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Decorated milk shelf from Aunesgården

This decorated milk shelf from Aunesgården has a far-reaching history. The shelf itself, with its many moulds, highlights everyday objects and practical utensils. It also draws attention to a demanding artisanal food tradition that makes the most of limited resources, and the way life has been lived in the areas surrounding Övertorneå.

Aunesgården is Övertorneå’s local history museum, and consists of a farmhouse from 1820, a loftbod (two-story storage shed), a baker’s cabin, a barn, and an aitta (storage shed). The museum has a unique collection of wooden chests made in the Tornedalen style, and this milk shelf, which will be shown at Luleå konsthall during the Luleå Biennial. The shelf is lavishly decorated with buskmåleri, a painting style native to Tornedalen. It also holds a series of cheese moulds, which have also been extensively decorated, just like the shelf. These objects, which were once used for people’s everyday chores, demonstrate to us the artisanal expertise that was necessary for preserving foodstuffs before the introduction of the modern conveniences we have all come to take for granted. Today, this work and knowledge are becoming relevant once more, as we find ourselves needing to utilise the resources our planet provides more sustainably.