My wife and I are visiting our son and DIL Sofie in Lycksele Sweden. A small community in Lappland in the north of the country. We visited Sofie’s mother and stepdad yesterday in Umeå, just a 2hr. drive southwest of Lycksele.
The first photos show us approaching the bridge over the Umeå river and then a typical house along the route. The majority of houses were all painted red like this one. The whole area is a vast forest with wolves, bears, moose, reindeer herds and many other furry animals. The economy is mainly driven by logging and wood related industries. I just wanted to give a quick impression of the area.
During our visit with Sofies parents we were shown a small wooden box which was handed down to Sofies stepdad from his grandfather. He had a small farm even further north very near the Finnish border. During WWll some Russian prisoners were allocated as laborers to the local farms. His grandfather treated these prisoners very well during their stay on his farm, and when they left they presented him with a hand made gift box to express their thanks for being treated decently.
The remarkable thing about this box is that the surface design is made from straw. The straw is sliced flat and glued to the box to make a mosaic design. Horse sweat was used for glue. I have seen some spectacular straw art on the net. Maybe not a widely known art form, but it is really fantastic. Here are some examples at the link below. Another interesting thing is that the metal hinges are also home made and work very well. If you zoom in on these photos you will get a much better view of the detail.
Straw has a very smooth surface and reflects light very beautifully. It can be easily dyed to provide a wide color range. I think woodworkers could put it to good use. I might just give it a try myself, and I would sure encourage others to try it as well.
Thanks for reading this, and I hope you found it interesting.
-- Mike, an American living in Norway.