Friday, July 1, 2011

Mora Klockor (Mora Clocks)

In the dim recesses of my mind I recall a clock in the summerhouse of a friend in Falsterbo (Southern tip of Sweden). It was beautifully decorated with chipped layers of what passed for milk paint in a washed lettuce green and was subtly highlighted with garlands of leaves. It sat in the corner of an 18th Century wooden cottage with views down to the beach. During endless summer nights we'd sit outside and solve the problems of the world (and our futile late-teen 'relationships') or cook up crayfish. It's funny how this idyllic memory probably obscures a good portion of reality. The one constant recollection I have was the chime of this elegant clock. Ernst Zacher in Melbourne (Victoria Street in Albert Park) had the German successors to the Mora clocks in his linseed-scented store.

Mora clocks originated in the late 1780's in Mora, Dalarna (a county in Sweden). They were highly prized objects and treated as status symbols. In this former agricultural community the local villagers took up making  clocks as an innovative way to generate income. Various families specialised in individual components such as painted faces or chimes. This collective cottage industry created the highly feminised profile identified with Mora clocks today. It's astounding what productivity can emerge from snowy indeterminably long Swedish winters. Aided probably by a few shots of Absolut (or it's 18th Century equivalent!)

Image: Marie Claire Maison

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