We spent three wonderful weeks here, guests of our exchange student sister Anna and her husband Alex, who proudly drove us all over Denmark, explaining the terrain and the sights on the way. We visited Copenhagen, Aarhus, Helsinor (where Hamlet ruminated), Nykobing, Roskilde, Skagen and even a day in the university town of Lund in Sweden, just across the bridge. Saw many very old churches, the birthplace of Hans Christian Andersen, a fascinating Old Town with really good reenactors, the Viking Ship Museum, the CLAY Museum (great pottery and china), an exhibit of Georg Jensen silver, the Louisiana Contemporary Art Museum and a great deal of remarkable architecture. And we ate a lot of cheese and fresh fish.
It's very important in Danish culture to be "cozy"--comfortable and relaxed. This value outranks many others ("interesting," "distinctive," "contemporary," "unique" for example) that are featured in decorator magazines in the US. While we visited houses and apartments that were in fact very modern or very traditional, or even very interesting, the discussion eventually turned to how cozy these homes were.
Another important value that kids are taught (it's expressed in a Danish phrase that I didn't write down) is not to stand out from others. So when you see a crowd of people in the city, or at a concert or at the market, they are all wearing black, gray and beige. Occasionally a dash of color in a scarf or socks, but generally it's a monotone wardrobe. A touch of blue is OK. We saw no "fashion statements" as one might expect on the streets of a major US city, and all the window displays in high-end stores were in black, gray and beige, beautiful fabrics but no standout effort. We felt a bit exotic, but as we were tourists it did not matter.
Now, about the fiber artists--I met two women whose work was outstanding. Vibecke Novkovic lives in Ledoje, just a brief walk from Anna's house. She produces misty, evocative felted wall hangings using only hand-held needles, then wet-felts each piece. There were stacks of these works as well as some commissions she has made but Vibecke seemed reluctant to part with her art when we inquired about pricing. She has a website, www.vuna.dk
So home now, sleep recovered and ready to get back to the studio.