Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday's Treasures & Things

First a warm welcome to Iowa Gardening Woman, a new follower of Desert Canyon Living, who has a beautiful blog filled with flowers and dogs. Then, thank you all for your Valentine's greetings. I was able to catch up on a lot of blogs yesterday and it was so much fun. I will continue my catch up today and I'm looking forward to it because I really, really missed you.

I'm always wondering if I'm about to run out of treasures and  then something happens to remind me that I still have so much. This week it was Vicki Lane, who showed some wonderful photos of folk art on her blog on February 12, 2011.  Looking around my living room, I saw folk art from Sweden to West Africa. So, with this new focus I won't run out for a while. Thank you for your inspiration, Vicki.

Let me begin with the Dala horse, which has represented Sweden for a long, long time now. When I last was there, I was concerned that it may have been replaced in popularity by the moose, which was ever present in all the tourist shops. But to me the Dala horse is the true representative of Swedish folk art.

Sweden is a country of huge forests and with such an abundance of wood it is no surprise that woodcarving is a popular folk art there.  According to Wikipedia, the history of this wooden horse began many centuries ago when, during the long winter months, woodcarvers made toy horses for their children.

I also read that the earliest references to wooden horses for sale are from 1623, nearly 400 years ago. In the province of Dalarna, or Dalecarlia in English, the art of carving and painting the horses became a source of income and rural families depended on this cottage industry to put food on their tables. The skills of horse carving and painting were passed on from generation to generation.
I found out that the horses come in many colors, but I believe the color of the above horse is the most common. A special style, called kurbits, is the traditional style used to decorate the Dala horse. Finally, Wikipedia told me that the Dala horse is still a handcrafted product, made of pine, and its pattern is about 150 years old. I'm happy to note that my two horses are authentic folk art from Dalarna.

My Dad gave me this little blue horse when I left Sweden so long ago.

They make a fine couple, don't they?


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