We had a wonderful time in Denmark. As always my parents looked after us so well that it almost gets embarrassing and we tell them they really don't need to take such good care of us and make us such wonderful food.
My parents live in a seaside town that still has a traditional working fishing harbour. My dad loves to go to the fishmongers on the harbourside that sells an amazing range of seafood, both fresh off the boat and freshly smoked or otherwise prepared on the premises.
When we visited last summer the fishmonger saw Corinna's delight at the quality of his produce and proudly took us behind the scenes to see his fish smoker filled with traditionally curing mackerel. Even better, he gave us a complimentary mackerel which we went straight home and had as part of lunch and oh my, was it good!
With my parents, we travelled all over the middle of Jutland (the bit of Denmark that's joined to northern Germany) looking for beautiful new things to bring you. Over time we've developed a bit of system, everyone knows the kind of things we are looking out for but equally we need to keep an open mind for more unusual items. We aim to have a signature style so that people who like our product selection will find other things in the future they like too.
My dad is 6ft5, Corinna is 5ft2 and my mum and I are somewhere in between so we can all walk along the same shelving rack in a shop and see different things. For instance my dad and I stood at a particular shelf discussing the contents for quite a while before moving on and then Corinna came skipping up behind us with a beautiful Louis Poulsen wall lamp she had found in that very spot - on the bottom shelf!
It's quite mentally draining work, hunting out and assessing each piece. Many items are so expensive that we just could not bring them to you at a reasonable price, others are not sufficiently special or not in good enough condition. We have limited space, both in our car and our home, so we have to think about bringing a good selection of product types and price ranges.
We often choose by committee - after all venturing off in the shop we gather together with an item to discuss its merits and make a group decision. If one person feels strongly about a particular item, we tend to go with it, even if the others aren't convinced. That's because this isn't a science, there is no formula, it's about finding treasures that people will love, it's about the heart and the soul.
By the end of the first week we were very pleased with our haul. In particular we had a very broad range of ceramic lamps in varying colours, designs and price points. Other highlights included an amazing 1980s floor lamp, a couple of great enamel desk lamps, a yellow Louis Poulsen 'Storebror' (big brother) spotlight and several beautiful ceramic pieces including wall reliefs like this gorgeous Knabstrup one.
We also managed to fit in a visit to the Danish Glass Museum. This installation artwork was inspired by the Faroese artist’s time spent drifting across the ocean on an open raft where he felt completely at one with the sea and the sky.
I also particularly enjoyed a visiting exhibition from British artist, Erin Dickson, called ‘Chinese Whispers’. She asked an Italian artist to make a classic piece of glass based on a photo and then to describe, using limited words and google translate, to another artist in another country what he had made. The second artist then had to produce their own piece based on the conversation and to then in turn describe the finished piece to a third artist. And so it went on through 15 artists across the world and it was fascinating to see how the artwork changed through the process and to think how messages do change as they are passed between people and countries.
But, as the week had progressed, the news was becoming increasingly focussed on the spread of Coronavirus. We were becoming accustomed to daily appearances on the news from the relatively new young Prime Minister Mette Frederikson, the Danish Government had already requested the limiting of large public gatherings and there was a deep sense of foreboding that this was only moving in one direction.
You can read Part 3 here.