Break of dawn

October 4, 2017

– Gotland Workshop –

Part 3 of 3

 

It was a misty morning when we headed to Bottarver Garden. Across the blurred window, the tall grass danced at the sound of the wind and the landscape painted the scene with quaint farms and ancient mills.

Bottarver Garden is the epitome of the Swedish history. You could say it is one of those places that stood still over the centuries, sheltered from the times we briskly live in. The farm museum was a representation of weathered generations. The chambers, carefully decorated to embody that aged feeling, were at our disposition to walk around, move and make our own. So I played around with pots, pans, and aged bentos. I and Kati did, at some point, our very own version of a farm setting, photographing it as a book memoir of some kind.

Olivia set a table for a demonstration of her plants. She is kind of a nature wizard: her knowledge about the plants, roots, and scents is absolutely incredible (I believe it is not the first time I have said this). She told us about foraging, preserving and how to use them to your benefit. It is really eye-opening to understand how sustenance can grow around you while you are not looking.

It is something that forever changed my relationship with food and I only wish I could learn more with Olivia in the future. I would gladly become her nature apprentice!

The day followed with the slowness it demanded and the rain threatened to besprinkle the green fields while Krissy styled a picnic table outside. Using the textures and props from the farm, she composed a story of comfort foods around a table where we would all coalesce. The weather did not comply though! As soon as she was over styling the set, a few showers cast it and we were left with just a few moments to take a snap and imagine how nice it would have been to have sat there and laugh over lunch. Instead, we ran inside, carrying what we had in our arms and invaded the parlor with baskets and towels. We then enjoyed it as it was meant to be. Somehow, all those delicacies, sprinkled with drops of water, tasted heavenly – as if the experience of running around in the rain added up to the already amazing flavors. We spent the afternoon around prodigious foods like that provincial tomato tart, pinky beet salad, and the cheeses. And always finding enjoyment in the simplest things.

 

Back home, we relaxed over a cup of coffee, wine, and warm chats. Krissy lifted the veil behind her Lightroom secrets and Olivia directed a workshop on how to do your own natural soaps and lip balms using coconut butter, beeswax, and other goodies.

Outside, the day started slipping away, welcoming the night and the melancholy of realizing that this was the last night we would all spend together in this abode we built.

I always grief over anticipation. It is difficult for me to let go of something so special, that feels so much like home, and to people that I have come to know and cherish.

The last supper was held in the dining room, over a fuzzy candlelight and smiles. The feast contemplated one of the best ever butter fried gnocchi accompanied with grilled plums and burrata.

We talked about social media, our frustrations, and achievements. Enumerated people whose work inspired us and endorsed new emerging ones. We said goodbye to Sam, who had to leave a day early and closed for the night, a little bit saddened, a little bit fulfilled, a little bit overwhelmed.

 

The last day woke me up from a dream of endless days enjoying Gotland and delaying me from getting back home. I packed my bag – that had finally arrived the day before – and came down, taking my time, dragging my body and thoughts.

I had a morning appointment with Krissy and Olivia, to talk about my expectations, my work and everything in between. It is great to see the perception of other people of your own struggles, especially those whose work you have been admiring for so long. To hear their thoughts and validations, makes you want to test yourself; makes you want to go that extra mile and exceed your own outlook.

The hours passed fugaciously while Linda prepared a banquet of cakes to commemorate the occasion. Krissy styled a table of cheeses and rose wine, bringing a little light to an unwieldy day. I grabbed my camera and framed those last moments, worrying if there was something I had missed in this short-lived farm, as if time could cloud my memories and I would not be able to recreate it by heart.

I moved around to detail the trees, the way the shadows dress the walls and the wind made that swing rock. I retained the colors of the doors and the gestures of my new (now) friends. Thankfully, Linda called for me, relieving me from this brooding.

