if you are not updated of the nicknames, here follows a small guide: The Cheesegrater (orange), The Walkie Talkie building (blue left) in which London’s highest public garden is located on the top, The Gherkin actually a small cucumber used for pickling (pink middle), The Shard (glasskår in Norwegian) which is the real name, referring to the white glass in which the façades are constantly changing colours according to the weather and seasons (yellow).

With a sharp eye you may spot real name buildings such as Battersea Power Station (green), London Eye (middle), BT Tower (blue right) and Tower Bridge (pink right).

More about the artist Yoni Alter here! His original and signed prints can be purchased from here !

SHAKESPEARE MEETS VIGELAND

vigelandsparken-r

The Sonnets by William Shakespeare are most popular and some of them, such as Sonnet 18  (Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day), is one of the most highly prized poems in English literature. A sonnet is a poem in a specific form, but the word is derived from Italian and means “a little song”. Last year on the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, BBC and other international broadcasters released The New Shakespeare Songbook with his sonnets conceived as songs and films interpreted by musicians and film-makers across Europe. The Vigeland Park in Oslo however is one of Norway’s most popular tourist attractions. The unique sculpture park is made by Gustav Vigeland and has more than 200 naked sculptures in bronze, granite and iron which mainly show the relationship between people in all ages.
The Norwegian songwriter and composer Ane Brun makes these two great men meet in her contribution to the New Shakespeare Songbook. Sit back, enjoy, listen and watch Shakespeare’s Sonnet 138 from here.

LOVE IS ALL AROUND

riktig-versjon

Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

It is Christmas and “love is all around”. Well as a matter of fact, love is not all around. Many people in the world are striving this Christmas. There is war, there is fighting and hatred, and all of us must contribute the way we can. But despite of all the suffering we still need to create good spaces for ourselves.

I truly love this time of the year: the preparation for the time to come, the expectation and the enjoyment of wrapping love into glossy papers and shiny strings. The lightening of candles and the smell of oranges with cloves. I always include a new item in the house for Christmas, and I was delighted when I got hold of this snow globe on ebay after having searched for years.

However what has touched med the most so far this December is the epic version of the song “O helga natt” (the Swedish version of O Holy night) sung by The Norwegian singer and the performance artist Nils Bech accompanying one episode in the Norwegian series Skam (Shame) which is about Isak and Even who are in love with each other. If you haven’t seen this beautiful episode, enjoy, watch and listen from here!

You are welcome to dig into my Christmas song list jul on Spotify where you also will find this version of O helga natt .

I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year !!

THE COLOR BLUE

kjell-nupen

Photos: Kristin Bae Mysen

I have always loved the color blue. To me it reduces stress and creates a sense of calmness. Maybe because it is an “earthly” color that I associate with bright blue cloudless sky and the endless ocean view. But not any blue.  My two favorites shades are the deep blue hue called International Klein Blue first mixed by the French artist Yves Klein (1928 – 1962), and Nupen blue invented by the Norwegian contemporary artist Kjell Nupen (1955 – 2014).

To me blue also is a sacred color, a color of serenity, contemplation and prayer. The artist Kjell Nupen must have felt the same way when he made the stained glass in the beautiful Ansgar chapel and in the church of Søm, both located outside Kristiansand in the southern part of Norway. I went there the other day in order to take pictures (above), and the sunlight pouring through the glass was transformed into pure magic. The British newspaper The Guardian describes Kjell Nupen’s art as having a lyrical approach to nature, and I do agree. Read the whole article about the artist here !

Before I released my meditative book Blue horses in the garden of God / Blå hester i Guds hage (Norwegian only), the designer and I strived for a long time to find the perfect combination of blue shades for the horses. Luckily I ended up being very happy with the cover. The book is now out in third edition, and if you haven’t got hold of a copy yet, you might order it from here, and read about it here.

THREE STORIES

riktig-versjon

This oil painting Winter Night in the Mountains is a favorite of mine. In Norwegian it is called Vinternatt i Rondane, and a snow-covered mountain massif in full moonlight made such a strong impression on the Norwegian painter Harald Sohlberg who was skiing through the area, that he continued to work with the theme for 14 years. He painted a cross on one of the peaks to heighten the sense of the sacredness in nature also because they resembled an icy cathedral. In 1914 he finished his most famous version which now is to be found in the National Gallery in Oslo which is part of The Nationalmuseet and is considered a real classic. I stopped by the other day and bought postcards of the painting.

HOLMMMMMM

Photo: From the web-site of Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk

Sohlberg painted his picture on a spot near Atnsjøen lake (Sohlbergplassen) with a grand and majestic view over the peaks of Rondane. This summer I went through here with a friend and we had to stop at this famous viewing point (above). Being an architectonic freak I was really impressed by the 19 curves made in concrete that gently go around slender pine trees, created by the Norwegian architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk. The platform frames the view towards the lake and the rounded peaks of the Rondane massif almost exactly as they appear in the painting.

LANDSKAPET-RIKTIG

Photo: Kristin Bae Mysen

And this is how it looked from the platform. The beauty made med speechless, and luckily I had the best of light for taking pictures. I have always felt attached to mountains, and to me the mountain range Rondane is the most beautiful there is. No wonder Harald Sohlberg spent 14 years working on these peaks.