Friday, August 04, 2017


Our big trip this year was to Denmark. I would have moved there if my Danish were better. (I can say hej.) Although I will say everyone's English was fabulous. Even the guy working the register at the grocery store spoke English well enough to make a joke about the dude being British and me being American ("That's one way to keep an eye on the colonies.") (Seriously he could not have been any cuter.) Also, if they needed stewardship in higher education which they do not because they don't rely on the largesse of the super-rich to fund education. But I digress...

 So our fiber tour starts right in Philadelphia! At our gate were three incredible felted wool projects. They were in glass cubes, so I did my best to avoid glare in the photos. These are by Heidi Bleacher, and you can read more about her work in the airport here. (She will also replicate your wedding cake in felt!)

When we first arrived, we headed to Christiansborg Palace to see the public rooms. Then we made our way around to the back, recognizable to the Borgen fans, and I pretended I was the fake prime minister by posing with a bike that was parked there. (I'm a dork.)

(The Danes are dedicated to bicycling. There were at least five rows of bike racks out of that photo. There were cykelkælder at all the metros.)
Inside the public rooms, you can see the weavings that were done for Queen Margrethe's 50th birthday. (And I thought a trip to Tanzania was an amazing gift!)  The 17 tapestries illustrate Danish history from the Viking Age to "the future." They were designed by a Danish artist, but woven in France over 10 years by 60 weavers. (And I thought my stitching took a long time!) Anyway, they weren't mounted until her 60th birthday. (Phew. I thought I was bad giving people late gifts.)

I put the dude in to give you a sense of the scale.
Close up. I have so many pictures of these tapestries but I don't want you to end up like these two.
 We visited Frederiksborg Castle, which is amazing, filled with treasures. (Including a 400 year old organ that they play once a week, which coincided with our visit!) They had an exhibition of clothes that were knitted based on a design found somewhere in the castle. It was fascinating! I couldn't take pictures with my camera (stupid flash) so I used my phone and the pictures aren't great, but you can see how stunning this pieces are.

We also visited Kronborg Castle. This is the castle in which Shakespeare set Hamlet. I was so psyched to go here because during the summer they have actors staging Hamlet in the place where it was set! Oh, I was in heaven. But then it turned out they only did some of the famous speeches, on a timed schedule. It seemed somehow cheesy. And then during the "To Be" speech, Hamlet said an extra word. DUDE, IT IS IAMBIC PENTAMETER, YOU CANNOT THROW IN EXTRA WORDS. NOT ONE SYLLABLE.

But then I looked around. The castle is nearly empty. There are only a handful of rooms with period furniture and some paintings. (So, the opposite of Frederiksborg.)

And my mindset changed a bit. This was a set. And the cheesiness was part of the experience. It is totally camp. And then I decided it was pretty awesome. Our tour ended in two rooms displaying photos of actors who had played Hamlet at Kronborg, and all seemed right with the world. 

In a little bower off Queen Gertrude's room, they had this frame set up with crewel work. I think you could try it out. Nice touch. 

Our Airbnb in Copenhagen had this piece in the bathroom. I'm guessing the Google translation is missing some nuances, perhaps idioms.

"Here I have been sitting so many days/
And dreamed the happiness of the world/
Here I have deceived my mind behind/
And dump it all a piece."

I am going out on a limb to say that "dump" has the same double entendre as it would in English.
From Copenhagen we went to Ribe, Denmark's oldest city, but I didn't take any fiber-related photos there. From Ribe, we went up to Aarhus, Denmark's second largest city. The ARoS Art Museum  was fantastic! We liked it even better than Louisiana. As you can see from this photo, there is a giant fabric sculpture, er excuse me, textile installation, hanging right in the middle of the museum, Valkyrie Rán by Joana Vasconcelos. You can watch a video about it here. She has 50 people working in her studio. (No wonder I get so few projects done! Where are my minions?)
Anyway, I was quite taken with it.

So was the dude.
From Aarhus, we went up to Skagen where you can go to the very end of Denmark. There I am standing between the North Sea and the Straits of Denmark.
We went to the Skagen Museum. Skagen (pronounced like you are trying to say both vowels in skein,as in yarn) produced some amazing artists, known as the Skagen School. They say there is a quality to the light, particularly at dusk, but since we took a picture of the sunset at 10:10 pm, we weren't seeing the beach at dusk. However, we did see this felt installation.  (There was another one at the Denmark Design Museum, but I am finding no information about who did it. Both were in places where sound would be a problem, and I would not put it past the Danes to do something like this for acoustics.

On our train journey back to Copenhagen, I got a text from Delta that they were offering a weather waiver if we wanted to change our flight. The weather on the east coast of the US was supposed to be super bad last Friday, the day we were set to fly. My aunt works for Delta, so I texted her. She said, "Do it NOW." So we had an extra day in Copenhagen. We went to the aforementioned Danish Design Museum. There was a ton of Danish modern stuff, which the dude duly photographed. (Me looking at chairs, mostly.) But they had a room that included needlework.
And below the display, drawers and drawers of needlework. I only photographed the cross stitch, but there was lace and whitework as well.

(This piece from 1733.)

That fabric is dyed black!
There was also a wonderful exhibit of  Erik Mortensen a Danish designer for the French fashion houses Balmain and Scherrer. The exhibit was called "I am Black Velvet," but you know how well black velvet photographs.

The absolute highlight of our trip was the Dine with Danes program. For a fee, the organization matches you up with some Danes. You go to their house and eat dinner and chat. We're pretty introverted, so we need this kind of extra help. The couple we were matched with were a little older (recently retired) but we had much in common otherwise. I can't say enough about this experience! We should do this everywhere!

And good news, people, I stitched!


Pamela said...

What a great trip! Thanks for the tour.

Robin in Virginia said...

What a fabulous journey and adventure you and the Dude had! Thank you for taking us along through the lens of your camera or phone. Enjoy your weekend.

Linda said...

What an awesome trip Nikki. I enjoyed your pics.


Kristen said...

Wow, looks like you had a wonderful time. Thanks for sharing your photos.

Julie said...

So many lovely crafted items you were able to see on your trip... what a wonderful time you had.

Jo who can't think of a clever nickname said...

What a wonderful trip! I would love to have my wedding cake replicated in felt.
You saw some lovely textile related things in Denmark although I am a little disappointed at the lack of Lego.

Brigitte said...

Thanks for sharing all these great pictures from a wonderful trip. I particularly savored all the textile discoveries that you made in the different castles and museums.

phann son said...

What a fabulous journey and adventure you and the Dude had! Thank you for taking us along through the lens of your camera or phone. Enjoy your weekend.


Jenna said...

Oh what wonders you two have beheld! I'm glad you had a wonderful trip.

Beth said...

Minions - I need some too. What a great vacation. I'll add Denmark to my bucket list.

Von said...

What an amazing journey! Loved seeing the highlights!

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