LINDSBORG – For artist Monica Schirmer Eshelman, Lindsborg holds a special place in her heart and she found inspiration in its festivals, celebrations, and welcoming people when designing the art that was selected for this year’s Hyllningsfest theme, Swedes@play.
The 2017 Svensk Hyllningsfest is scheduled for Oct. 13-14 in Lindsborg and will feature a variety of entertainment on six different stages for all ages, along with a grand parade, arts and crafts booths, and the traditional Smorgasbord. A schedule for all events, tickets and button sales can be found on the festival website at svenskhyllningsfest.org.
Eshelman, who now lives in Topeka, moved to Lindsborg in the 1990s with her family and lived there for 19 years. She quickly became involved in the Swedish culture of the community.
“We moved to Lindsborg in time for our son to dance the ‘Oxen Dance’ as an eighth grader at Hyllningsfest,” she said. “From that point on, I was hooked. I loved the authentic and/or homemade costumes, the flying braids of the little girls, the shoes flying from the little boys, and everyone’s enthusiasm.”
Her delight is evident in the artwork she created for the event. She works in ink, drawing freehand entirely and likes motion and movement in what she draws. Her style lends itself well to drawing subjects like women, fashion, and dance.
A primary interest in her art is women’s issues and the building up of girls and women, body image, strength, and power. Many times her ideas are expressed using humor.
“If I drew it,” she says about her art, “it has a female in it or perhaps a Dala horse. I sometimes have a chuckle at myself – and others – though. I am interested in people and their fancies and foibles.”
Relatively new to the art world, Eshelman debuted her art in 2015 at Hyllningsfest and plans to return this year with a booth in the arts and crafts area. Included in her offerings this year will be a series of a dozen drawings depicting Swedes@play that features the images used by the Hyllningsfest committee this year and others showing kubb (a Swedish lawn game), dancing, Dala horses, family generations, coffee time and other Lindsborg ways to play.
Her work is also available at Small World Gallery in Lindsborg where she sells notecards as well as some small prints and posters. Her “12 Days of Scandinavian Christmas” poster is still available as well as two collections she created for the Kansas Women Attorneys Association conference that takes place in Lindsborg each year. One of her Dala horse drawings was used by the Lindsborg Convention and Visitors Bureau during a tourism campaign.
Her work can also be seen on her company’s Facebook page, “Shygirl’s Mind by Monica Schirmer Eshelman.”
“I originally named my company ‘Shygirl’s Mind,’ because I was the shy child observing from the corner and not feeling very strong in myself. Through my art, I have opened myself up to others, but also allowed myself to feel powerful.”