Thursday, July 26, 2007


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One might say that the Dalahorse is the ultimate sign for the Swedish province of Dalarna. All handmade and painted in that special beautiful curbits style - remember the clogs from I so want to get? One of these days... - of the region.

As I wrote before I didn't embrace the province, despite many merits, but I still think there are many interesting things to see and do while there. And I do love all the plentifulness of handicrafts and not forgetting old, traditional methods while producing great design there.
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One of my favourite kind of handprinted fabrics - which I vividly remember from both grandmother, old aunties and from my own home. And many of the very same patterns are still being produced! - can be found at Jobs Handtryck (Handprint).

I've always found these fabrics to be great gifts for sending abroad, as well as having myself of course. Since everything is carefully printed by hand it's also rather expensive. But so very beautiful, colorful, vivid and wonderful! The prints don't only come in fabrics my the metre but also in handbags, rucksacks, chairs, slippers, wallets, trays, coasters, vanity bags, children's clothes etc etc.

The prices still high, but considerably less so than in a "fancy" store in the city, when visiting the small factory outlet in Dalarna. I always get all starry eyed and salivating when looking at these fabrics, seeing all the wonderful things one might do with them... But I mostly settle for smaller items in the end *good girl*
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If you're short for time and want to make the most of it, I'd say keep on the road around the lake of Siljan. Apart from Jobs Handtryck, you'll find several other interesting things both historical and designwise.
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In the town of Leksand you'll find the beautiful manor and gardens of Hildasholm - which I wrote a bit about here - and also quite a magnificent church with intricate, beautiful details.
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The small village of Tällberg offers adorable houses in quaint style and winding streets. But frankly, I did find it *a bit* too touristy and somewhat distorted for my personal taste...
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An impression that got a bit mitigated by the fact that I had a rather wonderful fetacheese pastasallad with loads of lovely garlic tsatziki and freshly made bread at the little quaint Bagarstugan/Baker's Cottage...
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And as I wrote, Dalahorses being the ultimate symbol of the province, of course one ought to pop by the tiny village of Nusnäs, where it all began once upon a time. One of the factories is Grannas which celebrate its 85-year jubilee this year. For that jubilee they've produces quite lovely black and white Dalahorses with silver/gold paintings. Myself I opted for really tiny pink and blue ones... *just what an already full home needs*
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In the nearby small town of Mora you'll find the goal for the world famous ski marathon Vasaloppet - its looks kind of very non-glorious when seen in the summer... Well, that is if any kind of sports or therewith related issues can ever be considered glorious...
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The sign says "I fädrens spår för framtida segrar" which translates something like "In the ways of the fathers, for future victories".
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My victory in Mora must be considered finding quite a nice place, Wasastugan, which served quite the unusual thing for this region, Cajun food. And a nice vegetarian version of fajita was served on my plate.
Anders Zorn's - the famous Swedish painter who lived around the turn of the 19th-20th century, amongst all his works of art you also find portraits of three American presidents - house, Zorngården and the nearby museum with the Zorn collections.
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Such an interesting man, with an interesting wife and an intriguing life. Definitely a must-see! He was also friends with another famous Swedish painter, Carl Larsson, but more about him and his home later. Many things in Zorngården and its garden is in shape of hearts and adorned with owls. The hearts was a wedding-gift to his wife and the owl was his favourite animal.
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Zorn also collected old traditionally built farmhouses and apart from his art and paintings, one of his legacies to the world was an open air museum with the name Gammelgården, which can be found in the outskirts of Mora.
Close to Gammelgården you can see an example of very modern, but still with a Dalecarlian touch, piece of "art" - graffiti on an electrical station.
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In the town of Falun you'll find mainly two places of undisputed interest, one is an UNESCO World Heritage Site - Falu Koppargruva/Falu Copper Mine -, the other is the wonderful home of the above mentioned painter Carl Larsson.
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Let's just say I'm not very interested in old Swedish, or otherwise, industrial history. And some years ago I was more or less forced down that copper mine. But once down - with an elevator - it was quite interesting, and more than a bit eerie... Another must-see!
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But my very favourite place is absolutely the home in Sundborn, just outside Falun, of Carl Larsson and his equally talented wife Karin. In Sundborn they lived and worked for many years, bringing up an extensive family and creating a home that's been and interior design inspiration and delight to many. Including yours truly.
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It's such a delightful combination of old traditions and new thinking, and after reading books, seeing his paintings it's just wonderful to be able to experience it first hand! The home is not only very charming and homely, but also so innovative and modern in parts, making it difficult to grasp that it was actually created some hundred years ago. A place that makes you happy!
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Unknown said...

Gorgeous pictures! I love Dala horses, I keep collecting them from the little Scandanavian Shoppe downtown.

Interesting bit about the Copper Mine; Salt Lake valley is home to the largest open-pit copper mine in the world and one of only 2 or 3 man-made monstrosities that can be seen from space.... what a contribution. ;o)


Pia K said...


Um, well, yes I could come up with s e v e r a l more fascinating things I'd like to be able to see from up above...;)

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