Middagshvil (The Bat Returns)
This diorama is the second one in the series where I take inspiration from my own background in the north of Norway, and in Østerdalen. Myths and traditions, folktales and memories.
The scene is a tribute to Sommerstua in Østerdalen – the wonderful little house where anything could happen…
Every summer in my childhood, the family would drive from Bodø, to spend the summer at my grandparents’ farm in Østerdalen. Our relatives would come as well, young and old, living together, working on the fields making hayracks, and helping with the cattle and sheep.
This is a glimpse into one of these summer days. Kids alone in the house during midday rest, busily playing. Then, a noise…?
Childhood is not innocent.
Sommerstua (“The summer cottage”)
The room I have recreated was the main room in sommerstua, one of two houses on the farm. It was built in 1791.
I wanted to tell the story of a house with a lot of history, used for generations. So I had to make elements from many eras, from an electric mixmaster and a waffelmaker, to 1980’s glossy magazines and furniture, even tools (Like the carrying pole above the doors), from the 19th century.
Sommerstua (a “Barfrøstue”) is a unique Østerdal type of house from the 18th century, , consisting of a one-storey house, but with a two-storey extension in front of the living room door in the middle of the long wall. Similar tower-like buildings are also known from Sweden and Denmark.
From time to time there would be bats up in the mantle above the big iron stove. Not often. But it could happen.
Us kids would look for them, listen for sounds. Hearing the stories and the rumors. Wings were found on the stove…
When I sculpt and paint the characters, I try to to give them an individual look and a personality. They are the storytellers.
The costumes are important in this scene, they set the era, a late 70’s/early 80’s look, adding a contrast to the old house.
I choose fabrics very carefully. Sometimes I need to make the fabrics. For a striped sweater, to achieve the right scale, I need to cut narrow stripes and put them together. The fabrics I use, whether it’s for clothes, furniture, cushions are all antique.
Building the room
Typical for this kind of house were the thick timber walls with moss between the beams for isolation.
For the walls, I cut pieces from my grandmothers “håndkarder”, turning them into miniature timber, applying real moss between them.
The view from the windows are a mix of watercolor and collage work, where I was trying to catch the right mood of the soft August afternoon light.
Recreating the original furniture in miniature, using different kinds of wood that I had available. Mixing the right color tones, staining it.
I needed a lot of details. Like the big stove, the kitchen set, and many different kinds of jars and boxes. Details are important in this scene, because it tells the story of a building that has been used for generations, and have traces from them all. Like the Combi 1953 radio, the ashtrey from the 70’s, and furniture from the 19th century.
This was the last diorama I got to create with this little guy by my side. R.I.P.