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Hey there! My name is Megan and I'm the sewing, pattern making girl behind Dolly Henry. This is my blog, where I share my own creative adventures and hope to meet fellow fabric enthusiasts. I also design and sell sewing patterns through my online boutique, alongside a beautiful collection of clothing and dolls. Thank you for stopping by!

NEWSLETTER

Tea with Ulla & Peder


I'm really excited to write this post today because it's about creativity and I just love to share that with you! Last week, I and Sarah from Say! Little Hen were invited to lunch with two of our favourite people. Ulla and Peder. They are one of the most inspiring couples I know, and several hours in their company is soul restoring. They are kindred spirits and their creativity seems to know no end! We visited them where they are currently looking after the lovely home of a mutual friend, while she is on holidays. Ulla is guiding Sarah through her foray into learning to spin.

Ulla is a fibre artist, a weaver, a spinner, she sews, she writes, she paints silk and dyes yarns and fibres. I am sure there are other things to mention but those are just a few things she does! Her work is just awe-inspiring, the kind that makes me wonder 'but how did you even think of doing that?" I think sometimes the creative, craft world can get a bit rigid and formal and whenever I feel a bit stifled, I just remember Ulla in all her splendor.

She is fearlessly and unapologetically creative. She infuses herself into every little thing she creates and the result is unique and amazing pieces of art that remind me that the boundaries are there to be pushed and the opinions of others are not to be considered when creating.


My perfectionism gets me into creative ruts from time to time. It chokes it up and putting rules and deadlines on things only make it worse for me. I personally don't see perfect as a good thing, because whenever I let that word get in the way, less than perfect things happen. It can be easy for me to slip into a run-of-the-mill method of making, and it rarely makes me happy. I don't mind constraints as such - physical, financial and material constraints can serve to enhance my creativity when I'm designing but holding back and having fear and doubt in my capabilities, those are not at all constructive.

Peder made an absolutely delicious platter style lunch - has anybody ever had smoked salmon and cold scrambled eggs together? Divine! Both Ulla and Peder arrived in Australia many moons ago, from Denmark. Since that time, they have traveled around and the longest time they stayed put was for three years. In Ulla's words, they arrived and thought this country is too beautiful to live in just one place, so they decided to live a nomadic lifestyle. Occasionally, Ulla and Peder pack up and head overseas for long periods of time. Going off the beaten track and having experiences I'd never be brave enough to have, their friends are supplied with hilarious emails of their adventures while they are away.



I decided to take the camera with me, thinking I must share some of Ulla's work with you! When they travel, they meet other artists and makers from countries and tribes where language can be a barrier to good or ANY conversation. So Ulla created some books, containing samples of her work. The different fibres she has spun and the dyed yarn she has made. The books are filled with photographs and pieces of her work, fabric from projects. Once Ulla had these with her, she was able to communicate with other spinners and weavers in the faraway places that she and Peder visited.

My favourite book was Ulla's sewing themed book!! The pages were made of various silks and fabrics, with ribbons, clothing labels, patterns, photographs and paper doll cutouts stitched into the pages. I felt like I was handling something that will be placed in a museum 100-years from now as an example of the fabrics and fibres we used. Ulla makes these books when they are travelling and she can't take her sewing machine or spinning wheel with her. Alot of the elements and materials she uses in her work are thrifted from op-shops and swapped with other artists.



An amazing example of this is her Crocodile Wrap, which has the shape of that native creature when seen from a birds-eye view. Sarah modelled it for Ulla so I could take some photos. This gorgeous wrap is warm and snuggly. It has a funny story too. When Ulla and Peder were heading to Alice Springs for the Beanie Festival (how fun does that sound!) Ulla knew her legs might get cold without some leg warmers. So she found a pretty jumper (sweater) at one of the op-shops, cut the arms off and made them into leg warmers.

With the leftover middle, she began on a whim crocheting around the edge and the Crocodile Wrap evolved from there. Ulla says she just kept adding a going with it until she felt it was finished. The wrap also has fabric from a thrifted skirt in one panel, and is crocheted in various yarns - including silk - Ulla's fibre of choice. It's just gorgeous and it amazes me. I'm pretty sure I could never take a jumper and make something so beautiful.

I did make a State of Origin dog-sized jersey once out of one of my old jumpers and my Father's jersey but somehow, I don't think you'd find it on the high street or in an art gallery!



Ulla and Peder are in a sense, creative gypsys. They go where the wind takes them, whether around Australia or abroad. Ulla's work has been exhibited in a huge number of art galleries across Australia and she held her first solo exhibition back in Denmark. Peder is a chef and his creative domain is in the kitchen. Ulla has worked with local fashion designers and they've taught workshops up North when nobody would travel that far, and fled south to Tasmania when it got to hot up here for them in Queensland. When it was too cold in Tassie, they came back up here. Their free-spirited wander lust, their fearless creativity and joy for living is something that inspires me to go out and just enjoy making from the heart. It's when the best stuff happens after all!

Lastly, we were each gifted strings that Ulla had made to dry out some chillies and bay leaves for cooking. Typical Ulla, why do something ordinary when you can do the extraordinary? She has threaded the leaves and chillies interchanging with beads, which makes them beautiful pieces of art while we wait for the drying process to complete.


I hope you enjoyed reading!
Megan x


4 comments

  1. Fantastic photos and post Megan and what extraordinary people to know, very inspiring. Amanda

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    1. Thank you Amanda! I am very glad you enjoyed it :-) Megan

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  2. I am just blown away ... thank you very much for taking your camera, thank you to Ulla for allowing you to share her creative world with us. I agree with you about those books being in a museum one day... what gifts to behold. Your post wants me to jump up and fly xo

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    1. you need to fix your private jet Kellie!

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