‘Klods Hans’, my grandmother’s arts and crafts store for 30 years


My grandmother started her own boutique in 1946, right after the second world war. Her store was right next to Hans Christian Andersen’s house in the city of Odense in Denmark. She sold arts and crafts, like hand-made dolls dressed in regional folk costumes, knitted sweaters, paper cut-outs, mobiles, Hans Christian Andersen fairy tales, and the Danish Christmas figure: Nisse, lots of them on the second floor of her store, which became her Jule Loft (Christmas Attic).

She was a savvy business woman and catered to the many visitors coming to Hans Christian Andersen’s museum, and she hired me for three summers while I finished my secondary schooling. There I met many Americans, visiting. Now, I work with visitors in America (Calistoga, California), and many are from Europe and also, Denmark. This is how the world turns.

I was spoon fed with hans Christian Andersen and his fairy tales, and I studied him and many other literary giants from Scandinavia at Cal Berkeley and UW. In my art, I am inspired by Hans Christian Andersen. I am giving back to my grandmother as I write about her.

About Elizabeth Stokkebye

Spent childhood and youth in Denmark. Lived and worked forty years in the US. Now, living my senior years in Denmark. Always the artist.
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