Why a Site in English When I Am Swedish?

Photo: Anja Callius

You may wonder why I’ve made this site in English when I am Swedish and live and work (mostly) in Sweden?

I want to share with you how I reached that decision because it wasn’t easy.

As an entrepreneur for 24 years, my experience tells me that even though many Swedes are fluent in English, they still want to read a website, a newsletter, and social media posts in their native language. 

Knowing this, I couldn’t understand why all texts for my new website came to me in English? I tried to write in Swedish, but I always got stuck halfway through the text and threw it away.

It wasn’t until I showed the site to a couple of friends for feedback that I finally understood what was going on. 

All of them loved the site, but two out of three said they would have preferred to read my texts in Swedish. They love my writing, they said.

When trying to answer them, it suddenly became clear why the site (at least at this point) needed to be in English.

Here it is:

When I got the call to close down my coaching business and start painting, it suddenly became super important to clear out all old energy. 

I cleaned my house and my office. I threw and gave away tons of stuff. I decluttered, recycled, redecorated, and refurnished. I blew out my computer, throwing away documents, cleaning up and restructuring folders and systems, closing down accounts, changing passwords and programs. I changed routines, made new habits, and started anew, from scratch, with almost everything in my life. (The husband got to stay, though!)

Out with the old, in with the new!

Out with everything old, to make room for the new, that was on its way. That was the message I got. Loud and clear.

Of course, I knew that. Not until we release and let go of what we have finished, new energy and new opportunities can – and will – emerge.

So when I was to answer my friends about my decision to use English, I saw that the same underlying wisdom was in the works also here.

I understood that the need for change in energy also applied to:

  • The language of my business. From Swedish to English. 
  • The market I am inviting. From Swedes only to an international audience (paintings have no language!).
  • The final decision-maker. From the customer/others to me. What do I want, and how do I want to do it, regardless of what I believe others would like?
  • The way I express myself. From (often long) texts to art, images, the non-verbal language.
  • The use of my time. From sitting long hours at my computer writing newsletters and blog posts to spending most of my time in the studio, only occasionally visiting my desk to write a (short) post introducing a new painting. (Writing in English forces me to write shorter texts!)

Using English forces me to shift from “text production” to “art creation”.

At the same time, it invites a new audience to my work. 

Close up of painting by Carolina Gårdheim

The focus of this site is the ART.  

Not the texts. (This will be even more evident when the shop opens). 

If there is anything you don’t understand on this site, please contact us at art@gardheim.com! We both write and speak Swedish fluently. 

Thank you for being here.