Here is the magnificent wall of wool threads ... and this photo doesn't even show all of it. The studio is grandly spacious, with twenty-foot ceilings. The building, which is on the same property as her house, was designed by her late husband, Nils, an architect.
I love this story: Many years ago, they bought this beautiful piece of land and made do for several years, living in the house which was on the property when they bought it, until they were able to build their home, designed by Nils. What did they build first? The studio! That's a definite case of having one's priorities in correct order.
Helena Hernmarck explaining a process at one of the many outstanding looms in her studio. What a very special person she is, to give us so much of her time, her knowledge, her energy, and her spirit. She is enormously talented, with a storehouse of information to share. She is also quite sweet and a charming teller of stories.
Everywhere I looked, I saw threads ... and colors ... and threads ... and colors ... and threads ...
Helena Hernmarck showing us a piece she is working on ... gorgeous! I wish I could explain to you how complex the work is that goes into each of her tapestries. For one thing, it's not just a woven picture: there are layers of weaving, one on top of the other, with some weaving done from the front and some from the other side ... upside down and backward. Everything is mapped out in detail, on paper, before any loom work begins. These preliminary, full-size renderings, called cartoons, look very complicated to me. Perhaps I should have paid more attention in math class because this form of art requires far more than mere inspiration to create a finished piece of work.
And most of Hernmark's pieces are enormous, which necessitates a clever way to view them properly while working on them at such close quarters. A small, hand-sized telescope of sorts is used ... but she looks through the "wrong" end and is thus able, at close quarters, to assess progress on a piece, as it will look when properly viewed from a distance.
This is the back side of the piece above. It is interwoven with marvelous strips of auroraborealis-like color. The reason why there are all those cut out circles is because Hernmarck sources this material from a factory that makes sequins; this is what is left behind, after the sequins have been cut out!
More of her fabulous yarns. They are from a particular breed of sheep which is found in her homeland of Sweden. The dyes are mixed especially for her, to her specifications.
We also had a wonderful visit in Helena's home. I would have loved to take pictures but it seemed like it would be much too much of an invasion of her privacy, so I resisted! I'll have to depend on my memory to revisit the delightful spaces in Helena Hernmarck's home.
To learn more, visit Hernmarck's website: http://www.hernmarck.com.