Who We Are
From studying economics and accounting to 26 years as a corporate finance director in Silicon Valley and the NFL -- to reinventing myself as a full-time maker of things and student of art.
I never would have guessed that I'd actually find myself immersed in a tactile and creative world - one that I had longed for when I dared to consider my "true folly".
I thought my path was chosen and I was thoroughly committed to the craft of being what I had "decided to be" one day during my freshman year at college. (I still remember that long conversation with my Dad, in the basement family room, when I was back home in Connecticut on break.)
It was a huge achievement to get to that place in my career so many years later, and particularly so because I wasn't drawn to that career - it was just a "decision" that I had made. It took immense dedication and hard work to master those technical skills and that culture and I wasn't about to imagine getting off that train. I was rolling down that track and so was my whole family. Besides, between work, and raising two children, and making a home, there was no time or space to veer off that path that I was entrenched in.
I made it work by being myself outside of work. I had always been a gardener, in every respect of the word. Since I can remember. Obsessive even, with my time in nature to create gardens, and flow with the seasons, and plant seeds. And even toy with the idea of growing my own food - except that the squirrels usually won that challenge. I would spend every spare moment immersed in books, and visiting famous gardens, and mostly just digging in the dirt. It was my escape and my joy and my sanity.
Truthfully, I was proud of what I had accomplished and achieved in my "career", but I wasn't inspired or connected to a future of my own.
Until one day... in my heart and mind I just knew.... without a doubt... It was time to exit that corporate world and create one of my own making. A leap into the unknown.
And with the support of my exceptional husband, Michael, I am forging my path, head-long into an exciting and colorful future full of creative energy and lots and lots of really way-cool tools!
Fortunately, given that I have decades of business experience, I realize that ultimately what I am doing in the end, is building a business. One that I will be proud of.
Stay tuned - I've got some really fun stuff planned...
Ready? Set? Go!
There's never going to be a perfect time to make this all happen, so let's just do it now!
I wouldn't be pursuing this venture if it wasn't for all the support and encouragement from many of the people I've come to know in the last couple of years. These are my teachers and an invaluable resource. I am so fortunate to have had the chance to cross paths with some exceptional individuals and organizations.
What's in a Name?
Why "Baldur" Studios?
Just in case you are curious, here's a little bit of the back drop.
I have a fond connection to my Swedish heritage, and love of things nostalgic and organic. Consequently, it seemed appropriate when I stumbled across the story of this ancient Norse mythological figure from Viking times, named "Baldur". He was going to be my muse and connection to my heritage.
Baldur was known as the spirit of hope and renewal, like a shining day in spring. Imagery of him suggested that he glowed. He represented innocence, peace, beauty, and kindness. And he is often connected with white blossoms and flowers - in particular Lilly of the Valley which is so lovely and delicate and innocent!
For those of you really into the mythology, Baldur was the son of Odin and Frigg, and his siblings were Thor and Vali.
According to legend, Baldur lived at a place called "Breidablik", where the roof of his house is made of silver which was resting on pillars of gold.
I just love what this figure represented to ancient Norse people and want a tiny bit of that romantic energy to visit this little venture of mine.
We are who we come from. We are where we come from.
It is a surprising realization because we often feel so at ease with the fact that we are told, as Americans, that we can be whatever we wish to be. All you have to do is decide and work hard and set your mind to that future place where you will achieve your chosen dream.
And we are fortunate to have that freedom and opportunity in this country to pursue endless careers and directions. But, one thing that we often lose in that pursuit of the future is to consider where we come from and what we have inside. It's hard to do that. Almost scary. Maybe it doesn't fit with that big, "successful" career that you and your family assume for your future. Maybe you're not even sure of where you come from at that point in your life.
I have come to know that, shockingly, I come from a family of true artists! I didn't really KNOW this until I took that big leap off my corporate career path, and had the time and space and composure to really look back and SEE it. I mean, not only was I finally willing to admit (not only to myself, but others) that I was truly happiest when I was making things with my own hands, but that I was surrounded by family and friends that were also artists. And it went back generations. I was stunned.
I suppose I was well aware of the facts, but I never really grasped what it meant to me, and who I was.
I realized too that art is not just a matter of using oil paint and a brush on a canvas, but that true art exists in so many forms and mediums and surprising places.
