Inför, under och efter årets Slöjdläger, 14-17 september på Halmens hus i Bengtsfors skriver medlemmen Ana Paula Lafaire om sitt skapande och Slöjdlägrets magi.
"As the fist day reached its ending, I met my monster.
I had successfully entered in a new mindset, I may not speak Swedish but I started to understand Slöjdlägers magic, and I was part of it."
Under Slöjdlägrets fyra dagar träffades människor som har minst en sak gemensam: kärleken till slöjden. Ana Paula Lafaire är en av deltagarna och tillsammans med andra tog Ana del av verkstäder i karvsnitt, halmslöjd och papier maché.
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The day for Slöjdläger arrived. I was still not sure what I signed for, but I was excited. I meet my friend in central station and we travel up north by train. The last weeks I have been asking her, repeatedly, for the name of this place we are heading, but I still can't remember it. Swedish is difficult for my brain. The train stops and she tells me we still have to take a bus to reach our destination. Suddenly, I realize we are part of a small group of women waiting. I guess we are all going to the same place. We seem to have some things in common: the age, the vibe, the backpack. I can't help it and I break the silence. I like to start conversation with strangers. There, we just meet our new adventure mates.
Slöjdläger is a event to practice a craft while being in nature. For four days we were invited to stay and work at Bengtsfor's Halmens Hus, which is museum to explore Swedish country lifestyle and crafts, mainly made of hay. It contains a mixture of open air and indoor facilities. We stayed at the hostel that is in the garden next to the main building of the museum. The topics of this year were wood carving, hay hats, and paper maché. In the welcome speech, I realized two things: first, that we were all women, mostly in our twenties, but also some in their late fifties and one three and half year old girl; second, I was the only non-Swedish speaker. So, let the handcrafts games begin!
I was happy to join the paper maché team. The task: to make Mexican masks! The first step was to help out our new classmates to make a cast model of their faces. Team bonding started fast. We may have felt vulnerable but we were having fun. We left our comfort zone with vaseline in our faces and covered by casts, the first stage of the mask making. In half an hour, we had a model of our faces in "negative." The second step was to fill the masks with plaster and wait, after which we had a "positive" model of our faces in 3D. Now what? Clay! A lot of clay to build the shape of the mask. My fellow partners knew what they wanted their mask to look like: a cat, an owl, a fox, a wolf, a round baby. But I didn't know exactly what to sculpt, I just wanted to make something grotesque, perhaps a monster like the ones in Guillermo del Toro's movies. If I could have an alter ego, I wanted it to be intimidating and ugly. I used clay and paperboard to create different volumes. It was exciting to give form with out previous planing. I felt encourage to explore, there was not need to justify my actions. As the teacher reminded us "there is no failing, just trying out", I could let go my rationality and fear. Suddenly, my focus was on the touch of the material, my hands feeling the shapes. My body was driven by the excitement of an new idea that would be tested in the next moment, a constant flow of creativity and doing. As the fist day reached its ending, I met my monster. I had successfully entered in a new mindset, I may not speak Swedish but I started to understand Slöjdläger's magic, and I was part of it.
About the autor:
Hi, I am Ana Paula, currently studying the M. Business and Design in HDK, Gothenburg. I am appreciating the cultural clash of business, design, Sweden, México and everything in between. I would like to explore further crafts and tacit knowledge of making.
Mer information om Slöjdläger hittar du på http://www.slojdlager.se/