A Tradition that Inspires

1460272_10151872631618143_1255876355_n_000Such a perfect way to spend an evening! I was encouraged by Makeløs/Remarkable stylist Kristin Elise Halkjelsvik, see bakketunet, to attend an evening with two small presentations by talented jewelry designer Siri Berrefjord of Fredenshavn and knitwear designer Thea Glimsdal Temte of HotNok/Hot Enough tailored clothing in colorful felt. Their topic was how tradition, folk costumes in particular, had inspired them to design the marvelous items they do. We were a small but dedicated group that had turned up at the Designerkollektivet/Designer Collective at Glasmagasinet in Oslo, accompanied by two fiddle players to transcend us into the right mood, we were seated among rails of discounted clothes by HotNok and discounted jewelry by Siri Berrefjord. The temptations proved too large for some, including my friend Kristin… After two talks both we were all filled with inspiration, and the need to create ourselves. While we chatted and studied all the offers, delicious home made cinnamon swirls, fruit, gingerbread cookies – Christmas is coming – chocolate and drinks were presented to us. The entrance fee ticket resulted in a magnificent draw with the possibility to win a pair of stunning earrings or a mixed bag of felted wool remnants. Two lucky winners went home even happier. I had to ask if Siri had considered making buttons, and to my delight she has already done so and would gladly special make some to order for me, all she needed was a yarn sample. At that point I lost my bearings and my head started spinning with ideas!


First out was Siri who talked about her changing career from a photographer of antiques to a jewelry designer inspired by the very same antiques she used to photograph but with a very modern and trendy touch cast in colorful plastic. Siri transforms the traditional brooches and earrings into playful everyday accessories taking them into the future. See above, photographed by Siri herself, for an example of her brilliance, none are identical to each other of the brooches, as she paints with the different layers of colors on top of each other. Not exactly knowing what the outcome will be, but willing to leave it to chance with a strong gut feeling it will be magnificent. And of course she is right! You will find her jewelry for sale at Designerkollektivet and at her Norwegian online shop here: epla.no or contact her by e-mail: siri@fredenshavn.no.

DSCN1391Then Thea Glimsdal Temte continued and showed us photographs of folk costumes, and talked about how they have inspired her. She is a tailor by trade who has become more relaxed in her approach to design than her education allowed her to be. Felted wool in bright colors is her material, with a good cut, and small playful finishing details like a seam in a contrast color or an edging in a contrast material, see photo above from the Designer Kollektivet. Thea has specialist knowledge on historic textiles used in folk costumes, and is often contacted by the Norsk Folkemuseum/Norwegian Folk Museum who needs her expertise in fabric restoration. In addition to her collections, for sale at Designer Kollektivet and Norwegian online shop: miinto.no or contact: thea@hotnok.no, Thea custom makes dresses. One woman had seen her Huldra Dress – after the seductive forest creature in Scandinavian Folklore with a long tail, see wikipedia – a long cream coloured long A-line dress with buttons at the front and a tail, and wanted one. The customer did not want Thea to make her a new one, but was happy with the photographed one, since she wanted to use it the very next day for ice-skating so bought the very dress with that purpose in mind. Fairytales do come alive in all senses of the word.


Accessories – the small touches of joy!

I have been reading Hadley Freeman, fashion journalist in The Guardian, and had to laugh when she asks “how many accessories is too many accessories? When you rattle? When you have no spare hands and you haven´t left the house yet?” I do have amazing jewelry from Monies (if you didn’t know, see here: monies-jewellry) that rattle hence I do not wear it often enough, but looking at fashion icon Iris Apfel I know I should! Due to the relative cool spring we are having here in Oslo, I am still wearing cowls and will continue to design those until I tire of wearing them. The key, says Hadley Freeman of the guardian, is to have fun and enjoy the small touches of joy, accessories truly are and to wear them in a way that is comfortable for you.

The American businesswoman and Interior Decorator, Iris Apfel’s bold choice of jewelry, magnetic bright colors in her fashionable clothing and distinctive glasses makes her one of a kind. Well into her eighties she is an icon, going where others would not dare to go. I have been drooling over the magnificent photos of equally stunning clothing and jewelry in the book, based on the exhibition of Iris Apfel’s fashion collection, by Eric Boman: Rare Bird of Fashion, The Irreverent Iris Apfel, published by Thames & Hudson. Harold Koda, Curator of The Costume Institute, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York describe her so well in his introduction: “Even in the flock of New York style setters, she stands apart as a rare bird. Mrs. Apfel, who has the gift of an “eye” that can ferret out treasures from a morass of flea-market junk and mark-down racks, is endowed with the yet rarer ability to collage objects of autonomously assertive beauty into compositions of a larger, unified whole. Her joy of the hunt has resulted in a collection of astonishing beauty, but it is in the incorporation of her treasures into her daily life that they take on a fuller conceptual richness.” The book is available at amazon and in Norway at tanum.

I find the photos a true inspiration, the colour and jewelry combinations pure bliss. When creating my own book I had a vision that I wanted a similar bold, lavish and generous layout in my book. I did tell my editor about my visions, and she gently brought me down to earth. At least I believe I managed to capture inspiration and I have been told that I have made people who don’ knit take up their knitting needles. And that makes me proud as well as humble! I will continue to design garments with accessories, because I believe those small (read: at times rather large accessory projects like the cowl above photographed by Kim Müller) makes a difference to the look of the garment itself, adding another layer of joy!