Crafting Abroad: Gina

July 1, 2015Elena aka. Midsommarflicka

Hello hello!
As on every first wednesday in the month we have an interview here today. I’m excited to introuce you to Gina, she’s living in Sweden – just like Karin – but in contrast to Karin, Gina is originally an US-American so her insights into the Swedish life & culture are probably a bit different… but see for yourself:
(Also some of her projects which are shown here in photos may be nice for you, if you’re in a heat wave ;))


In your own words, who are you and what do you do? I’m an mother to 3 kids who’s a graphic designer, illustrator, painter and have a blog willowday where I put all of these things together and share to inspire ofhers. I’m passionate about children, learning and creating!

Where are you from? I grew up in a northern university city in the US, Madison, WI and I’ve been living internationally now for 20 years in Sweden with a lot of time in France, too, since my husband’s family is both French and Swedish.


What is the nearest “big” city or district to you? In the US, where we think nothing of driving, Chicago, Minneapolis and Milwaukee where all within 45 minutes to a 4 hour drive were all cities I spent a lot of time in. I’ve been living in or around Stockholm which is the capital.


paper-snowmenWhat crafts do you like to do? This is really a question that bends with time. I guess, since I’m a mother, creative projects and creative thinking is perfect place to connect with the kids of all ages, one another and crafts truly depend on where we are in life.

When the the kids were all toddlers, crafts were also a way for me to work with their language skills since we’re a trilingual family creating play with language always left space from projects from painting to recycled projects to match books or holidays. I love drawing/painting and paper or cardboard. I’m also big on finding ways to have fun outside, year around; so craft projects with objects from nature were also very important to us using everything from leaves to ice. I’ve taught English, as well, and always loved to print in simple paper folding projects.

Now that the kids are bigger, their interests drive this: we all paint , we all draw. we all make things with recycled cardboard and lean more towards process art; but the boys love projects that are part experimentation or action and our daughter likes items that are keepers from occasionally sewing, working with photos and everything in-between. The kitchen is also a place for creativity in our home and “crafts” can often include ways that we dress the table or foods — parties and just elevating the everyday. (I’m a constant creator and due to this the kids are very natural about creative expression, too!) The kids all like to cook and bake and I think it’s a great place for experimentation.

snowflake-lionBut me: My first love it to paint but, I also I love to sew, knit and restore or make furniture; and I’m always “designing” something for my family or gift giving — whether it’s a stencil or a card idea.

What craft supplies do you have a difficult time finding in your area? Are the costs reasonable or is crafting very expensive in your area? A lot of craft supplies are difficult to find or very expensive: tempera paints, liquid watercolors and even gauche; epoxy glues, glues, printing supplies! These are all products I can’t find here and I bring them back from the US. Party supplies were almost non-existent until a few years ago but, are suddenly very trendy. From France, I love to bring back fabrics, paper and baking supplies.

I think craft supplies are expensive in Sweden and often more processed or pre-packaged that I’d prefer but’s it’s improving. I find it hard to find good priced basic, but extensive art supplies.

Do you use the internet or mail order products from other areas for hard to find items? Yes. I always order project from the US and also order and buy products for when I’m in the US to bring back.


They say that with recent popularity, crafting is a revolution of sorts. Is crafting huge where you’re from? Or is it the movement gaining momentum? While I feel that Martha Stewart really mainstreamed crafting. If I reflect on this, I feel that stamping, scrap booking and card making are all very popular crafts in the region I was born, but, since I was a designer and illustrator, my pleasure is making my own but, regionally, as a child, I had a Great Aunt who was a master quilt maker, crocheter and made rag dolls; along with a Great Grandmother who could crochet lace and knit and they felt very symbolic of the Nordic/Northern European cultural influences in the Northern Midwest that I grew up in.

Regionally, what type of crafts are popular? Are there any projects or genres that are specific to your region? I would say sewing and there was a strong Scandinavian influence.

Anything you’d care to add about crafting in your area? I have a hard time not talking about crafting in Sweden (or France) which have been a part of my adult year but, yes, my childhood in Madison formed me. Sweden is the most hands-on, DIY country I know! France is the most artistic in an expressive way and they’ve both been influences. I always feel that my open attitude about creativity is both the American culture of “there being something for everyone in the US” and my parents who were a part of the university culture, traveled, and my mother studied Art History while I was growing up and was later a Docent at the Art Museum so our house was always a place of ideas and broad interest in art.


Share with us your three favorite crafts/projects you’ve created! This is an impossibly question. The only one I know for sure is Ice Lanterns! This project was thought up by our son. We’d never seen these anywhere and he just came into the house with a ” look mom!” (something for all ages!) They’re just so amazing.

Where can we find you? From my two hands:
instagram // facebook // pinterest


PS. As usual, if you know a blogger, who would be a great fit for this series, let me, Elena, know! Thanks :)

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