Swedish book binder and entrepreneur, Linda Gimle, re-defines the expression: "painting the town red." Her town is red --- Swedish "Falu red."
Since Linda doesn't need to paint the town red, she prints, binds + folds paper in red -- and all colors imaginable --- expertly. Linda's work is sold around the world but, her own brand of Swedish attention to craftsmanship and handicraft detail travels with it. I was fortunate enough to travel to the Dalarna region to take a class with her this past Spring and was so happy when she agreed to be included in my "Swedish Creatives" Interview Series and photographed, too.
The opportunity to share creativity, from life around me, is truly an aspect of blogging that I love. Continue below for more glimpses into this world and to read Linda's interview:
Linda lives in Dalarna, in a cookie cutter, Swedish, home, which is located in the center of the small village of Djura, which is both her office and her home which she shares with her husband, Odd, and their two young sons. We only had the chance to hear the patter of small feet from the second story apartment in the house, but, one could feel the creativity in the walls of this artist's family home.
I was struck immediately by her sincerity, tempered intensity and professionalism, along with the team work that was obvious in the business that she runs with Odd. She's aglow with her work, is warm and easy to talk to. Our class was filled with color, technique and tools. Linda doesn't hesitate to share her expert skills and knowledge on everything from book binding, paper work, printing techniques and tools. This area of Sweden is known for it's folklore and handicrafts and both Linda and her studio felt like authentic extensions of this hand's on historical region that gives the world the Dalahorse, too.
Linda has a prestigious diploma in Sweden's only book binding program and works as an expert in her field with paper in a variety of ways: book binding, restorations, artisan printing (with a Heidelberg press, creating hand-made paper products, teaching classes and giving workshops, along with running an internet store that carries the highest quality tools one needs and travels the world over to collect to be used for book binding and for working with paper.
1. What kind of art did you do as a kid?
I started writing calligraphy when I was twelve years old. Already then, I had a special interested in lettering and typography. I was not particularly arty, I liked tweaking. Like many children, I remember, with great feeling, places where I could craft, where I was allowed to tweak projects and in school I loved needlework, creative classes and the after school arts project that has held in the school basement, in a classroom that was loaded with material for us to work with.
My strongest memory from childhood was that I wanted to be a secretary. I liked to key on the typewriter, to handle the cash book, count money, and more. The idea that I would be a self-employed with a company was probably already planted and grown in these seeds of my childhood.
2 Did your parents or school or environment encourage growth as an artist when you were growing up?
I would venture to say, probably not. Outside of these creative places at school, so I lived a pretty uncreativity environment. My mom worked in the health care and social care and many of my relatives were farmers. My exposure to Arts & Crafts, Museums & Exhibitions came to me as an adult. This is something I think about a lot as a parent. I want my children to have grow up in a creative environment. I keep a plentiful supply of craft materials available, the kids have a good desk and the kids are also often involved in the workshops. I also make it a point to take them to shows and museums.
I like to support the kids creativity and entrepreneurial instincts, too. My oldest son , 6 years old, loves bookbinding. I love to support him by giving him the chance to sell his note booklets in the store, which he sells on an average of £ 2 each but, these range anywhere from 1-3 dollars, depending on his work and materials. I look forward to exposing them to a wide variety of handy crafts, as they grow, in addition to the paper crafts we already create together.
3. Do you use your work in your home? I don't use my work in our home as much as you might think. I love to buy nice notebooks even though I can make them myself. I love to check out the shops for paper products, paper design and both because it's something I love and because it brings inspiration. Just looking around, I think I add pieces that I've made myself without considering this such as a paper notebook, I realised I was using the other day, that had a cover that I had marbled yourself. That one I will not sell but use myself for writing my marbling work, notes and studies.
4. You know I have to ask this: What project would you suggest doing with children?
Paper garlands! Lace, paper, glue. Punch or cut out pieces of different shapes, glue them together with the string in between. Kids love garlands and we adults do, too. These are samples of a few book binding projects I've done with kids: here + here + here.
5 And of course: Do you have a favorite snack / or food or one that you like to make with the kids?
The boys like it when we make smoothies together and I think it's a good snack: yogurt, milk, banana and berries.
6. What makes a special birthday party or party for you?
Handmade paper decorations!
Linda, thank you so much for your time and the pleasure to meet! It was a memory and very soon, on willowday, I'll share a few projects that were inspired by this trip or made using tools from your boutique.
Friends, I hope you that you enjoy a glimpse into another side of Sweden and if you would like to be in touch with Linda or to learn more about Linda and her work, click here. (+ here for a special project for the 25 Creative Days series.)
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Interview with Swedish Paper Artist: Fideli Sundqvist
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