Janne Robberstad

Welcome to my site! I work as a costume-designer and an artist, and creating, or ARTING as I prefer, makes me happy! This is both a portfolio of things I´ve made and a blog meant to inspire.

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The big costume-sale

By spotogspindel | August 27, 2016

From quarks to costumes. The Norwegian National Opera in Oslo had a costume sale today. A rare event – the last one I went to was 15 years ago, thought I think I might have missed one in the middle there. A great event – this is top-notch sustainability. High-quality, beautifully crafted costumes sold to be reused by amateur theatre-groups who otherwise could never afford these type of costumes. And a lot of private buyers too, looking for that extra-ordinary outfit for a carnival or Halloween. All the costumes now get a new life!


The house itself is stunning, designed by Snøhetta Architects. It is all in white marble and glass on the outside and birch on the inside, resembling a floating ice-berg, as it slopes into the fjord.


I knew it was going to be popular, so I came early, and was one of the first hundred lucky souls to get in. So much to choose from!


My main task was to find costumes I could use for Peter Pan in January, and I think I found some 🙂 Including some incredibly cool boots for the pirates!


After I hauled it all back to the hotel, I went fabric-shopping. Wool, silks and linen. Whenever I go into a fabric-shop, I always become so inspired – I want to start sewing straight away.

Lucky me, got to have lunch with two of my former students, who both are/have worked at the costume-department at the Opera. Three other former students of mine also work/have worked there, and I am so incredibly proud of them! They are super-talented tailors/pattern-makers/hat-makers!

Topics: backstage | 1 Comment »

WASO/GSO workshop with real scientists!

By spotogspindel | August 25, 2016

This week there is a Global Hands On Universe/ Gallileo Teacher Training Program- conference at Stord Haugesund University College. 45 astro-physisits and particle-physisits, other scientists and educators from 5 continents gathered in Stord. It´s been an amazing week! Long, inspiring days has left no time  left to write anything on the blog. But tonight I just had to post some photos!


I was part of the team conducting a 4-hour workshop in how to “Write-a-Science-Opera (WASO)”! Operas usually last for four hours, now we have to make one in the same amount of time! Well, of course we didn´t make a 4-hour opera, it lasted maybe only 4 minutes. But the four hours were a practical introduction to the methodology of the WASO/GSO (Global Science Opera)


Kirsti, the never-resting drama-instructor lead the way, with musical Frode and me pitching in. We chose the theme for the opera from last nights news: the discovery of a new exoplanet in our next-door solar-system, only 4, 23 lightyears away: Proxima Centuri b.


We tried to do as much of a democratic process time would allow us, but in order to actually make something, I had prepared the materials for the participants to use. My three groups were divided into set-design, costume-design and lighting-design. In the end, we only had 35 minutes to actually work practically with this part of the process. But everyone was super-motivated, and the level of creativity was really high!


The set-group constructed a landscape-environment on the surface of the planet, made with bamboo-sticks and paper-tape. The light-group worked together with them, very low-fi, using overhead-projectors, colored filters and water. The costume-group experimented with draping, twisting, folding fabrics. Two of the costumes even changed during the show. One of them illustrating a seed appearing from the black soil. Another one illustrating solar-flares! Amazing! I am so proud of them!


The other groups managed to make both lyrics and melody for a song, and three different musical backgrounds. I am truly amazed at whet these people achieved in 35 minutes!


We were pretty tired after a long day, but good company at dinner afterwards restore the energy. Here with some of my new friends from Japan, USA, Austria and China. Again, I can only say I am honored to be in the presence of these brilliant minds and kind souls!

Topics: sustainable, teaching, workshops | No Comments »

Particle-physics exhibition!

By spotogspindel | August 20, 2016

School doesn´t really start until Tuesday, but today I had a very exciting and interesting day, volunteering to help put up an exhibition. All next week there will be a science-conference at the college, and the old auditorium is the place to be! Last night an Austrian artist/particle physicist(/ski-instructor) came to Stord and today´s task was to make the old room come alive with particle-art!


The chaos in the beginning…


Meet Michael Hoch, scientist and artist, working at Cern. Cern as in the-large-hydron-collider-Cern! He works in the ARTcms department with the wonderful motto: Art of science, Beauty in creation.


