ICELANDIC WOOD CARVING AND NORDIC CHRISTMASWARE

REYKJAVIK ARTS AND CRAFTS FAIR
The Icelandic Crafts and Design institution (Handverk og Hönnun) often holds exhibitions and fairs that provide a chance to see some of the best of Icelandic craft and design all in one location, often including products that aren’t commonly available in mainstream shops. Last weekend it held just such an expo at the Reykjavik Town Hall, where I spotted magical glass bubbles, 1001 uses of felt, and some beautiful handmade Icelandic Yuletide Lads (I’ll tell you more about that tradition a bit closer to Christmas).

HELGI BJÖRNSSON’S ENCHANTED WOODEN FIGURES
The figures were crafted by Helgi Björnsson, a sheep farmer in northern Iceland, and one of the reasons I liked his stall was because he was there, knife in hand, creating new figures on the spot. If you’re visiting the north and would like a closer look, give Helgi a call. You may well find yourself invited to see his latest creations over a cup of coffee at his farm at Huppahlíð, Hvammstangi, which is home to Icelandic horses as well as sheep.

A couple of the Yuletide Lads (centre) on show at the Reykjavik Town Hall last weekend, with Helgi carving away in the background.

NORDIC CHRISTMAS EXHIBITION UNTIL JANUARY 15, 2012
But if you’re not venturing that far from Reykjavik, keep in mind that a crafts and design Christmas exhibition just opened and will run until January 15, 2012, at the Museum of Design and Applied Art in Gardabær (less than 10km from the centre of Reykjavik). The exhibition focuses on Nordic tableware, decorations and chairs, with some items sourced directly from people’s homes.

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