Thursday, October 20, 2011

sense of place: randbøldal museum

a bright, crisp autumn day. highly volatile, changeable weather. sunshine one minute and rain the next. wind racing clouds across the sky. you have to capture those moments of light when they happen, because they'll be gone in the next second.

there's something about a little museum that's so personal and accessible. something in the very air at randbøldal that whispers of the weavers who came before, even if the looms aren't the same ones - the sounds of the tramping pedals are the same, the voices talking together echo of the voices that came before. the shelves filled with naturally-dyed yarns, mushrooms ready for dyeing the next batch. as true a copy of the clothing worn by the egtved pige as can be woven today. in a little museum you can come close to all of these things.

you can go on a guided walk in the woods, looking for mushrooms and then you can see for yourself the changes wrought to the yarn by their steamy mushroom bath, maybe even be allowed to stir it a bit yourself. at a small museum, the experience is something you can fully appreciate. it doesn't try to do too much, it is what it is and isn't pretending to be more.

in these times when everything has to be an event of sorts, an experience, sometimes the best experience is the one that happens inside of you when you encounter a place where it's still and calm and relaxed. where there's time for people to tell you stories. and there's time for you to try things for yourself. to become part of the tradition in a sense, take part in the history. to weave your own meaning.

it's definitely the volunteers that make such a place so special - with their stories and their philosophies and all of the knowledge they have to give. i am happy to be a volunteer in training (truth be told, i'm mostly the photographer), learning from these lovely women (and men). hearing their stories and soaking in the history in this beautiful little hidden spot.

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if you want to know a bit more, i have written previously about the magical little bitty museum tucked away in randbøldal. it's where i first encountered weaving, which still speaks to some deep part of my soul.


Tracy Golightly-Garcia said...

Hello Julie

I love this post!

My knitting teacher dyes yarn and I am hoping one day she will teach me how. It is amazing to watch(I have watch her a few times)

Hope to see more on this.

Tracy :)

Anonymous said...

"sometimes the best experience is the one that happens inside of you when you encounter a place where it's still and calm and relaxed."

I think the above statement is so true. And I think that is why I so enjoy reading your blog. This is a place of stillness and calm which allows me to relax.

Thank you for it.

--maria said...

Love this! This reminds me of when I went to Kalona.. but not as big :) The stories the volunteers told were great. I wanted to take each of their stories and tuck them away because I knew they were that special. Especially, the 88 year old who said she used to make her own clothes because you couldn't go out and buy them from those darn shopping malls.

Corrine said...

You capture the essence of this place so nicely. The light, the simplicity, the creative spirit. I recently visited a shop (commercial) where the looms are ancient and absolutely fascinating. It is a family business. It makes we want to take up one more craft, weaving. Did I not read, some time ago, that you had a loom and were taking up weaving? Would love to see your progress.

will said...

American culture has mostly blotted out this sort of small event/sharing moment. In its place we've injected spectacle and over-sell.

Re-enactors exist in parks and museums but they generally give off an odd vibe. Pretending to be something is different than actually being it - so their guns fire blanks, their pretend accents are off and generally their age is wrong for the parts they pretend. Plus, they act as talking encyclopedias and, I suspect the people they re-act were probably more stoic and silent,

I once found re-enactors interesting, now when visiting certain museums I avoid them as much as possible. I don't like the weirdness.

Anonymous said...

this is a fabulous post.