February 7, 2014

Dala horse

dala horse :: circle of pine trees

In 1948, a schoolgirl in Folkstone was assigned a Swedish penpal. That summer, an exchange took place: in July, a group of Swedish girls visited Folkstone for a month. When they returned home, their English hosts joined them on the ferry to Gothenburg, spending the rest of the summer in Sweden. One of those English girls was my grandmother. Journeying back to England, she carried with her a small family of traditional handcarved, painted wooden horses- Dala horses. She also had a friendship that would last her a lifetime- she and her pen friend remain close to this day, 56 years later.

As a child, the little horses were very familiar to me and I loved to play with them, to feel their smoothness beneath my hands. I very much wished that I myself could have a Dala horse. Now, when we visit my grandparents, my own children seek out those same figures, taking them down from the window sill and carrying them about, enacting stories.

So when I noticed this blue painted horse at a local jumble sale, I knew exactly what it was, picking it up quickly and offering my twenty pence piece in exchange. It sits now, on a shelf above my desk, next to a pile of Kinfolk magazines and a Diana camera. A reminder, a treasure, a talisman.

 

14 thoughts on “Dala horse

  1. Zoe

    I too love these Dala horses and am always on the look out for them when out and about. There is something about the colours and simplistic design that draws me to them!

    Reply
  2. Zoe

    I too love these Dala horses and am always on the look out for them when out and about. There is something about the colours and simplistic design that draws me to them!

    Reply
  3. Kerry

    What a gorgeous find! I am super jealous but it’s one of those items that finds you, when you aren’t looking for it. Ooo and can you please take a pic of it next to your Diana and Kinfolk? x

    Reply
  4. Elisabeth

    Ooo that is such a lovely story. I like it especially since I grew up near Gothenburg (now cal London my home) and when i first moved to the UK a long time ago now I made the journey by ferry. I don’t own a Dala horse as it’s not from my ‘home region’ but you gave me the thought to get some for my kids to remind them of their Scandinavian heritage.

    Reply

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