On one particular summer vacation, I was traveling with my son from Berlin to Prague to Krakow. During that time, I re-discovered my bohemian roots. I began to understand the influence of the folkloric culture on my values, identity and preferences. As a child growing up in Canada, I was surrounded by whirling, twirling dancing women in ribbon skirts, loose blouses and brightly coloured embroidered vests. They were Slavic, Poles and Czech. The music was a strange fusion of polka, klezmer and jazz.
My son and I wanted to visit the homes of my maternal ancestors. We ended up not far from the Poland/Ukraine border the birthplace of my maternal grandmother. Her birth certificate showed only “Galicia” as her birthplace.
A few years later, we had an amazing trip through Bratislava, Slovenia to Dubrovnik and Split Croatia on the Adriatic Sea. The map below shows the general area of my maternal ancestors. My son now lives in Berlin so we can conveniently fly or drive around Central or Eastern Europe.
The popularized bohemian lifestyle started in Paris, France in the 19th century. Impoverished litterateurs, musicians and artists were inspired by the roving Romani (from Bohemia in Central Europe) who were and still are considered outsiders because of their unorthodox way of living. Dressed in loose and layered clothing in natural fibers, Romani (gypsies) expressed their folkloric customs and esoteric purpose. French revolutionists adapted the title and the sense of individualism and then created a more romanticized version of the bohemian culture.
Modern Bohemian Decor is a sensory throwback to the 1960’s/70’s for me. It allows for the perceived dissonance of lush ethnic fabrics, home-made arts, vibrant colours all combined with minimalist sensibilities. At the heart of it all – a burning desire for freedom and the courage for personal self-expression.
We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams,
Wandering by lone sea-breakers,
And sitting by desolate streams;—
World-losers and world-forsakers,
On whom the pale moon gleams:
Yet we are the movers and shakers
Of the world for ever, it seems.
~Arthur O’Shaughnessy, “Ode,” 1874