Intervju, Kultur

Coola: Astrid Kruse Jensen – Beauty Will Always Be Disturbed

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Danska Astrid Kruse Jensen är aktuell med en utställning på Wetterling Gallery till 21 mars. Den heter ”Beauty Will Always Be Disturbed” och det kan jag ju skriva under på….  Jag ställde några frågor till konstnären, för att få veta mer om henne!

/I asked Astrid Kruse Jensen a few questions, as she is currently showing her work at Wetterling Gallery in Stockholm!

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Tell us more about the show!

In the exhibition I lead the observer onto a journey of different atmospheres and memories, where the story is open for interpretation. In the two latest series of works, which I show works from at Wetterling, I utilized an old polaroid camera and expired film to deliberately let go of the technical perfection. The chemical process in the expired film creates a tinted spectrum of yellow, green and red, and leaves a specific shimmer of light in the photographs.
I also show the video ’The House inside Her’ which I created together with the filmdirector Pernille Rose Grønkjær.

What was the idea behind the exhibit?

The theme of memory – how we remember – and memory in connection to the photographic medium are aspects that are important in my work. In the work I wanted to let go of an earlier approach to the photographic medium, to have the essence of photography – the chemicals – to be present and be a part of the motive itself.

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Any favorite artists you want to share?

I just had a sneak view at the Louise Bourgeois exhibition at Moderna Museet – and she is one of my very favorites.

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What inspires you?
To be outside the city – to be somewhere isolated without mobile or internet access – which is also why I have a hide away studio an hour outside Copenhagen.

WG_Kruse Jensen_WTL#36What are your plans for the future?

I just realeased a new book in November by the German Publisher Kehrer – which can be bought at Wetterling Gallery
And, in June I have a big solo show at Esbjerg Kunstmuseum in Denmark.

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See more of Astrid’s work on her website!






How I made a DIY play kitchen from an old shelf

ida kök

*LOOOONG post, so get ready!*

Through some inspiration online (such as these, this or this) I decided to try to make my own play kitchen from an old piece of furniture. I thought it looked like fun, and not too difficult – depending on how advanced you wanted to make it! I wanted to use as much second hand items as possible, and to make it non-toxic, non-plastic and sturdy for my kid who is 1,5 years old. Some people asked me how I did it, so I thought I could share the process. I wrote this in English so more friends could read it!


I found this online and it inspired me to try it myself!


The ”before” pic…

Here I am with the stuff I found at second hand Erikshjälpen (like Goodwill). It was like $18 (160sek) total! The shelf was 5 bucks and the rest was small kitchen things, a frame, some wooden trinkets, bowls and an embroidery that I liked. The little bag of screws on top is from a hardware store. I’ll show you what it’s for in a sec!


A sneak peak inside the bag!


The stuff I bought.

The shelf is made out of untreated wood. I chose it because I didn’t want to have to treat the wood or grind off the paint to be able to paint it. I wanted it to be as simple as possible! If you can’t find a good untreated wood shelf there are usually cheap ones at most larger supermarkets, or at IKEA. Most of the other things was from the kitchen area. Stainless steel cups, bowls, plates, old tea boxes, a wooden spice rack (?) that I found for a buck and then the handmade embroidery that was like 2 bucks from the textile area. The plate on the lower right (above) is in stainless steel and from the 1950′s or 1960′s, judging from the style (I think). We ended up using as a regular plate for the kid. Great toxin free and stable for toddler hands!

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The stove burners.

I started off drawing a line in the middle of the top shelf, to partition the ”sink” from the ”stove”. I used a large book that I put against the side, to make sure the line was straight. Then I took one of the bowls to make a round circle for the larger burners. Then, an upside down for the smaller burner circles. I just drew around with pencil.

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I go hard in the paint….

This is the all natural toxin free paint that I was planning to use! It’s made from dirt and stuff… totally safe for children. I got it from Natural Earth Paint, a company run by a friendly woman who also sells great non-toxic face paints!

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You mix the paint powder with water. I used wayyy to much water so it took some time to get the right mix. I recommend using a teeny tiny bit of water to start off with, and then adding more if needed.

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Doing this, I was at my parents’ house and they didn’t have any small brushes at home. I found this one in their kitchen cabinet. I think it’s supposed to be used for cooking…. Oh well, it worked, but might not be a great choice for the perfectionist! I started with some brown paint around the burner circles.

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Too much water.

Yup, used too much water. I took a piece of kitchen towel to dry up some water. And I got a nice pattern too boot! Darker brown shade for the burners. I wasn’t quite satisfied with it though…

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…So I mixed in some blue paint powder with the brown. The paint got thicker and I liked this color better!

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Tried some patterns here too!

I used the same color to paint the ”sink” area. My plan is to some day install some kind of faucet here, and make a hole in the shelf so I can put a ”sink” bowl there (like in the inspirational picture in the beginning). I think I’ll buy a coat hanger, like these guys did:

But that’s for another day… For now its just a general grey area.

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One more layer than we good

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Impromptu brush

I wanted to do some linings and details but like I said, no brush… There’s an old weird Swedish expression that goes: ”You take what you have, said Cajsa Warg.” She was a cook. Oh well, I had a cotton swab at home. So I used that.

