Artist Tekla Utterström with her gallery in the trees in the forests of Sweden
Tekla Utterström is a prolific Visionary painter, a Musea Guild Member and a Color of Woman Teacher graduate who lives in Varna Sweden. The following article is from a virtual interview with her about her artistry, teaching, and experience with Intentional Creativity.
Tekla learned about the artwork of Shiloh Sophia and Intentional Creativity through her studies with Flora Bowley, a fellow Intuitive Painting artist and teacher. Tekla described the process of how she initially connected immediately with intuitive painting and the joyful style taught by Flora Bowley. However she began feeling a need toward an “inner calling of wanting to do more transformational healing work” so she began by taking some of Shiloh’s free online course offerings. Not long after, she enrolled in the Color Of Woman and graduated in 2019.
Tekla started teaching and leading women’s groups almost immediately after graduating and she identifies women and children as the people who she feels most drawn to work with. She began by guiding women’s groups informally with friends and then facilitating more formal workshops through an alternative living community known as Ängsbacka located in Värmland three hours from Stockholm . Ängsbacka is a course and festival center which Tekla began participating in over a decade ago. The community describes it’s lovely annual festivals as the following: “Each summer for the past twenty-five years we gathered on the land of Angsbacka for our themed festivals in an open, vibrant, heartfelt field of exploration. These potentially life changing gatherings are connecting us deeper to Life itself; as we meet ourselves and each other beyond thoughts and concepts.” The festival offers teachings on such topics as conscious parenting, Midsummer celebration, tantric yoga, the sacred womb, and much more. Having had the experience of being an avid member in this vibrant community and festival, often with as many as five hundred participants, it was a natural step for Tekla to begin teaching there.
One of her favorite workshop offerings is for children where she guides them through the process of painting their own “Magical Inner Filur-Being” which results in wonderfully heartwarming, endearing, and joyfully whimsical images.
Tekla actually began developing this work over fifteen years ago when she had been spending a lot of time with her dear friend and her friend’s son. After showing her friend one of her paintings, she exclaimed to Tekla that she had “captured her son’s inner magical essence.” Describing herself as having always been intuitive, Tekla felt that her paintings were actually depicting images of people’s magical inner beings after she would get a sense of their energy so she began offering paid workshops on teaching others, both adults and children, on how to do this for themselves. Tekla recounted that her COW certification, which includes Shiloh Sophia’s thirteen step painting process, provided a practical way to teach her students a step by step approach that she could apply to her own work. She also began incorporating elements of Intentional Creativity by asking students to write their intentions onto their paintings. Tekla notes that she feels as a collective group, culturally speaking, many people in her country tend to “be fearful of diving deep into spirit” which is one of the reasons she loves teaching at Ängsbacka as it draws group members who are more “open” to concepts such as intuition, self expression, and spirituality.
In sharing more about her personal background, Tekla recounts growing up in the Northern part of Sweden which she describes as having many beautiful open spaces. She remembers having a strong connection to nature at a young age and being influenced by a family “where all the women were very creative”. She says that her grandmother was her greatest “heroine” recalling how she always seemed very connected to her own “inner child” and how her house felt like “being in a magic open room.”
This theme of the Magical has clearly woven it’s way through Tekla’s work.
Tekla’s ability to devine images from others and to beautifully depict them onto canvas also seems to have intertwined into spontaneous intuitive collaborations with other artists and writers. Most recently, such a collaboration has led to a passion project she’s very happy about. While listening to her friend’s original poetry, she was beset with waves of images having to do with woodland fairies, sprites, and other magical beings. This has resulted in her making a series of paintings that will combine with her friend’s poetry for a very unique exhibit they will be offering together, hopefully by next fall. The exhibit itself sounds so lovely and magical it made me wish that I could travel to Sweden just to see it. For not only are they joining their imagery and words, they plan to hold the exhibit in an actual forest. Guests will be asked to wear headphones so that they will be able to listen to a recording of the poetry as they are directed through the woods to visit each painting. It is certainly sure to be a very original and welcomed twist on the usual guided Museum tour.
Tekla described another project where she created her own oracle card deck on the theme of “sisters”. She created forty-four beautiful images and, needing help with English translation, allowed herself to be “intuitively guided” to a writer, Ben Bushill, who felt that he could channel words for her to help translate their meanings. This let to the creation and publication of the Sacred Heart Sisters Oracle Deck. Tekla identifies the abilities to “trust” and “follow your intuition ” as the basis for these kinds of synchronistic co-creative artistic experiences.
During our time together, Tekla also wanted to share about an experience that has been very influential to her art process which was a trip she took to Peru where she had been invited to a women’s weeklong spiritual conference as a guest artist. The theme was Thirteen Grandmothers from Around the World each one leading a sacred ceremony throughout the week that related to the elements such as fire, water, earth, and even feathers to represent the air . They gathered in a location known as the Sacred Valley and journeyed together with the celebrations culminating in a ritual where each of the 550 women gathered their elements from their sacred places to combine each category of elements (earth, feathers, and water) to be mixed together and then reshared with one another. Ashes from the ceremonial fire were also shared so that all participants ended up returning home with sacred elemental symbols from around the world. This experience was so meaningful for Tekla that ever since she has included a drop of the water into each one of her paintings imbuing them with the energy of sacred ritual which is also a primary tenet of intentional creativity.
When I asked Tekla if she had anything else she would like readers to know about herself, she was kind enough to share a personal and very meaningful encounter that she had some time ago with an energy healer who told her that she “wasn’t really human,” and that he “wondered what would happen when she let her magical nature fully come through.” When I commented that it seems as if a great deal of her work has been helping others to connect with and let their own magical natures come through, she responded that “yes I guess it has. We are all magical after all.”
Tekla is in the process of bringing her teachings online ( hopefully sooner rather than later, as I shared with her, since I want to be one of the first to sign up) and in the meantime she requests that the the best way to follow her work is through Instagram:
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Jessica holds an M.A. in Counseling Psychology with a specialization in Expressive Arts Therapy. She is an Intentional Creativity Teacher and Coach, and is a member of the Musea Co-Curators Discovery Team as the magazine Lead.
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