What would you put in your House of Dreams? Eighteenth century Swedish polymath Swedenborg had a special summer house where he often wrote down his ideas, including a Book of Dreams, played music, planned his garden or drew inventions. Some wondrous versions of this summer house appeared in Bloomsbury last Saturday!
Swedenborg’s summer house was moved from its original location to Skansen, Sweden, which I visited when a very small child. My workshop appropriately enough took place in Swedenborg House in London. Although I’ve run several workshops here before, this one was different, and rather special.
First of all there was some initial warm-up drawing and a short talk about Swedenborg and his curiosity about almost everything. Two musicians, Waffy Spencer and Jo Lawrence, joined me for the afternoon, ‘playing’ some of the participants’ images and ideas on clarinet and violin as they added their drawings to the template. I’d adapted this from an original idea inspired by the Skansen summer house. The atmosphere and music were inspirational, and one of the participants even started singing as well as drawing!
I first met the musicians, members of the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment, at a Guardian workshop event. We’d planned on working together one day but our plans were delayed for a while by Covid and its restrictions.