Margaretha Lindwood

A Kurbits Coffin

Fika rests silently in her black card board coffin, still trying to ease the pressure from her neck. Gretha had made a beautiful lid for the coffin with paintings inspired of Swedish Kurbits.

Fika and her lifestory on display, during the Easter exhibition for Runaway Explorers.
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FIKA is Back to her Creator

Oh my dear, the Swedish Post Agency lost the box with Fika in it. It was lost for a whole week! But today i got a small note from the postman - she had turned up miraculously. Fika is back home to her creator!
Is heaven in Harlösa?

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Back home to Sweden

Good news Kerstin!! Fika is on her way back home to Sweden and to you. I took her to the post office this morning and she should be there within two weeks. I have my fingers crossed for a speedy and safe trip across the ocean for her.
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FIKA, Short and Sweet

By Gretha Lindwood

Portland, Oregon, USA

Long-limbed with cream colored skin, exquisite forget-me-nots expertly tattooed across her face and upper body, and dressed to kill, Fika, for that is the name I gave her, came into my life one summer evening and captured my heart. That part was easy. The hard part would come later, when I had to kill her.

Her mother delivered Fika to my apartment and we exchanged knowing looks for it was all pre-arranged. She and I both knew this would be the last time she would see Fika alive. [1] I would be leaving Sweden in a few days and would take Fika with me to a new land where I would do my best would give her an exciting life, if only for a short while.

Fika explored her new surroundings eagerly [2] and, because she was dumber than a pile of dirty laundry, she made plenty of poor decisions. Lucky for her I was always nearby to help her out of a bad situation. At least until the fateful holiday weekend with my family, Fika’s new family. But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me go back and tell you the story of our first days together. [3] [4]



She had recently come out of the closet, trunk, or was it a rag pile in the basement—I’m not entirely sure—but she was transformed by Kerstin, her artist mother, from a handmade tablecloth into a beautiful doll. My assignment, if I chose to accept it, would be to help give new life to a lovely work of art made years ago by a long-forgotten seamstress. And then I was to destroy that new life and return the remains to Kerstin.

Fitting snugly into my luggage [5], Fika survived her first airplane ride and landed in Portland, Oregon, USA. The first few days back in Portland were a blur for me as I had not only to worry about her but an upcoming art exhibit, a camping trip, and dealing with a home remodeling project. Several times I found Fika in potentially dangerous situations as illustrated by these images. [6] [7] [8] [9]






At last we were on our way to our favorite camping spot at Mt. Adams [10]. One can see that Fika enjoyed climbing around inside our van [11] on our roadtrip and she especially liked sitting on the dashboard [12] where there was a good view of the countryside. She pretended she was a movie star in my sunglasses [13] and she learned to count the change [14] for the toll bridge over the mighty Columbia River [15].







I began to realize she didn’t have a brain in her pretty little head. Fika got very excited everytime she saw the golden arches [16] [17] [18] and cried when we wouldn’t take her there. She calmed down when we did go to Shari’s [19]. She wanted a high fat meal [20] but I said no. Then I noticed she changed her focus [21] and fixated on fire-related things…fireplace advertisements [22], matches, lit cigarettes, and was attracted to the big shiny fuel trucks she saw on the highway [23] .







  Fire danger high!!

It was as-if Fika was drawn to unhealthy or dangerous things. She was fascinated by the poster of poisonous mushrooms [24] as well as the notice for a prescribed burn in the berryfields we saw at the forestry office. She even tried to make friends with a black bear [25]! Many of her escapades and escapes were caught on camera [26] but not all. I was so busy watching out for her I didn’t always have my camera ready such as the time she nearly fell headfirst into the campfire and the time I caught her just before she jumped into the lake [27]. Somehow she survived her first few months in this country.





Thanksgiving is one of our biggest national holidays. My family was gathering for the day and I looked forward to introducing everyone to Fika. I explained how she came into my life and how I would need to kill her to complete the arrangement with her mother. Well, you can imagine the myriad of thrilling and creative ways that were discussed around the table plus off and on throughout the day [28]. I was glad for the innovative suggestions but still did not relish the idea of performing any of them as I had grown quite fond of the little airhead. She sat relaxed on top of the piano for much of the evening and as I felt no need to disturb her I left her there.


After a full day of familial conviviality, we all retired for the night. I slept well and late into the morning. Upon arising, I dressed and went out to greet the family. I made my way down the hallway and stepped into living room. To my utter horror, I saw before me a spectacle so dreadful as be unbelievable. There, attached to the chandelier in the entryway and dangling from a stout cord around her neck was Fika, deader than a doornail [29]. Once I got over the initial shock I quickly realized I had two options. I could remove the cord and pronounce her merely shaken by the incident but not critically injured or, take comfort in the fact that the execution of the dastardly deed had conveniently been removed from my hands and I could walk away with a clean conscience. I am not ashamed to say I took the easy road and pronounced Fika dead [30].



Some time later I noticed a conspiratorial wink between my mother and my sister which told me all I needed to know about the perpetrators of the midnight necktie party. Ahh, little Fika, I’ll forget-you-not.

The End

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Intrigued by the challenge of how to paint varied landscapes such as snow bedecked mountains, undulating fields of grass, high desert plateaus, clouds, and water in a convincing manner, I have chosen luscious oil paints on canvas or buttery soft pastels on sandpaper as my materials. By painting in the traditional plein air style and by using an impressionistic touch, my landscapes invite the viewer into the scene. These landscapes can bring to mind the smell of sage after a rain in the desert, the feel of soft mist from a foggy morning on your cheek, or the taste of a salty ocean breeze on your lips.
Crisp, refreshing, and vivid are words that have been used to describe my paintings. The use of vibrant color and strong design are hallmarks of my work which I developed during my career as an illustrator and graphic designer.  As a lifelong resident of the Pacific Northwest, I cherish our unique landscapes honed by water and time and delight in capturing their beauty in the lush colors of pastels or oils to share with the viewer.

Spring Song, pastel painting, 12"x18"

Day at the river, pastel painting, 9"x12"

On the Flyway, pastel painting, 9"x18"
See more of Grethas work at

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Earlier notes below...

A Letter of Concern

I'm glad you wrote. I've been meaning to ask you a question. Does the doll have to be destroyed in her "death" or can she be a beautiful corpse? I ask because my doll, Fika, was "killed" nearly two months ago but she was not destroyed in the process. She could be resurrected, or brought back to life, so to speak, but the "dastardly deed" was done by someone other than me and, as it was really difficult to have the nerve to do it myself, I was glad it was taken out of my hands. You see, I really think she is cute and kept finding reasons to keep her going, that is until she was "murdered."

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Newborn and Nostalgic

Gretha chose a blue and white tablecloth designed int the 1980-ies to look antique with many "Forget me not-flowers". On the photos she made friends with a Royal Copenhagen porcelain doll, also made to look "oldtimer". The little knitter have a delicate made face, and remember us that all little girls, and in some parts the boys, had to learn the tricky technique for little hands, to knit. Can you knit? Do you remember the sticky fingers?

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