Tuesday, 18 May 2010

pretty things on the walls pt. 3

Just before I was leaving for my almost one-year-stay in South Africa in the fall of 2008, I found this beautiful place mat at Åhléns in Stockholm, and I just couldn't resist it. I just fell in love with the colours and the design, and since I was starting up a new home almost from scratch, I thought it'd be nice to add some Swedish 50's touch to it, even though it's not authentic. As much as I do love the vintage and second hand stuff, I don't have a problem at all with repro-retro stuff to compliment it all sometimes. Especially things that look this great. Now it hangs on a wall in the kitchen, looking very lovely and actually succeeds in reminding me of my northern home.

This little darling seahorse is really a bookmark, and was a very much appreciated going-away-gift from a friend. Of course it had to go with me, travel back to the tropics where I'm guessing it'd be happier than the cold north. I wouldn't want to hide it inside a book, however good a book, so it's also been put on a wall, just beside the front door. For as long as I can remember I've had a thing for seahorses, and it was in fact the very first tattoo I got. I was 22 I think, and didn't tell anyone I was getting it before hand, and I choose this tiny little seahorse out of a nature book I borrowed from the library. I don't really remember if I was nervous or not, but I remember that I didn't think it hurt at all, and it was a very good experience. It's to the right on the small on my back, so I rarely see it. The only thing I regret about it is not making it bigger from the start. My family was more surprised than shocked I think, and they thought it was pretty, which it is. Also, for those of you who might not have watched as much Animal Planet as I have: the male seahorses raise the baby seahorses on his own, keeping them in his pouch. That's pretty awesome if you ask me.

My second tattoo, as it happens, was a small lizard. See, I went from tiny to small, maybe a year or so later. Very courageous. The guy who made it must have thought this was a very boring tattoo, but he still did a good job and it was done in record time: 6 minutes! I was a bit shocked by how quick he was, but happy with the outcome. Even though it's quite small it looks good where it's sitting just above my left ankle, on it's way up my leg, but never getting closer. Children usually find it fascinating, cos it looks pretty real from a distance, and it's perfectly within their eye range. This nice beadwork is probably not surprisingly from Durban, NSA Gallery to be exact. I'd sort of promised not to buy that much of beadwork and bring it home and decorate with, but this lizard just had to come with me. It now watches over me when I cook, as it hangs above the stove.

Another thing I brought from home to Durban was this original piece of artwork made by the extremely talented Staffan Larsson. He made this particular piece for a book my publishing house published in 2008, by Véronique Tadjo, who funnily enough now lives in South Africa (she's originally from the Ivory Coast). I really love ships, and I really love this picture, and I also thought of it as a tribute to my late grandfather, who as a young sailor came to Durban back in 1944. I thought of it as this being my ship, following in his foot steps, or waves maybe? I wish I'd known to ask him about Durban before he passed, but back in 1997 I didn't have the slightest clue I would end up moving to the other side of the world for love, that fortunately found me across all that distance.

The nice vintage frame is from Ikhaya next to Corner Café, right here in Durbs. Although I suspect it might not really be vintage, just made to look old. I still think it suits the ship very nicely indeed.

Next to the ship, which is hanging above one of the couches, is this little duo. The blue one is actually painted ceramic, or tile, and it's from the Netherlands, where my husband got it during his stay there some 5-6 years ago. It reminds me a lot of Carl Michael Bellman, a very famous Swedish singer-songwriter from the 1700's, and I like it very much. The other picture is a postcard I bought in Berlin a couple of years ago, I just liked the composition of it, and I would really have liked to hear this group of gentlemen play something. I bet those giant harmonicas have a quite special sound. I wonder who took the picture, and if any of them could've guessed they'd end up on a massproduced postcard maybe 70 or 80 years later, one day being found in a small book shop in Berlin, only to end up on the wall in Durban.

I'll be the first to tell them: anything can happen. Just wait and see.

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