ALBIN HILLERVIK What is your experience of Wanås and the park? What were your first impressions of the place, was there anything in particular that captured your interest?
JENNY GRANLUND The first thing that caught my eye were the mole holes. They show up everywhere in the park, as if the moles are what connect the forest and the art, with their tunnels and their subterranean whatever-it-is-they’redoing-down-there activities.
JOHANNA KOLJONEN I was surprised by how wild and natural the nature at Wanås is allowed to be. I had imagined something more like an English park, a style I love, but where the art would feel more arranged. Here, you get the feeling that the art could have literally grown out of the place.
AH In what ways does Wanås show up in your children’s book?
JG Wanås is a constant presence in the pictures. My wish is for the pictures to be a walk through the park and the forest with everything present: art, trees, songbirds—everything.
AH Jenny, you draw pictures that weave together organic landscapes with architectural forms. The pictures often have titles that stand out. For me, there are associations with clichés and language. What is your relationship to words when you draw?
JG Powerful. A text or a word gives off a rhythm, a beat, a flourish, something with form. This form can either be the starting point for a thought that becomes woven into a picture, or it becomes the wrapper for the thought and the image. I enjoy collaboration, and word and image collaborate with each other to create something other.
AH After your first visit to Wanås together, Jenny started by drawing a map. What do maps signify for you?
JK It’s a convention for children’s books that describe a world, especially magical worlds, to begin with a map. When I was little there were posters of Moominvalley and Tolkien’s Middle-earth on the walls in my bedroom. The maps become like a manifestation of the story as a place.
AH How will the map work in the book?
JG It’s an overview, really, and makes it easier to get your bearings. It’s probably a deeply human trait to make maps, since I don’t think we have the same ability to read our environment as animals do. Maps are also appealing because of their perspective. People are generally earthbound. A map lends you a perspective usually reserved for God and the birds.
Interview by Albin Hillervik