Today we actually managed to visit a museum. Yay!

The exhibition I wanted to see was 100 Years of Swedish Handicraft. I had a very vague idea about the actual contents of the exhibition – modern takes on traditional crafts was what I thought it was about. Which was technically correct but really didn’t describe the reality very well.

The exhibition turned out to have two distinct parts. Part one was a number of thematic rooms with crafts that mostly combined modern design and ideas with traditional techniques. Woodworking, basket weaving, knitting, embroidery etc. This part was sort of nice but not amazing.

The amazing part was the other one. The other half of the exhibition was called Leaves, and consisted of 2000 wooden leaf-shaped frames that had been decorated by members in various crafts clubs and societies all over Sweden. Each leaf was different, and the variety was incredible. The leaves were arranged in vaguely tree-shaped stands in random order, with no effort to group like with like, which emphasized their variety even more. There were leaves worked in embroidery, knitting, wire, glass, metal, painting… leaves made by young children and by professional designers and craftsmen, leaves made quickly and leaves that must have taken months and months of work, leaves that fit within the organizers’ frames and leaves that broke the rules.

Many craftsters got their ideas from the leaves themselves. Some leaves were simply left to be leaves, beautifully wrought or decorated. Others depicted/were covered with/contained designs of trees, flowers, leaves, etc.

One interesting theme arose from the shape of the frame: its curved shape had led a number of craftsters to interpret it as a womb, and to fill it with a fetus/baby. Another recurring theme was probably born from the fact that the leaf frames were frames: there was a bunch of spiderweb and other web/net designs.

I only wish I could have spent more time and attention on each leaf. With two impatient kids in tow, this was difficult. But there is still more than a month left of the exhibition (until September 2nd) so I am thinking of going back there on my own. And if I do I will make sure to bring my SLR instead of the compact camera I had today.

And to top it all off, all the leaves will be auctioned off on Tradera (the Swedish Ebay equivalent), with proceeds going to charity. I am sorely tempted to buy one, even though (a) I have no idea which one, and (b) I have no idea where I would put it. But there were so many so beautiful things there that I may make the effort to make up my mind.