Sunday, November 6, 2011

From Folk Art to Fabulous

Unpainted Dala Horses
In Australia we have the trusty boomerang branded with places names like 'Borambola' or 'Alice Springs'.  Quilting is big in the mid-west USA and babushka dolls are synonymous with Russia. Cliche or not these items have become a form of national identity that all of us can instantly recognise. In Sweden the Dala horse (Dalah√§stis featured in all tourist literature and are even produced in the USA by Swedish immigrants. If you take a trip to Minnesota you'll see what I mean! Originally made for children as a toy during the long, cold Swedish winter nights, they became so popular they were used to barter for goods from about the 16th Century.   

They were specifically made in a small geographic region called Dalarna ( a Swedish Province) which is known for lush dales and beautiful natural scenery. While this sort of 'trinket' normally makes me think 'which cupboard can I hide this in', I'm actually quite enamoured of their simple form. The red reminds me of the colour of Swedish summer houses set against lush green paddocks and lakes. Every home had one of these somewhere and in all truth I have one myself. So cliche or not...wear the badge with pride and love your folk art for its associations as much as any design merit. 

Classic Dala Horse. They can also come in blue or even black.

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