I’m inspired by the simplicity and minimalism of both Japanese and Swedish design. The design elements in these cultures are more similar than you may think. Bold and simple lines bring calm to the viewer. Clean lines, sometimes with a design element like placement, or a pop of color, coaxes the imagination of the viewer (activating the right brain) to see what they may need to see – dancer or…flower?
I’ve had the good fortune to travel in both Japan and Sweden and I felt very much at home in both cultures. My grandfather hailed from southern Sweden, Småland (the same area of Ikea’s birthplace), from a family of lumbermen and farmers.
Throughout my travels in China and Japan, I was inspired by the brushwork in art, on scrolls and in the traditional characters of language.
My designs often start very small with lines of brush-like quality, and perhaps a wash of watercolor to tease out the imagination of the viewer. My dancers are drawn in mere seconds and indeed, they must be, or the lines would be hesitant, not bold. Sometimes I’ll draw 50 or so figures to find one or two that really speaks to me, and hopefully to you as well.
I find value in negative space and imperfect lines. Negative space is the space around the object or within a clay pot for example. I remember as a young girl watching a gardener create a traditional Japanese garden across the street in my suburban neighborhood. It seemed magical to me. I remember the big take away was that one leaf would be cut before the garden was completed, to remind us that nothing in life is perfect.
My decorative scrolls of dancers are intended for indoor or outdoor use. I’ve had one hanging on my patio for months, even in the humidity here in Florida, and I smile every morning when I see that spritely figure on a 5’ scroll welcoming the day, still dancing. Scrolls also have the advantage of being easily stored to change out with mood, event or season.
Leading a full life means that we are able to listen to our own music and find our own dance in this complicated and sometimes heartbreaking world. I believe that through harmonizing design, through creating beauty, taking time in nature, and developing an appreciation of each other’s cultural history, we are connected. In that connection, we can find our serenity and ignite clarity and calmness to breathe in and explore our higher calling.
From the Tao Te Ching: “Shape clay into a vessel; It is the space within that makes it useful.” -Lao Tsu, Chinese philosopher, 6th c. BCE