Wednesday, 20 October 2010

I'm making Christmas cards!

They are all based on reindeer and Sami culture. The Sami are the indigenous people of northern Fennoscandia (Sápmi), and their association with reindeer is recorded as long ago as 1000 BC when they were its hunters. By the 1500s they had turned to herding, and in modern day Norway they are now solely responsible for the reindeer herds.

According to,

"Despite the use of technical aids like radio communications and snowmobiles, this occupation is still adapted to the herd's annual cycles."

I've been looking at early (1900-1920s) photographs of them and I am so drawn to the cosy-looking garments, use of patterns, beautiful hats and snow! But I'm aware that they have been misrepresented in the past, and I've been doing my research so that hopefully I do get it right.

I'm also inspired by Alexander Gronsky's series of photographs Less Than One, which I saw earlier this month at Amsterdam's FOAM. His images of Russia have a stark and graphic appearance, primarily because of the amount of white snow in them. Its worth seeing for yourself:

(I've been reading Tintin in Tibet too, which I should also mention features a lot of snow.)

And I've been listening to Bjork:

For this project I'm working with Indian ink and mapping pen on 300gsm gummed watercolour paper, and adding colour digitally. (I've been collecting autumn leaves during my cycle to work for some colours and textures to use.)

This weekend I'm getting some nice prints made of my work, and some cards and postcards printed too, so I will be setting up the shop very soon!!

PS: Here is the black swan of Amstelpark, Amsterdam:
He is a very handsome fellow, very friendly and inquisitive if you decide to sit near the lake, but also a bit of a coward - he can often be seen being chased by a gaggle of noisy ducks and coots.

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