Being a lover of Scandinavian Folk Art, it's not a surprise at all that I love the Dala horse. Of course I love Russian nesting dolls (obviously!), I love the birds of folk art, the flowers, the trees and of course the Dala horse.
Supposedly these little wooden horses started in the deep cold woods of Dalarna, Sweden to keep busy while sitting in front of the fire in their modest cabins. With dusk coming early in the winter, and lack of our modern staples of entertainment (i.e. binge watching horror movies on Netflix until you're eyes fall out), they carved these horses as toys for their children made from scraps of wood and basic tools. The horse at the time was a logical choice because it was such an important part of life - the most crucial for carrying timber to the cabin for those long winter months, and working on the farm throughout the summer. Little did they know how that these "toys" would become the national symbol of Sweden.
They are painted in traditional colors symbolizing the area in Sweden they originated. Although personally I do love the traditional red horse with a white and green harness, I really find all of them so different and beautiful. The blue pictured below has just stolen my heart.
One of the most amazing things about these little horses is that in the 19th century, when Sweden fell into economic hardship - these little beauties kept food on the table for families all over the countryside. It soon became a craft passed on from generation to generation, keeping families afloat and filling the world with their charming wooden toys.
Okay, I'm done being nerdy about crafts (quite possibly the nerdiest thing ever said?..maybe).
But seriously, such a very basic, plain shape with little detail has such a powerful and iconic look to it. I love finding beauty in the unexpected. I love the small touches of flowers and curves that make it so unique and lovely. I love the story of just keeping busy by the fire that kept families alive and together, and evolved into such a beautiful symbol.
Pretty amazing for a wood horse huh? I am into it.