Writer and journalist Elisabeth Fuchs, France
Solvejg Refslund works in a very intuitive way. “It´s all about layers”, she says. Without any preliminary sketch she works from her palette of hand painted and screen printed fabrics. She lays fabric pieces on a foundation, plays around with them, puts them one next to the other and one over other. Again and again, until she reaches the “ Core of the tale the picture wants to tell “. Then she machine applique´s the three to five resulting layers of fabric down using a simple zigzag stich.
She believes that working with fabric surfaces goes well with femininity because women are always looking for closer relationships and they are active, determined and curios. “ Curiosity is one of my driving forces in the process of making pictures “, she says. “ Fabric surfaces are everyday objects. We wear them, sit on them and sleep wrapped in them. However, something magical happens when we start playing with small fabric pieces and organizing them. The flexibility of the material allows us to turn anonymous surfaces into a means of expression that helps us tell about our lives, thoughts and inner stories. When the fabric picture comes together we can feel whole.”
As a picture artist ( she works with paper/textile collage too ), she wants to reach the essence of her motifs, to go beyond and behind them, to experiment, break down and build again. She feels a strong relationship to the earth. Gathering plants, making paper from them and incorporating it into her work while watching closely “nature´s lines” ( the plants fibres) materialize before her eyes when she paints them, is a fascinating process to her. She hopes that it will enable her to get closer to the statement “ Man is Heaven and Earth a miniature”.
Solvejg Refslund´s textile pictures often feature a women as the central figure and larger than life animals behind or next to her. Although most of her female characters bear an undeniable resemblance to her. She swears they are not self-portraits. She will admit though that her own weaknesses and strengths show through her characters´eyes and body attitudes.
According to her, the animals in the pictures reflect the inner being of women in a symbolic way. It can be surprising then to note that these animals are not the ones you would traditionally associate with so called feminine qualities. Solvejg`s animals are wild ones. Sometimes their attitudes seem powerful, dynamic and even a little aggressive: wolves show their teeth, a lion is roaring, an eagle spreading its wings. At other times they look more serene, very much aware of the present moment, protective or looking towards the horizon. Though her textile art Solvejg Refslund wants to show how strong a woman´s personality is. She wants women to understand that perhaps they have much more strength and power than they believe. Her art is not therapeutic as such but she firmly believes that true art, are coming from the heart, moves and changes both the artist and the viewer.
Learning for life.
Solvejg Refslund puts her philosophy into practice during her clases and is therefore a very much sought-after teacher. She is close to the Danich folkhigh school movement inspired by nineteenth century Danish priest, author and poet NSF Gruntvig. One of the principles is that learning only becomes a significant part of our lives if we are actively involved in it and share responsibility for it.
Solvejg has tried to recreate the same kind of atmosphere for her students. She lives at Banhgolm, a renovated farm situated on the Helnæs Peninsula, an area with an exciting history that goes right back to the Stone Age. In these inspiring surroundings she has created an environment and an entity based on her artistic work. It includes a workchop, art gallery and teaching space.
She does not require any particular background or training from people who attend her classes, rather she likes to take them from where they are.
Her aim is to help them give themselves permission to experiment and play; she is there to help them let go and delve deeper into the expression of their needs and feelings and to be proud of their work. It can be difficult for most people beause we all tend to look for security. It is very important to understand that development takes place where is a tension between secutity and insecurity. One has to learn to open op to one´s work, to lay first impressions and ideas aside and to accept the way the picture is developing because it is a visible projection of one´s inner and outer being.
To me, there is something very Scandinavian about Solvejg Refslund´s work: her connction to the earth and nature, her use of symbols, her constant quest for self-growth, reminiscences of age old myths. She is indeed a well-known artist in Denmark and the nordic countries. However, I believe that a lot more people can relate to her themes of work and to the way she expresses herself, so I have no doubt that she is going to touch people outside Scandinavia very soon!
Member of IAPMA - The International Association of hand- papermakers and paper artists.
Member of DK: Danske Kunsthåndværkere = Danish Arts and Craftsmen
Tele-Danmark, Southern Jutland and Western Funen; Frøstruphave Continuation School; Dejbjerglund Continuation School; Skalborg Church; Gerding Church; Craftsmen's School, Sønderborg; People's High School for Physical Education, Brønderslev; SID (Trade Union) Energy School, Nykøbing Falster; Peace conference for Central America; Peace work for Chile; Hospital Laundry i Northern Sealand, The municipality of Gråsten's present to Queen Margrethe; Danfoss, Brussels; Sydbank; V. Sottrup's meeting hall; stage curtain for Bovlund village hall; Hoptrup People's High School, Aabenraa Commercial School; Artist of the Year, Falck; Odense Law courts.
McKinney-Møllers Fund 1994 and 1996 H.P. Hansen Fund 1996
"A lived life"& a lecture with slides, where I combine a series of my pictures together in a way that will lead you into the symbolism, colour language and story behind them.