Wooden Treasure Boxes
My little brother and I grew up spending hours and weekends with my Dad in our garage in Connecticut watching and helping him build all manner of wooden -- well, things. From my bedroom furniture, to little boxes, to bird houses, to frames for artwork, to gosh ... everything. I love the smell of a wood shop and have this appreciation for tools that must come from all those trips to the hardware store with my Papa where he would lovingly admire all the amazing tools. And I have only now found out from Mom that he actually started turning wood at a class in San Francisco in 1960-something. I don't even think that she remembered that until she found a pretty little bowl recently that he had made her and inscribed, so many years ago.
Somewhere along the line, while being a medical director in pharmaceuticals and medical research, he got back to taking classes and got a nice lathe. Now we all have gorgeous hand-turned wood pieces that we use to hold various treasure and even food. Many are nothing more than explorations of form and just whimsical shapes that are too tiny to really use for anything - and that's why they are so special. He seems to be happiest in his wood shop -- making lovely things.
Now Dad is helping me make tiny wooden jars that I can apply enameled metal lids to. A joint-venture if you will.
Actually, he has gotten a long list of requests from me, but he doesn't sweat the deadlines too much these days!
Ceilings and Boats
I can hardly even remember my little brother existing without his own work shop and projects. It's truly not only his passion, but has been in many guises, his way of making a living. Clearly he learned it from our Dad and all those weekend projects. But then he seems to have spontaneously learned how to do so much with it just by exploring. Fine furniture and cabinets along with entire kitchens and a few handmade kayaks thrown in for fun. And they are in fact sea worthy. I mean why buy a kayak when you can make your own, right?
He started out with making a coffered ceiling in a remodel in a tiny little bungalow in San Francisco (his first house) - where did that come from? He just did it. And along the way he owned a Woodcraft franchise in the wine country and now is designing buildings and furniture along with his wife who is an architect. They have created a little cottage and home for Mom tucked away in the oak trees and we decided to name it "Ekollon" - little acorn. It is surely a work of art full of subtle details and design.
Learn More: Ekollon Cottage
My little brother, he's just like his Father - Happiest in his shop and surrounded by a cadre of awesome tools - creating and building.
Looms and an old Singer (not the kind you might think of)
Mom was always an artist in the kitchen and in the garden when I was growing up. When she was young, she became a very fine seamstress, creating with her hands. She had made these silk dresses that were works of art - I remember touching them and trying them on when I was little. Every single stitch done by hand - her hand. In perfect unity all those tiny stitches created that glamorous grey-ish green silk party dress. Mama taught me how to, among many other things, sew. And it wasn't only that, but it was how to go about building something real out of a flat piece of fabric. Kind of intimidating. Like a 3-D construction puzzle without the advantage of framework. Admittedly, I rarely applied those skills to clothing, but found myself constantly borrowing Mom's gorgeous old Singer sewing machine to create this and that for the house, or the garden. I finally bought my own modern machine, and can't imagine not being able to create what I imagine with my own hands. But, her old machine is still nicer than mine!
I grew up spending some years and every summer in Sweden. And now when I look back I realize that Mom grew up with her own Mother sitting at a massive wooden loom, weaving. She made rugs, and fabric. Mom's oldest sister would sit on the front porch in the summers with a similar loom, weaving when I was little. It was a very rhythmic, soothing motion and sound.
When Mom started taking painting classes a few years ago, it became clear that she was truly an artist who came from a long line of artists. In Sweden, where she is from, she grew up with her Dad, and her Grandfather creating with ink and paint and paper. Her Dad was very interested in Japanese calligraphy. And her Grandfather was a working artist - I used to look carefully at these gorgeous water color paintings when I was little. Not knowing that they were created by my Great Grandfather. He made greeting cards as a way of earning a living, and was a prolific artist. Now, several of his pencil sketches and water colors adorn my walls.
I never knew that Mama was a painter. But then maybe she didn't either. Until she found it deep down inside!
Old Norse Heritage
The colors and softness of my great-grandfathers' work is very reminiscent to me of a very famous Swedish painter named Carl Larsson who I adore. I finally got a chance to see his family home and countryside last summer and it was just stunning.
Learn More: Carl Larsson, Artist
I can't understand why I can barely draw a straight line or paint as my Mom and my family does. But.... I will forge my own path and bring that colorful and Nordic heritage along for good measure.
The imagery and metal work from the ancient Norse times is so inspiring and lovely. There are many motifs that I love to work with, in a playful way. I am drawn to it because of the history, the nostalgia, and the rustic nature of the images. You will see it running through much of my work. I will be posting some cool images on my blog - check it out.
My inspiration - It comes from a thousand years ago, and from my family and my heritage and from somewhere inside. What a wonderful realization.