Sigridsminde is an organic flower farm and smallholding on the tiny Danish island, Ærø, run by photographer Camilla Jørvad and her husband Bjarne. Sigridsminde is at the centre of our desire to live a slow thoughtful life in harmony with nature and the changing seasons, and being as self-sufficient as possible.
For those who do not speak Danish, Sigridsminde means In memory of Sigrid. Sigrid was a kind hearted woman who adopted Bjarne's father when he was very young and came to be a very important person in his life. The family still clearly recalls how Sigrid used to walk around in the garden in the last few years of her life, with her head scarf and apron on, feeding the chickens while making her distinct chuck chuck sounds. It was always in the cards that Bjarne was meant to take over the farm house at some point and Camilla had always wanted to live in a place similar to where she grew up. The farm became a shared dream.
In the spring of 2014, some research in local archives revealed as expected that the farm did not have a name. So we found a carpenter who specialized in hand-cut wooden signs and had a little 'ceremony' where we named the house 'Sigridsminde' in honour of the woman who embodied many of the values we share: human connection, family, kindness, strength, home-cooking, self-sufficiency, and living seasonally. Every time we enter our driveway and see that wooden sign, it reminds us why we have chosen the life we have.
We feel that this big house and this amazing little spot on earth could be more than just a home for our family. And we have lots of ideas of how we can share the joys of living here with other people.
All photos of us by Maria Fynsk Norup
Camilla: For almost a decade, my work as a sought-after destination wedding photographer used to take me far and wide around the world, but now I try to stick closer to home, which is where I rest and re-charge. I share this seaside slice of heaven with my husband, Bjarne, our two kids, Ida & Emil, and a steadily growing number of animals.
In the fall of 2014 I was hit by a severe case of stress which turned into a 6 month long depression. I was simply 'done'. With the combination of the never-dealt-with emotional baggage of a confusing childhood and highly stressful youth (which you can read about here and here if you'd like), becoming a mother and caring for two small children, while starting and running my own business and completely neglecting my own physical and mental health, my body and mind gave up. I had the option to medicate my way out of depression or to handle it myself, by making dramatic changes in the way I treat myself, my work and my life in general including the people I love. I chose the latter, and haven't regretted it. For almost 6 months I didn't eat sugar or gluten, I went to bed much earlier each night, and I cancelled or said no to everything in my personal and social life and in my photography business which was not absolutely essential or necessary. As an ambitious people pleaser, learning to say no but thanks has been one of the toughest and most valuable learning experiences of my life.
Now I say no a lot. I work consciously with myself on a consistent basis to make sure I take care of my body's most basic needs, sleep, hydration, healthy and consistent meals, meditation, fresh air and frequent breaks. I don't try to remember anything in my head anymore, I write everything down. I've had to teach myself that it is okay to sometimes sit and stare and do nothing for a few minutes. Of course there are days when life just gets in the way, especially when you have small children, but then I stear myself back on the right course as quickly as possible. I am also highly aware of my mental patterns: of forgiving myself and giving others the benefit of the doubt when I feel that they have let me down, of showing and truly feeling kindness towards myself and others. And especially of living my life true to my core values and beliefs, of creating an everyday life in tune with the seasons and with room for both work and play: afternoon swims in the sea, long light summer nights and fresh strawberries; crashing waves, warm socks and cooking outside over open fire; searching for great finds at flea markets, gathering family and friends around a table for a homecooked meal.
I never want 'pretty', but I am always searching for beauty.
We look forward to your stay.