The first task I was given as a student in my arts and crafts studies was to use paper to make a head creation. I immediately wanted to make an old-fashioned, traditional bridal crown from the area I grew up in. These are large crowns with beautiful, small details that were traditionally used by the bride in a peasant wedding. I chose to take inspiration from the crowns that originate from Hardanger, also the area my grandmother was born and still lives in, and where I grew up. I spent countless hours cutting, pasting, fighting against the paper to make it work the way I wanted. How the paper – the material I have worked with my whole life and which is so easily accessible and easy to obtain – should be so challenging to work with. I discovered the ways I could use paper besides just drawing and painting on it. After finishing the head piece, students had to take pictures with the head creation on, and choose an outfit that would fit. Naturally, I had my bunad (national dress) which also originates from Hardanger, sent to me so I could use it to complete the look. Even though the crown was white and light as a feather, and fragile as a wood chip, I felt so incredibly proud to be able to show my culture and my roots. Towards the end of the project we had to edit ourselves into the setting we wanted using digital editing software. I chose my background to be a meadow of apple trees in bloom in Hardanger. Finally, I edited the paper crown so that it got color and suddenly it felt almost real and natural. I had never thought that the paper would take me this far and make me feel all the emotions I did during the process and after seeing the results.
Although I worked with paper to represent one type of craft, I wanted to dig deeper into the world of traditional crafting seeing how it made me react and feel. As I mentioned to you during the meeting, I am interested in learning traditional crafts and techniques that mean a lot to others and their culture. The love and pride behind good old-fashioned craftsmanship is something that has always appealed to me. For example, last autumn I had the opportunity to weave a wool scarf and then dye the scarf with plant colors I found and made myself. Working so closely with the materials for so long, being so close to nature and using traditional methods of craftsmanship made me incredibly aware of the crafting culture. I began to discover how the scarf I had worn for so many years was woven, and how my grandmother’s woven pictures were like. I was impressed, proud and curious, but at the same time sad because this is important traditions I had overlooked and taken for granted all these years.