The feast was starting in the gazebo with a table of the most unbelievable cakes I have ever seen. They all spoke of childhood memories, joy and friendship altogether. The light coming from the wooden framed windows illuminated the plates one at a time, giving them the attention each deserved. Meanwhile, Linda poured caramel with the smoothness that only she has mastered. The white linens and white frostings, combined with the sharp nordic light, put in evidence the blissful moments we shared all those days.

After some tasting, it was time for goodbyes.

I put on my cheerful countenance and told a joke or two to temper my doleful soul. Embracing my friends, I made promises of future visits and new memories and took one last look around before parting from one of the most happy places I have had the pleasure to live in. Everything there was meticulously designed to change you, bring out the best in you, shake you inside and wake you up from the containment you have put yourself into. And that is priceless.

 

I came to this workshop as an adventurous at heart, not knowing what I would take with me. I always had the feeling that I was meant to change something in people’s lives. I knew I would never invent a cure for something rare nor find a quicker way to travel the universe, but I perceive some joy in finding the poetry of simple things; in creating beautiful worlds where people can escape to; and maybe that is my trait.

I find out I am writing a visual story where I am not myself but instead a creation of someone better, more delicate and inspiring. A vision of her – being her my better self.

 

Final Notes:

Thank you Live @melgarden, Jen @jen_hamburg, Kati @blackwhitevivid, Sara @shisodelicious, Eleni @thefoodiecorner and Aslaug @aslaugsnorra for your creativity and joy; for sharing your knowledge and being so kind.
To Sam @thebotanicalkitchen, my life doppelgänger: you are pure light, my dear friend.
To Linda @linda_lomelino, so sweet, caring and humble, you make it even more easy to admire you.
To Krissy @cottagefarm, always so calm and sharp, I do not believe I have ever encountered someone that gets me like you do. I am forever glad to have met you.
To Olivia @adelasterfoodtextures, for making me dream, every day, for believing in me when few did and for being one of the most talented people I have ever met.
To you all for making it worth it! Every picture, every minute, every breath.

 

– A

Awakenings of the soul

September 19, 2017

– Gotland Workshop –

Part 2 of 3

 

The quietude gave way to the commingle of strange voices; they came from all over as representatives of their very own corner of the world. I could see that twinkle and restlessness in their eyes, some greeted friends from other ventures and others with the joy of newly found ones. It is a grand thing to be in the midst of like-minded people. It is as if we all knew the language, we all wondered about the same things and came for the very same reasons.

Minutes turned into hours, with no apologies, the dim light embraced the air and I could feel the cold Swedish wind on my face waking me up. I confess that my attention got briefly scattered as everything was happening faster than my indolent demeanor could register.

In a wink, I found myself riding away on a chariot in the forest with Gotland horses, and on the next having hors-d’oeuvre in an ancient mill. I was elated by the scenario up to a point where I wished I could step out of my body and glance at the beauty of what was being created around me. Everything was meticulously styled for an abiding memory: the pale colors, the Prosecco, the truffled cheese – it all fused together in a perfect cadence.

Inside, the table was set and the glasses glittered while the candles where being carefully lit by Sam. The florals climbed its way up to the ceiling as a prolongation of the forest outside in a feast of vines and branches like a summer supper beneath an orchard.

I have been having a hard time finding the exact words to describe what went on then. The menu contemplated an endless number of dishes genially prepared by Olivia. The talent she puts in her dishes is beyond anything I have encountered in my life, it is as if they are a mere container of a story that is set to enliven you far beyond the concept of food.

The desserts perfumed the wine and elevated the communion. We told stories of a lifetime, laughed over whimsical thoughts and accommodated new friends. I realized then, more than ever before, how much I absolutely love food and how special it becomes when entertained in a gathering of beautiful people.

The house was filled with scents and the blurred light embraced us to bed, as the next day was an early start on route to Visby.

 

 

The morning sun copiously entered the small window of the room I shared with Eleni and Aslaug. I woke up to an unceremonious smile and a whirlwind of ideas about the day before and where I want to go next.

