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Special Projects

Petra Bӧrner – November 2017
Petra Bӧrner is celebrated for her colourful and intricate paper-cut creations inspired by the natural world. Originally from Sweden, Bӧrner draws on her Scandinavian roots, a childhood spent outdoors and the influences of growing up in the 70’s, to create a bold and evocative style that is distinctly her own. Her breadth of work spans a variety of mediums but is rounded in its approach – from the technical precision of her scalpel work and drawings to more organic creations found through her sculptures and paintings.

Drawn to her unique style, we commissioned Petra to design a series of illustrations to be gifted as A2-sized artwork prints for purchases made exclusively through our website. The result – nostalgically captured moments of summers spent in the Swedish archipelago, and on warmer European coastlines, through her signature lines using pencil, ink and acrylic on paper. We spoke with Petra to learn about her design process, her inspiration behind the collaboration, and what it means to be a woman.

How would you describe your work in your own words?
It’s challenging to describe my own practice, as I’m in the centre of it. Making art is what helps me to process my thoughts, fears, excitement and it’s a natural part of my daily life. Ever since I can remember I have enjoyed drawing, painting and making things. Through collaborations with clients and other artists, my work develops in unexpected directions. It often takes me by surprise and that is fun. I feel as if though whatever I draw or portrait, and in whatever media used, the outcome is always the same, bold, intense and definite line – a stylised version of what I see, feel or think about. I tend to like drawing inspiration from the natural world, but not always. I enjoy studying the face and hands, whilst exploring different moods.

Who and what are your greatest influences?
My environment spills into my work. My Swedish roots are a certain influence and a way of life learnt from having grown up in the 70’s. Experiencing a childhood much of which was spent outdoors, having the chance to roam and the time to explore artistic ideas helped me to learn to try things independently. My mum and aunts shared a keen interest in all sorts of crafts and this triggered a confidence of practice in me and the attraction to the hands-on, manual have excited me ever since. I love to learn new skills.

What is the inspiration behind the illustrations you created for the Her Line collaboration? What is the message you want to convey?
I love the sea and I love swimming. Having grown up with summers spent on the rocky landscape of the Swedish West coast archipelago, I am not fazed by cool waters. I need the sun to warm me up though. I love the feeling of emerging from the sea, as long as it is clean, just about anywhere. Typically I work focused on an idea and produce a series of work, so the artwork featuring here are part of a sort of trail of thought. The starting point was something of a merging of memories of time spent by the sea – Swedish, Cornish, Italian and Portuguese memories mixing with time spent on beautiful beaches in Mexico and Barbados. I tried to capture the sensation of entering the sea for the first time, with wild waves around me, wind-swept hair and the warmth of the sun bright on the back. The breeze is perhaps a little chilly, so the position of the woman is one of self-embrace. It’s exciting to enter the sea; it is the closest state available to us comparable with being one with nature. With bold lines; there two bathers stand in swimming caps, shivering slightly after coming out of the water. A reclining woman with her hair bellowing in the wind, at one with nature.

What does being a woman mean to you, and does it reflect in your work?
In my life, I haven’t thought a lot about being a woman, but I suppose when I have I’ve often felt quite masculine in many ways. Becoming a mother makes me think more about the person I am generally and how it will impact on my daughter. Being a woman and talking about being a woman, is very positive for us both and it’s something that will give her confidence growing up. I love how women can create communities, build bonds and be supportive to one another. Whether you are in a relationship, married or single the friendships we nurture outside our home is vital for us to grow, to stay sane, to feel safe and to share love.

What is your favourite summer destination?
I love Italy, Sicily in particular, but when the time is right the Swedish archipelago is something quite spectacular.

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