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  Martin A. Dege

Stichting smARTroots    Newsletters    

No 3 | 2013 smARTroots


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Learning partnerships project:
"Intercultural Integration: Arts, crafts and traditions"


Grundtvig-Iceland-NEWSLETTER (pdf.) by Ernesta Žukauskaitė

3rd Partners’ meeting "Inspired by nature and Icelandic elves" was held in Iceland from 10.06.2013 to 14.06.2013.

The meeting started in Artunsskoli afterschool care centre, where primary school children are taught handcrafts. The school was already closed for summer holidays, but the leaders of the centre Erla and Maddy shared their ideas and showed the handcrafts they have been teaching children for more than 20 years. These Icelandic ladies know everything not only about elves but also about Icelandic wool. They shared secrets of taking care of Icelandic wool, felting it and making other "miracles".

While talking to old Icelandic ladies about elves, trolls and other spirits surrounding us, the participants learned not only to use the main words and phrases in Icelandic, but also learned knitting a sweater in special  Icelandic way. But as mentioned at the beginning - miracles do happen in Iceland- the sweater suddenly turned into an elf!

Anna Skuladottir, a teacher working at the same school joined us for the second day´s workshop and taught us how to dye Icelandic wool using only natural ingredients - tree leaves and red beetroots. The participants tried the whole process themselves - from the very beginning - picking leaves and boiling wool. Some of the participants had experience of working with wool, so it was very interesting to listen to their discussion.

Visiting Alafoss factory outlet and Pingborg gave us the opportunity to see what is possible to make from Icelandic wool. Everybody who can knit, felt or make other nice things from Icelandic wool, are welcomed to sell their goods to the outlet. Gerda, the owner of the outlet told us how they started their business and how it became so successful and well known not only in Reykjavik area but also in whole country.

Gardar centre for handicapped people is situated at the neighborhood of Alafoss outlet. The participants also visited this centre and got acquainted how mentally sick people are occupied during the day, how they are making different handcrafts, exhibiting, and selling them. It is a kind of ‘must’ for the local people, visiting Alafoss outlet, drop by to Gardar and buy something there, thus donating to the centre.

Visiting national museum Árbæjarsafn brought us back to the old days in Iceland and gave the possibility to see the development of handcrafts and technologies, and also to compare it to the ones in participants´ home countries. Many found similar patterns and recognized handcraft development.

Famous Icelandic artist Steinunn Marteinsdóttir í Hulduhólumm welcomed us at her home, where she has changed the old stable and farm house into cosy home and studio. She told about her paintings and ceramic works, about her inspirations and ways she is making business.

Our next stop was at home like Minna Mosfell guesthouse and talking to the owners who have elves´ stone in their farm.
The owners of the guesthouse are retired teacher and engineer, who used the convenient surroundings of their farm out of town, and decided to change it into a guesthouse. They told us how they started, and that fresh bread and homemade pancakes in the mornings are one of the secrets, that have helped them to become the most popular guesthouse in Reykjavik area in 2013. And they also do believe that elves, living in the big stone that had been transported from their grandparents´ farm many years ago, also contribute to their increasing success.

Listening to the tales told by Ragnhildur in Alfaborg made all the participants to feel themselves surrounded by elves, to touch their houses and feel their energy streams. Some of us even felt the elves standing next to us and moving tree leaves and flowers. For sure, good elves were there!

Mrs. Radnhildur shared her story with us – how she, being a little girl always played with elves and visited their homes. Then she had to leave parents´ home and elves as well. But she found no peace in her mind, her life was not easy, and after more than 30 years, she decided to return back to her elves. She renewed her old parents´ house and garden and made it open to the public. She takes care of the Elves Town (Alfaborg) and tells its visitors about different elves living there. This became her style of living, her business and main occupation. After walking in the park with nice elf stones, trees and flowers, visitors were invited for a cup of elf tea.

Professional photographer Jonas Danielevičius led the workshop ‘Footprints of elves in Icelandic nature’ on the last day of the meeting. He shared the secrets of making good pictures outside. Jonas has been traveling a lot and making pictures since he was a child. He also told us about starting photographer´s activity, about photographer’s ethics and answered many questions.

* Photo gallery on social media: Facebook

* Vocabulary
of useful words in Iceland.

* Presentation by Stichting smARTroots: \'\'
  "Spirits and other ‘creatures’ living in the NL"

* Youtube: overview about meeting in Iceland, June 2013.
   Grundtvig: Inspired by nature and folk tales

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