I love to welcome December each year. This starts the winter months, a holiday season and a time for inner reflection for me. In December I start to think of beyond the first of the year. My garden lay dormant and I start to think of the colors to come. I start cooking comfort foods such as tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches, baked chickens and baking, always baking deserts for the soul. And then there is the nesting, being reacquainted with my knitting projects and spending time in the art room.
But of course before the calm comes the storm of the winter holiday season. I’ll be working on more holiday designs (they are in my head now hollering to be created) to share here. Also in the works fun gift ideas including custom mugs with matching hot chocolate combos. Or foiled photo cards you can personalize with your own photos and custom text and much more.
In the meantime I hope you find a little peace in the craziness.
In the North winter is blue. Freshly fallen snow has blue overtones. Once the sky is lit the gradient blue is endless. The blue birds chest remains blue all throughout winter. When you miss the sun you feel very blue.
I’ve been thinking of changes, not because it is January but because of winter. Winter doesn’t always remind us to sleep, to hibernate as bears do. It reminds us that this is the time for action, for preparations to be made going forward. There are things in my life I’d like to change, goals I would like to see met are in motion this January. I hope to be sharing more of these changes soon with you.
It’s quite a process moving forward with new ideas. I’d very much like to hone in on how far I can take my printmaking experience. I’ve decided to explore more creative avenues starting with this medium. Who knows, perhaps I will be morphing into my own style and make something of it.
Continuing on my Scandinavian print project here is the latest installment entitled Red and Blue Nordic Mittens. This linoleum print design includes two pairs of mittens. The first pair on the left are red. On the top of the mitten you will see a snowflake pattern that includes four white diamonds with branches splitting them and small white leaves at the tips. The rest of the pattern is thin white lines also making up a diamond stitch.
The second pair of navy blue mittens includes a “v” shaped pattern of white stitches. This design is inspired by a sweater I own purchased in 1974 from L.L. Bean called the Norwegian, Nordic Wool Sweater. The cuff of these mittens have a thick white line stitched into them.
I truly had fun creating these Nordic mittens. Part of the exercise was to find my own personal style with this thing called “art”. If you look through my blog I dabble in many mediums. I enjoy them all though some days I feel like I really have no “presence” or style of my own. With this project I have noticed I do enjoy the more whimsical side of design. This is something I will probably continue to explore.
The third of my Scandinavian series of linoleum block prints is called Two Swedish Yule Goats. The Yule goat with its Germanic Pagan beginnings has always intrigued me. In Sweden the goats first origins of Pre-Christian lore to when the people worshiped the Norse God Thor. It is said Thor rode a chariot across the sky drawn by two goats named Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr.
The history of the Yule Goat takes various twists and turns with various traditions interwoven in the Swedish culture. Most often you can find woven straw goats adorned with a red ribbon as ornaments, illustrations of St. Nicholas riding a goat or giant erected goat placed in town centers for the Christmas holiday.
Winter magic takes the right time of day, perfect wintery weather and little imagination. I look for those shining moments when sun, snow and crystal air come together. The challenge of waiting till the sun is at the correct angle to dazzle the eyes using snow to refract the light. Each limb needs to be covered with clinging snow and ice, “trees in cotton” as my daughter would say.
Winter magic is luminous after the night’s whispers have faded away. The returning of the sun is about anticipation, believing in something wondrous and leaving us with hope.