When I think of idyllic family life my mind often conjures images of Carl Larsson's home in Sundborn, Sweden. I eagerly recognize that the life lived there was full of ups and downs but through art, craft, traditions and play it seems that Karin and Carl created a setting for their family life which brought them immense joy. Joy depicted in vibrant color and frozen in time for us to observe and learn from.
Our Carl Larsson collection
is one we giddily developed. We didn't want for it to be just an aesthetic but encourage a way of life. Though the collection is small we have found books, puzzles and created our own festive paper cones
by which the art can become a part of celebrations and playfulness in your own home. We loved learning that Swedish Dala Horses were originally intended as children's toys. Our version
is inexpensive and sturdy enough for play. The Larsson's show that serious contemplation and stillness like in Karin at the Shore is also important among the crayfishing and floral bedecked parading. The images tell the Larsson's story along with our own.
Carl's illustrative style shares a family narrative encouraging us to create our own. To jot it down with pen and ink or paint it out in full color. The prints
we have chosen to share have a different feel. They are a different style all together, depicting simple life in observation of the beauty of the natural world, friends, neighbors and the daily tasks of cultivating and recognizing the beauty around us. We invite you to be reminded of the beautiful in life. The little daily triumphs and the long-lasting traditions, stories and people in our lives. Whether you are a Larsson family expert or this is the first time you've seen their work, we hope you enjoy this collection. We plan to let it slowly grow, so keep your eye on it and feel free to share your favorite Carl Larsson images and ideas! It is a veritable treasure trove and every time I look I find something new and poignant.
What is it that personally draws me to Carl and Karin. I believe at the root of my intrigue is intention. They lived intentionally. History, and Carl's own memoirs suggest that Carl's young life was not ideal, in fact, it was not even very happy. I am deeply pained by an unhappy childhood and yet I recognize that some of the world's best art and literature was born in juvenile sorrow.
Dickens, Larsson and so many others demonstrate that immense beauty often grows out of truly dark depths. Not only beautiful art and stories but determination of character, clean living, wholesome family life, spiritual yearnings and a strong dose of magic. Dickens left a literary legacy for his children and showed his depth of feeling in autobiographical novels, like my personal favorite David Copperfield
, and spiritual memoirs as in Life of Our Lord
. Larsson did the very same in art with his home, published and successful in his own lifetime, and with their actual home that is still owned by the family who throw open its doors to families from all over the world each summer.
I hope very much that my creative endeavors together with those of my wife, blend neatly with my family life and add a bit of Dickensian and Larssonian magic for my family to enjoy for generations to come. We think Carl and Karin would appreciate our efforts to bring back celebrations around Midsummer
, May Day
, and Santa Lucia
. As you explore their art (Carl's paintings of Karin's interiors and costumes) you might find yourself inspired to celebrate and we are here to help! Keep watching for some exciting new (to us) festivals to come in July.
We wish you all the best this summer as you look for and create beauty at home and among loved ones. No guilt to get it perfect, just joyful pursuit of ideal summer days.