Monday, 4 June 2012

ARDEN ON TOUR ~ Stockholm

I'm just back from a trip to Stockholm to present the Arden Collection for Zoffany.

Showroom: Verdure fabric
This city is fresh and open and, as a collection of small islands, there's water everywhere. My fella and I were shameless tourists for three days before I donned my Zoffany hat for the final two.

Stockholm from the Norrstrom river

Our hosts for the presentation were Frank and Cordinata, a packed-to-the-rafters interiors showroom in the heart of the city.

They invited an enthusiastic audience for the cocktail evening and then an A-list of journalists for their press breakfast the following day. I gave my talk to both audiences and the collection was well received by all.

Hopefully Arden will be appearing in the top Swedish mags over the next few months.

Showroom: Arden in red and pewter

I was tickled by this clever costumed interpretation of some of the Arden wallpapers:

Showroom: Dummy dressed in Merchant's Stripe and Filigree

So Stockholm!...There's loads to see but here are some of my creative highlights.

SKANSEN, open air museum

A painted ceiling in the late 17th century iron master's farmstead.

Where the English tradition of wall painting thinned out after the Elizabethans, it continued in Scandinavia and seems to have evolved in a sweeter and more refined style. Here's a lovely example of a birds and flowers design somewhat softened by time but very finely executed.

(note to self: must dig out my Scandinavian Decor books and actually read them not just look at the pretty pictures!).

The Vasa Museum 

This extremely popular museum holds a stunning warship that sank a mile out of harbor on her maiden voyage in 1628.

The ship is abundant with carved decoration which may well have been what caused her to keel over. She was raised again in 1961 and no photo can quite capture how immense this ship is and how incredibly well she is preserved. I was particularly drawn to the rich carvings and the gnarly patination of the wood. 

Vasa Museum

Nordiska Museum

So glad I came here. A great introduction to the folk art of Sweden. Lots of painted fabric and furniture to inspire and such a fresh and consistent colour palette. This reflects the limited pigments available from leaves, bark, soot, earth and red lead. Definitely feel a new collection for Rowan coming on.

painted wall hanging. The three holy kings
distemper paintings on paper and cloth

Also in the Nordiska museum was a display of dolls houses. Not my usual bag but absolutely fell in love with the oldest one on show made in the late 17th century.

This was, of course, a toy but also a learning tool for teaching young girls about being a housewife!

I'm tempted to try painting some of these designs full scale. They are so full of energy!

That'll do for now.... time to go into the delish food (I'm a herring convert!) and the friendly locals and the other museums and the blah blah blah.

Big thanks to Pauline and the lovely people at Frank and Cordinata who were great fun and very organised.

Thanks also to Chris Warren (Zoffany's export sales director) and Verity Scrase (from PR agents Murray Weir Willats) who arranged the trip and helped with the presentations.

...and finally a red squirrel at Skansen...I can't tell you how thrilled we were to spot this little fella...nearly had my toe off though!