In the winter of our lives, we must build a sanctuary. This is well known by the Danes, who each year endure the whittling of daylight to less than seven hours a day. To cope, they retreat indoors to a ‘hygge’ way of living. Stemming from the 16th century Norwegian term ‘hugga’ meaning comfort or consolation, hygge has no direct English translation – but it is innately familiar. Hygge is a crackling fire on a stormy night, hot tea on a frosty morning, and cocooning in the company of art.
Have a cold? Try “tea and hygge”, say Danish doctors.
Whether you’re sheltering from the chill or embracing your inner homebody, look to hygge. Wholesome, nourishing and meaningful, the hygge mindset sees the place we eat, sleep and perhaps now work as entwined with wellbeing. To make one’s home hygge, is to populate it with items that incite pleasure, hope and comfort, even on the darkest days.
Hygge pulls away from the mass produced and impersonal. It celebrates items which tell a story, make you feel at ease and revive a space. Because we must stay at home, hygge calls for art to bring the outdoors in. Lesbia Thorpe’s ‘Terraced Houses, Royal Parade’ does this, miraculously rendering Melbourne’s stubborn winter cosy.
Warm tones are also hygge. As are works which celebrate the intimate, simple and gentle. In his work, Charles Blackman repeatedly invokes the delights of ordinary life. A compulsive creator, he takes inspiration as much from epic themes as a woman with flowers.
Like the adage says, home is where the heart is – so make your home a sanctuary. Embrace the hygge philosophy and travel inward to build that art collection you have always dreamed of.
“The hard-earned lesson of frigid Scandinavian winters is that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothes – that all you really need to get through difficult times is shelter and sustenance, kith and kin.”
Discover art to warm the home here.