Friday 2 May 2014

Return of the Rustic Viking

I have just come back from Norway. I was hoping to write a blog post about all the folk textiles and art but it was Easter and most of the museums were shut. They like a holiday in Norway. What I found instead was the real inspiration behind it all. The landscape.

I went with an open mind and expected to see more than my fair share of Scandi chic, all pale and interesting. But to my great surprise I stumbled upon more of a rustic charm and earthiness in its design that really grabbed me. 

When you venture into nature there, which is often a short walk from wherever you are, you enter what can only be described as 'big country'. The panoramic vistas of show stopping splendour literally take your breath away. One moment you are high on a mountain plateau and next you descend into the deep gorges that form the fjords. The colours are an artists palette laid bare. The textures are nature at its best.

When you have all that as your inspiration you have to come up with something that matches it. Enter the design and construction of the medieval Stavkirche (stave church). I have never come across anything quite like them on my travels. The outside of these fairytale churches look as if the timbers have been scorched and then layered with bitumen, which helps to preserve them against the extreme Norse winters and hot summers. Magical monuments that appear in an already dramatic landscape. If you want to get a sense of Viking then these are the landlocked equivalent of a ship floating on the landscape. They are pagoda like, decorated with shingles, intricate carvings and vine entwined dragons. 

I will definitely go back. Maybe next time I will make it to the Folk museum in Oslo, but then and again maybe I'll just get lost in nature, again.

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely incredible! I had no idea Norway looked like that...definitely on my list. Beautiful photographs. Xx