Let's hear it for social networking!
Through someone's Scandinavian Pinterest Board, I discovered Heather's beautiful artwork and, eventually, her thoughtful, meandering blog and lovely Etsy shop, both named Audrey Eclectic (after her young daughter, Audrey).
|Audrey Eclectic, "God Jul Sisters"|
After several conversations on Facebook and visiting each other's blogs, we gleefully discovered that we share many similar interests - Russia, iconography, all things Swedish (especially Tomte and St. Lucia), and books (especially those by Tasha Tudor and Jane Austen), to name a few.
|Audrey Eclectic, "St. Lucia"|
Growing up I really loved books about ‘old timey days.’ The American Girl Dolls books were favorites of mine (I had Kirsten, which is probably where my love of Sweden comes from!) and I also loved the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. My daughter is a book lover as well, and I can’t wait for her to start reading on her own! Right now her taste in books is really wide-ranging—she loves books by Lane Smith (John, Paul, George and Ben and Grandpa Green) as well as fairytales like Cinderella and she also likes the book The Tomten by Astrid Lindgren.
[Note to my readers, Lane Smith's books and illustrations are great - visit his website here. Not to be missed: Princess Hyacinth, The Surprising Tale of a Girl Who Floated]
Drawing and painting has always been a part of me. I can’t remember not doing it! I drew all over furniture as a child, painted rocks as ‘paper weights’ to sell in my mom’s garage sales, and took art classes all through school and college. To me, making art is my ‘happy place.’ It’s almost like a source of meditation. My mind becomes quiet and calm when I’m painting or drawing. My focus on folk art came about gradually as I tried different types of painting. When I first started selling pieces here and there as an adult, they were actually watercolor paintings. Then I started getting more into collage and mixed media, so I moved more into acrylic paints. As mixed media became more prevalent though, I decided I wanted to move onto something that was more unique to me, and decided to move toward acrylic painting without the collage element, and the style that came most natural to me was a more folksy, naïve art style. I really enjoy Americana and European folk art, specifically Scandinavian folk art, so that is another draw to Sweden for me! So it’s been a bit of an evolution, and I hope that I keep trying new things and improving, although I think what I’m doing now (folk art) suits my personality and skills the best!
|Audrey Eclectic "God Jul Tomtes"|
As far as I know I am NOT Swedish. Can you believe that!? Well, surely there’s some Swede in there somewhere—I’ve done a lot of research on ancestry.com and haven’t been able to find the actual point in which a family member got on a boat and came to America--- seems we’ve been here since about the beginning! My maiden name was Van Winkle, which is Dutch in origin. There’s also a healthy strain of English and a bit of German in my background. My married name is Sleightholm--- which comes out of North Yorkshire, UK (there’s a Sleightholme Moor there). However, some of my family research into that side of the family leads me to believe that “Sleightholm” (which sounds Scandinavian, doesn’t it?) might have been a name created by Viking settlers in Britain. So perhaps…in a very round about way hundreds of years ago….there’s a dash of Scandinavian in my background!
So - on to the Giveaway. Heather will send a lucky someone this beautiful set of 6 (six) "God Jul" postcards and envelopes.
And remember: you can visit the Audrey Eclectic Etsy Shop to see more of Heather's art - including her unique prints, calendars, and dolls. Isn't her artwork stunning?? What's your favorite?