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Burner details

I made some lines around the burners. Also, a line separating the sink area so it didn’t look all blurry and messy.

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”Wow! I never thought you’d finish this!”

My partner/lover/boyfriend/baby daddy was very skeptical of my project at first. This is him leaving his Playstation checking out what I had been doing he was mightily impressed! I even got a ”I was wrong…” out of him. That’s when you know you got something down!

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Screw driving away!

My dad saw me working and went out to the garage. There, he found an old shelf piece that was almost the same size as the ”kitchen”. We wiped off the dust and decided to use it as is. We accepted that it was a bit too wide, rather than having to do lots of extra work. Life is easier if everything doesn’t have to be perfect, in my opinion… But maybe I’m just sloppy! My dad got a screw driver and fastened the back piece with some screws.

We decided to put it quite high up so that we could add things above the stove. Another option would have been to put it in the bottom part, but we left that open for now. Maybe some other day we’ll add a piece of wood there! I think you can find pretty affordable untreated wood shelves a lot of places. If nothing else, they have them at IKEA!

We also decided to fasten the spice rack-thingy to one of the walls. My experience is that my kid loves it when there are plenty of small details to play with. So this is just another thing that could be fun to add! We used a screw driver for that as well.

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We also added the embroidery with a screw driver, just to make sure it could handle years of play.

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This is where the small bag of circle screws (I have no idea what they are actually called) came in! I added one on each side of the top shelf . I’ll show you why in a minute!

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This side is done!

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Utensil hanger.

I found some old shelf handles in my parent’s storage. You could also get them at IKEA. They also have a great wooden one that might be even better, but we don’t live close to any stores so I just used this for now. I added one here….

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One more!

….and another one bottom left. No specific purpose, but I’m sure the little one will think of something at some point! We hope that this will be a fun thing to play with for several years, and will probably add on details as we go.

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This is the package for the shelf handles! In Sweden they are 39sek (like 5 bucks).

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The handles in action.

This (above) is what the handles look like in my parent’s kitchen. And below, the kitchen utensil hanger rack that I wanted to imitate!

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The second handle.

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Detail of the little rack thingy.

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Sharp screw edge alert!

Ooops! We got a problem. You can’t see it too well in this pic but we realised that the screw fastening the embroidery had gone through the wood. That means: a sharp screw sticking out = not great for toddlers. We decided to unscrew it slightly to make sure it didn’t stick out.

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I found some old thread (fiskargarn) that I used for the loops.

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I cut it off at double length and tied a knot.

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And added some fabric.

I found an old embroidered table cloth in our storage that was a good fit for the width of the shelf. I think it used to belong to my great grandma. I love how it now belongs to my daughter! So much history here.

At first I was hesitant to ”waste” such a beautiful fabric on a toy, but then I thought that it was a better idea to actually use it, than it just laying around collecting dust. If you don’t have stuff like this laying around you can find tons of beautiful table cloths at Goodwill for just a few dollars, or just use a cheap kitchen towel, or some fabric if you wanna sew.

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Does it need to be fastened? Naaah but … yeah…

I was hoping to not have to pull out the sewing machine, so I tried just folding the fabric it over the string. It’s definitively possible to do this without sewing, in case you don’t have access to a sewing machine. But, I highly suggest sewing, even if it just means a few stiches by hand. You’ll see why in a sec…

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After about 2 hours of diy:ing my kid woke up. Her dad brought her over to the stove project. She was excited!!

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Almost done!

We added some kitchen utensils to show her what we were aiming at…

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Hmmm this is interesting…..

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I kid you not: it took her 30 seconds before she was going at some serious cooking. I was surprised and impressed: I barely ever cook (we have spend the last 6 months in New York and let me tell you: delivery is an amazing invention…) but I guess she has picked up a lot more than we think.

Also, when we do cook at home we always show her what’s going on and let her help out as much as possible (even if it means getting to stir the fried eggs once with a spatula.) We also find that getting her involved makes her eat better, which is a necessity since she is a super picky eater.

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Stirring, stirring!

She was stirring away with the 20 cent wooden butter knife in the cute little pan I got at the second hand store. If you can’t find them used, they have an ok priced set of cooking stuff at IKEA.

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Water leak!

She instantly requested some water in the tea box. She loves playing with water. But, the kitchen didn’t! I guess the paint wasn’t water resistant, and since I hadn’t put anything on to cover it (here is a tutorial on how you can make the paint water proof with beewax and olive oil) this happened. One day I’ll probably fix it so that she can play with water as well. We usually want to encourage her to experiment as much as we can. Even if it means a few wet towels… But for now, the kitchen will have to stay dry because well… I’m lazy.

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Lovin it

It has now been 4 days since I built the kitchen and she has spent like 90% of her awake time that we spent in the house in front of this little kitchen set. *Happy mom*

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Final result!

