Trading With Schwarzkopfnonne

A few weeks ago, I was sifting through a wicker basket of delicate vintage collars in Myrona, one of my favourite thrift stores in Borås. Little did I know that one of the three I would take home with me would, a short time later, find itself on its way to Austria to make roots with artist Olesya Alexjewna Parfenyuk AKA Schwarzkopfnonne.

The 19-year-old student has been living in Austria for almost a decade. Originally from Kiev, Ukraine, her art is inspired into being by her fascination with the mysterious and the past, predominantly the Victorian Era.

Oleysa contacted me through Instagram about the possibility of a trade. One of my collars in my Etsy shop for one of her prints from her Etsy shop.

I’ve admired Olesya’s evocative, thought-provoking art from a distance for some time, so I couldn’t reply quick enough with something along the lines of OH MY WORD YES PLEASE THANK YOU WHAT A GREAT IDEA OF COURSE!

I’m so used to getting the same routine emails, and the same routine crap through the post  that getting the offer of a trade made  life immediately that much more exciting. I waited until I could sit down properly with a cup of tea and examine each print in her store meticulously before making my choice. I was torn between her Muse drawing inspired by Scout Paré-Phillips, and The Gale Of Winter photography print. After some hours of deliberating, my heart whispered The Gale Of Winter, print 2.  (It’s part of a larger series of photographs.)

It took barely 72 hours for the package to make it’s way from a small town in Upper Austria, to a small city in the south of Sweden.  The package was so beautifully put together, I almost didn’t have the heart to pull the bows out, move away the old book pages, the sweet hand written note (which has encouraged me to start writing joined up again…) and tiny duck feather, then take back the thin, delicate paper and the piece of white card that was between me and the print.

I also became fascinated with where these little pieces of goodwill had begun life…what book were the pages from? Which bird had the feather once warmed? What was the origin of the piece of paper with the hand written note on it? I languished in the mystery of it all…and still am languishing.


But when I did finally pull the print from the packaging, winter was in the room with me. The print was in immaculate condition and astonishingly sharp. I’ve been missing the snow since the last of it left a few weeks ago, and The Gale Of Winter will be framed and put on the wall where I work, as a reminder that the cold is never that far away. It was the perfect trade.


If you have some time to spare, I suggest you make tracks to Olesya’s Instagram where you’ll find a wealth of visual treasure. And if your wallet is looking plump, navigate your way to her Etsy store and make an investment in art that you’ll not regret.


*If you’re interested in doing a trade, check out my Etsy store. If you see something you like that you’d like to trade something for, get in touch!


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