Välkommen til Verkstad

Hjälmar Nyström in the verkstad, Piteå, Sweden, 1952

In the Swedish language, a verkstad is a workshop or laboratory. While in Sweden, I grew up in the company of my fabulous grandfather and wonderful uncles - inventors, designers, engineers and fabricators - who happened to also build world-class wooden boats.

They created amazing products in their verkstad, a place that doubled as an important center of community life. Neighbors dropped in, the coffee pot was never empty, and the exchange of ideas was always lively.

With this as our model, every place we’ve lived has also doubled as our studio. The rhythm of the everyday is welcomed, as it bastes itself in and out of our creative process.

På svenska betyder ordet "verkstad" arbetslokal eller laboratorium. I Sverige växte jag upp tillsammans med min fantastiska morfar och underbara morbröder: uppfinnare, formgivare, ingenjörer och hantverkare - som dessutom råkade tillverka träbåtar i världsklass.

De skapade häpnadsväckande produkter i sin verkstad, en plats som även fungerade som ett nav i samhället. Grannar tittade förbi, kaffepannan var aldrig tom och utbytandet av idéer var alltid livligt.

Med detta som förebild så har varje plats vi någonsin bott på också fungerat som vår verkstad. Vardagens rytm förenar sig med, och skiljer sig från, vår kreativa process.

-Monika Lidman

Monika Lidman

Monika Lidman is the product of a bi-cultural upbringing. While her youth was spent mostly in Colorado, her world view and artistic sensibilities were highly influenced by experiences with her people in Piteå, Sweden. She grew up among “makers” who were perpetually engaged in the world of ideas and the activity of creating.


Monika is primarily a photo-based interdisciplinary artist. Her art is direct and often aimed at a nerve. Coming as she does from a family full of great stories, she sees storytelling and “story hearing” as the connective tissue between individuals and their communities. She mines the tricky underside of life, paring it with cultural expectations and measuring the chasm between the two. This juncture becomes an index, where dialogue about our humanity can begin.

Less interested in how art can illustrate theory than how it can aptly serve as both a healing force and a shield against encroaching social isolation, Monika’s art is based on the belief that through the sharing of common stories we can begin to re-humanize the world. Her work seeks the place where an autobiographical theme can jump the fence and connect with others, becoming more about shared experience than about the self. Her stories are as painful as they are common to others. The themes of resilience, health, work, relationships, coping tools and loss are nothing new under the sun; life is full of bittersweet ironies and imperfections. She believes that art can act not only as a means of processing both world and life events, but as a catalyst for change and a vehicle for active listening and understanding.


John Kieltyka

John Kieltyka is a multi-disciplinary artist who specializes in painting, photography, digital imaging, collage and music. His works have been exhibited widely, and his debut album, Regular, received praise in several national publications.


Formerly a professor of Fine Art at the University of Florida, John now lives and works in Seattle, where he continues to create in whatever medium the idea demands…except ceramics; he never could get the hang of working with clay…