I sewed a straight seam through the cloth, and then put the string through it with the help of a safety needle. We then managed to distract her for a few minutes so that I could style the kitchen and add stuff. We bought a Melissa & Doug wooden play food set for her in the US, but as our bags were overflowing we gave away most of it (regret it now like crazy…) but at least we kept the cheese! She loves the ”sheeestsh”…

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Stir fry? Soup?

The felt vegetables that my parents had bought for her at IKEA (feels like I am doing an IKEA ad… I’m not getting paid by them for endorsement…unfortunately) made a great soup. Here are some good ideas if you want to make your own toy food! I’ll probably try some of them soon.

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Hmm I wonder if you can add more stuff from the big kitchen?

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We tried using the hangers from the adult kitchen, but they seemed a bit dangerous for now, so we’ll probably wait with them for a year or two.

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I can’t believe how easy this was! A fully equipped kitchen for under $30, all included! And, it only took an afternoon, but that was probably thanks to my dad helping out with the screw driver (it would have taken me longer to figure out how to use it). We’ll probably add on things, like a shelf above the embroidery and some more trinkets and small shelves and boxes. It will be an ongoing project that can develop with my daughter. When it gets too low for her we’ll just add some wooden pieces under it to get it off the floor, or even wheels to make it movable. As we live in a tiny apartment we’ll probably try to make it taller, rather than wider. Please ask me if you have any questions about the process and I’ll try to answer! IDA

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PS: If you like this post, you might like my children’s book Carried On Your Back / Rida ryggen about the day in the life of a babyworn child! You can buy the English version (soft cover) in most online bookstores, such as here or here (and here is the Kindle e-book version!) and the Swedish version (hardback) straight from me, here!And, here’s more info about Nära förlag, the small AP printing press that I run!  FOR MORE BLOG POSTS TAGGED ”BARN” / CHILDREN, CLICK HERE!


Inspiration, Kultur

Tips: Bonniers konsthalls konstvandringar! 4 februari – 5 april

cb300a88-7629-4925-a655-b99c38d831f5Önskar att jag kunde gå på detta! Är dessvärre inte på plats i huvudstaden än på några veckor (men 1 mars, då ni!). Bonniers Konsthall arrangerar en rad stadsvandringar med olika intressanta människor, med temat ”Städer i förändring”. Ett bra tillfälle för en rask vinterpromenad och en nypa luft (vad är jag, hundra år gammal?) och en chans att lära sig något nytt. Och vet ni vad? Från och med nu har de gratis entré på alla utställningar!

Om kvällen den 18 februari:
”Konstkritikern Ingela Lind samtalar med författaren och kritiken Anna Hallberg om historiska och samtida skildringar av städer.
Onsdagskvällen ställer frågan om idag verksamma konstnärer och författare har möjlighet att bo och porträttera staden, som världen över kommit att bli en exklusiv plats att bo på? Skildras snarare andra platser i dagens svenska litteratur, som förorten och landsbygden?”

Läs mer om utställningen Stadsvandringar som pågår 4 februari-5 april.

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Bild från utställningen lånad av

4 feb kl. 18–21 Konstnärer på drift. Helkväll med konstnärssamtal, performance och ljudkonst. Konstnärerna Jesper Just, Hala Elkoussy, Lisa Torell och Carlos Garaicoa samtalar med författaren och konstkritikern Ingela Lind. Kvällen gästas också av den kringresande konstnärsgruppen OuUnPo. Språk: engelska.

18 feb kl. 18—20 Konstnärer i den litterära staden. Författaren och konstkritikern Ingela Lind samtalar med poeten och litteraturkritiker Anna Hallberg om historiska och samtida skildringar av städer.

18 mars kl. 18–20 Konstnärer i den politiska staden. Magdalena Malm, direktör för Statens konstråd, konstnären Lisa Torell, Ola Andersson, praktiserande arkitekt och poeten och arkitekten Lars Mikael Raattamaa diskuterar aktuella frågor kring konstens roll i stadsutveckling med författaren och konstkritikern Ingela Lind.

14 feb kl. 14 Stadsvandring: Stadens stil. Utforska delar av staden runt Bonniers Konsthall med fil dr Philip Warkander, lektor i modevetenskap.

28 mar kl. 14 Stadsvandring: Stadens kvinnor. Utforska delar av staden runt Bonniers Konsthall med journalisten och författaren Ulrika Knutson.




Coola: Dyke Hard!

10941456_10152506006562294_8018907573627117171_nAtt denna filmen på riktigt blev till!?!! En svensk engelsktalande lesbisk action-musikal-b-rulle. Hur fantastiskt?

Nu i helgen har den (äntligen) premiär i Berlin. Missa inte om du är där! Annars: se den på Stockholm filmfestival.

Skärmavbild 2015-02-03 kl. 20.35.56Läs mer här! Missa inte den här skiten, det kommer bli helt flippat och alldeles, alldeles underbart!

Ida Therén är 29 år, bor för tillfället i Brooklyn och jobbar som frilansskribent för olika tidningar. För skriver hon sedan januari 2011 bloggen CONST, om kultur och vad den ska vara bra för. Hon driver litteraturtidskriften CONST Literary (P)review. Hon gillar att läsa böcker och att kolla på konst.
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