1.3.2023 | Jeanette Aurdal

Home, wherever you are...

I talk a lot about making memories and what home means to me. It defines everything we do at Oak & Rope, and this is my yard stick....

I shot this video in February 2020. My Dad had just been diagnosed with cancer and as a knee jerk reaction I grabbed my children and went ‘home-home’ for a few days before he went into hospital.

We simply hankered down and spent a few wonderful days together, as you can see. We were all worried about what was ahead, but for some lovely days we managed to forget about everything else. What followed was a pretty bumpy ride for all of us, particularly for my Dad.

It would take another 18 months before we could see them again thanks to Covid, and this little video became so important to me. (Sound on! It is set to an old recording of miniMe singing 'Wonderful World'' aged 10 with her Grandad!)

Luckily my Dad is now fine, but looking back on this there are many tell-tales of what continues to be so important to me.

When I talk about making memories and what home means to me, this is my yard stick.
- Jeanette
Sawmill near my parent's house...

For as long as I can remember I have aspired to travel and explore. Inspired by Norwegian childhood heroes like Thor Heyerdahl and Roald Amundsen and older cousins who went abroad to study.

As soon as I could I set off on my own adventures. I travelled around Europe, I spent a few months in the Middle East whilst still studying in Oslo, until I eventually established reasons to stay in London in the 90s. For a quarter of a century I have called England my home...

On my recent trip back to Norway I could however not help but to reflect on how much I am the outcome of my roots, despite the journey I have been on since I left . I took this photograph in a disused sawmill near my parents’ house, and it captures so much. I spent my childhood playing in sheds like these with the backdrop of stunning natural surroundings and a level of freedom my own children are unable to imagine.

This sawmill may not have been used for all the time I have been away, yet my childhood impressions have defined my designs a thousand miles away, 25 years later!

The irony is not lost on me that my heroes main achievement was to make it back home safely. I seem to have missed that part out of my own story as I have made the most wonderful life in England with my children, my co-pilot, friends and amazing team...

It is however not a coinsidence that Oak & Rope’s main focus is on creating a feeling of home wherever you are, establishing and celebrating your own traditions and making tangible links between you and your loved ones, despite long distances...
- Jeanette
Mile posts  - hand engraved with special destinations...

I am not alone in pondering what 'home' is and means. Recently I stumbled upon the inspirational Ellei Home, who has a few words of wisdom when it comes to creating the Uniqueness of Home.

Our homes are often our most intimate and private spaces. In addition to serving our needs for safety, shelter, and belonging and facilitating the activities of our daily lives, when the selection of objects in our home is unique to us, our homes can reflect and reinforce who we are and who we wish to become.
- Ellei Home

Reading this made me take a closer look at what has been steering me in the face for a long time. The designs we create in The Oak & Rope Workshop is both a nod to the Scandinavian home I originate from at the same time as it allows other people to create objects for their home which is unique to them and carries their stories with inscriptions of meaningful places, dates or quotes...

We can explore our unique feelings of home by becoming familiar with our past sense of place and drawing inspiration from the places that have shaped our physical and emotional landscapes throughout our lives.
- Ellei Home

Very often Oak & Rope creations are given as milestone presents for life's major events. There is however a lot to be said for taking a conscious look at what we ourselves buy for our homes. Humans are by nature seeking meaning. As Ellei says, when our spaces are created to reflect something deeply personal to us, we are more likely to stay satisfied with our creations through the changing whims of the design world.

Creating a home you are happy with can not be done by copying something from Instagram. Rarely does mass produced fashion provide personality to your home. You would have to be quite lucky if an interior designer could second guess your true needs. You should not rely on friends or family picking out these special pieces for you. Create pieces that are right for you!

The feeling of tapping into our unique history of home and being able to bring elements of this past into our present and future in a mindful and conscious way can be a deeply gratifying experience. This exercise is the direct counter to fast-fashion-driven decision making, which is in its nature fleeting, transitory, and focused on external sources. By tapping into both the conscious and unconscious images, memories, and feelings that have shaped our sense of home, we can begin to create spaces that feel enduringly gratifying and deeply rooted in who we are, making our design decisions personal and deeply grounded within our sense of self
- Ellei Home

Take the time to explore Ellei's enlightening blogs on this topic in full. Reflecting on these, together with seeing the many pieces we have created in our workshop over the years, here are a few suggestions for what you should put on your wish list when you are renovating, moving into a new home or simply continuing creating YOUR HOME:

  • Include the places that are important to you. Our doorstops or mileposts originally were created to show us how far we were away from loved ones.
  • Our swings are often bought to pass on traditional childhood memories to children or grand children.
  • Celebrate family sayings by engraving them on a bench, bread board or peg rail. Was there something your Grandmother always said to you as you left the house? Pass on the tradition by engraving it on something you use every day in your home.
  • Is there a quote you find particularly motivating? Be sure to include it somewhere you can see it all the time. Maybe on a shelf?
  • Do you want to change how you live? Our Family Technology Recharging Stations have enforced rules, made deeper connections and helped families find time to recharge in a traditional sense. A bench at a beautiful spot in the garden will encourage you to 'just sit' for a moment and may even make you spend more time in fresh air.
  • If you have memories of something from your past that you can not find anywhere, we can make something truly bespoke for you.

Surrounding yourself with sustainably created pieces made to last for generations says a lot about who you want to be and how you see your role in the world. With the longevity of The Oak & Rope Company pieces chances are you will not only make an impact in your own home today, but also in the homes of your children and grandchildren as these are passed down.

The pieces we make are part of my story, but they quickly become part of yours...
- Jeanette