We were greeted in the garden to a beautiful breakfast done by Krissy. She is the master behind the scenes: that kind of lady born in textures, light, and shadows, floral arrangements and an effortless graciousness. This breakfast was the sum of it all, a style of intention. Crunchy crackers, cheese, and jams while Linda poured some coffee and caveats life as something worth living. I was content.

Visby, the island capital, is a walled city encompassing a small village with narrow streets, quaint houses, and shops. We walked freely, marveling every corner, every door, and frames. The private gardens, opened to my prying eye, withheld the mundane. They are the ones I long to see whenever I stroll around a town such as this, to take a snap, unsolicited – I know, shame on me!

We took a drive around the island and beheld the majestic nature unspoiled in the backyard of Sweden. Its colors and proximity to the sea shaping the tones to its will.

I am forever drawn to the north, to the cold and the soft blues, which is quite a contrast to the bright light in the southern Portugal. But for some reason I cannot explain, I always tend to direct my photography that way, like I am eager to find it here.

Hotel Stelor was the perfect portrait of a Swedish farm hotel where a delicious meal, set in the garden with local produce and a warm chat, awaited.

 

 

Back at the house, Linda prepared a demonstration of pie in the making, for us to photograph and learn. The backstage of Linda’s work is a marvel to look at. The concept of light, storytelling, and elegance that she brings is exactly what you see in her everyday work. There is no artificiality, no misleading, just pure talent. Linda played with the ingredients like an artist with her canvas. Her grace, that at a few times looked like a dance to the sound of River – Leon Bridges, was something to be appreciated without the camera in hand. I sat back in bliss, in that room filled with the last rays of daylight. I did take my shots, of course. I did it in the remains of the day when the hustle was done and the music echoed again in the empty room.

The night arrived without me noticing. The fire was crackling in the other room, bringing comfort in the form of burned wood, something crosswise time and place, just like home.

The farm dinner was placed in the kitchen, where we sat, ate and drank until the fire ran out and the tiredness took place.

 

Sponsors:

The ceramics are from Västergården  and the Glassware are designed by Brostecph 

You can check the Hotel Stelor here

Urgude 218, The Farmhouse

September 7, 2017

– Gotland Workshop –

Part 1 of 3

 

This is my story. My frame of what happened in Sproge Urgude 218, The Farmhouse.

It was something I did not hope, nor expected to happen, but life has this way of catching up on us, while we least expect, and suddenly and out the blue, I found myself on a plane at 3 am on route to Gotland, Sweden!
It took me four planes and a lost luggage to get there, but that tingling feeling that something special was about to happen was never lost and I was venturing onwards with no fear or reservation.

The Farmhouse, a place of a different era, was a sight. Its rough edges, its well-worn jambs and knobs were pure poetry in a fast paced world, and there I found the peace one always search and rarely finds.
The blue and bright colors were not a contrast, it was a blend, carefully placed to perfuse the small chambers I uncovered. And my room through a steep flight of stairs, all the way to the end of the hall was meant to be my orb through it all.

Olivia, Krissy, and Linda welcomed me with the warmth of long-lost family, and strangely I felt the weirdest feeling of being home like those walls had stories I already knew. I took a deep breath and simply enjoyed what was happening around, slowly taking it all in like I couldn’t spare a moment to oblivion.

I could say I found myself there, I had lost the vigor of life in what I do and where I was going. Don’t get me wrong, I am undoubtedly a fortunate girl to have such a beautiful family and to live like nothing’s of-miss, but that lacking thing you have on your chest that keeps you from an everyday smile, you know what I mean? Oh nevermind, don’t let me muse over this. The thing is I found the ebullience of a small child there, and that is something that lights me up whenever I think of it.

This was very real.

It said workshop on the title but it was an atelier for the soul, and I was left to my quiescence before all the other participants arrive.

 

 

The Workshop was composed by the lovely ladies:

Krissy from the Cottage FarmOlivia from Adelaster Food Textures and Linda Lomelino from Call me Cupcake

 

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