Someone asked yesterday about some of the handmade furniture they saw where I’m staying. It was made for Andrzej and Malgorzata by Jerzy Kenar, a Polish sculptor who lived in Sweden when they did. Coincidentally, Kenar now lives in Chicago and produces highly-regarded sculpture rather than furniture; you can see some of his work here. Here’s Kenar’s biography from Wikipedia:
Born on January 19, 1948 in the town of Iwonicz-Zdrój, he left Poland permanently in 1973 for Sweden. In 1979, he emigrated to the United States, where he opened the Wooden Gallery in Chicago in 1980. The gallery is currently a cultural hub for Chicago’s Polonia, hosting many exhibits, shows and meetings with many famous figures. His career soared in the mid-1990s with his commissions to decorate Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which houses a number of his pieces, and the city’s Harold Washington Library. He has done work for a number of churches in the Chicago area, such as the interior design for St. Constance in Jefferson Park, wooden artwork for St. Kevin in South Deering, as well as the Millennium Doors for one of Chicago’s ‘Polish Cathedrals’, Holy Trinity Church. He is also a generous patron of Chicago’s art scene.
Here’s the bed in the master bedroom.
And here is a picture of Pia, Hili’s predecessor, on the bed roughly a decade ago. She was described in this photo as “looking like a cranky loaf of bread.”
Here is the dining table in what was my room. I have now moved out of my room to make space for another visitor, and have been installed in spacious digs upstairs. There I will get to commune with Hili’s bête noire—literally—the black tomcat Fitness.
A detail of the table:
Lunch this afternoon: assorted sausages and salads, as well as a special Polish smoked cheese, krolenski wedzony (literally, “smoked royal”), the cheese with the holes in it.
After her own noms, Hili mounted the coffee, tea and sugar canisters, a favorite perch since she was a kitten:
This morning the Queen crawled onto me and fell asleep on her back before I had a chance to brush my hair. Of course it’s a sin to disturb a sleeping cat, so, being unable to cut off my sleeve like Mohammad did with Muezza, Hili and I remained in that position.
(The one good thing about Islam is that it’s the only religion I know of whose prophet reputedly loved cats—and had one.)
Dinner was a scrumptious wild-and-domestic Polish/Swedish mushroom-and-leek soup made by Malgorzata. It was thick with fungus: the best mushroom soup I’ve ever had:
There are surprises in store involving Hili as editor, but I’ll leave those for another day.