He has some very interesting pieces of art with him. Large photo-collages of the LHC up-close (which is impossible, and therefor put together from hundreds of smaller photos). He´s played around with these images, and made some intriguing artwork. I find it truly fascinating how one can make a purely technical motif look so serene, calm and meditative, almost like a Buddist mandala or even a flower. The more I looked at the images around me today, the more and more I liked them!


To know that this kaleidoscope is real, that it is 17 meters tall, and that 40 million proton-collisions pass through here (-ish) a second. See, it ´s unfathomable! As in difficult for me to wrap my head around that last part. How mankind can invent an instrument that is able to measure something so small and so quick…


… wow… it is a completely different world than the one I´m living in, that´s for sure. But so very interesting! Even thought I hardly understand anything about quarks and bosons, I find it very fascinating. We´ve certainly had an educational lunch and dinner today!


These are just a very few of the images/artworks he brought with him, there are a lot more on this link.


Topics: Diverse, inspiration, teaching | No Comments »

Starting to gear up

By spotogspindel | August 20, 2016

All of a sudden (it seems) summer is ending. It´s time to gear up! The past weeks I´ve started studying again (trying to catch up on some reading), I´ve worked with the fall´s workshops, designing and sewing costumes. I´ve been interviewed by the local newspaper about my up-coming trip to Japan in October. And I´ve made little walks in the garden, picking just enough wild raspberries to make a little jar of jam 🙂 Actually it´s going to be good to get started for real!



Topics: Diverse | No Comments »

Nature boy fabric

By spotogspindel | August 8, 2016

I would like Peter Pan´s costume to reflect his attachment to nature. In the original story, the author writes how each of the lost boys live in a tree, especially adapted to them. And if they couldn´t find a tree that fit, the boy had to change his shape to fit! Peter Pan is often portrayed in a green costume, which I like, especially since the set is green, and it makes it easy to hide him in the set. However, being the maximalist I am, I didn´t want the fabric to be just ordinary straight-forward green. I want it to look like he´s dressed himself in the floor of the forest. If that makes sense. A leaves-carpeted floor of the forrest.


So that is what I am working on now. I´ve already cut the pieces of the pattern in an elastic cotton chenille. And I am appliquéing leaves and pieces of other green fabric onto the bottom chenille. I ordered a bag of “silk” leaves from China on eBay, and am sewing them down. Later I will add pieces from a fake ivy plant, but since they have plastic parts, I´ll save them for last. It is also important to remember that the original elasticity of the chenille will decrease with the applications, so I might need to add extra width to the pattern.

Topics: Costumedesign, textile | No Comments »

Seascape for Gina Krog

By spotogspindel | August 8, 2016


Apply Leirvik is the shipyard building a big sleeping-quarters platform, due for delivery now in August. I am so honored to be the chosen artist to make their gift from the shipyard to the owner now at the handover. We chose this seascape-motif from Hiskjo in Bømlo. I think it is an important part of the history of the rig, it has been built here in Sunnhordland, and it now has a little memory from the place (nearby) where it was built.


A little help from the printers hanging the picture safely.


The picture is a digital collage, made from several photos and paintings, and it is printed on aluminum and is 90x240cm long. It is now decorating the coffee-bar onboard. The furniture is in purple and light gray. The green hues in the picture compliment these colors, and calms the atmosphere.


From the official delivery of the platform!


Topics: Art | No Comments »

a pirate´s kilt

By spotogspindel | August 5, 2016

Today´s production is a woolen kilt for Mr Smee (Captain Hook´s right hand… no pun intended) It´s ready sewn, but will need some distressing to make it look like he´s been in a fight or two. Distressing in this case is actually quite a job. The fabric is high-quality wool, twill-woven, from Scotland. The actual wool fabric used in real kilts. Which means it is incredibly difficult to wear it down! This fabric is made to last for generations.


I´ve cheated a bit since it´s for theatre, adding velcro for quick on-and-off change. But when I was done, I checked Google (which I should have done from the start) and found some excellent illustrations if you want to have a go at making your own.

MakingKilt1 MakingKilt3

Here´s another kilt I made for myself some years ago. Not authentic kilt-fabric, but it is wool. A boucle yarn. And incredibly warm and comfortable. I love wearing this in the fall. I made the little sporran as well. Made it from black leather and a bit of seal-fur. And adding a button in the front. The white fur pieces are probably goat-fur, I can´t remember. It is so practical. Just enough room for that you need. Money, phone, keys and lipstick.


Topics: Costumedesign | 1 Comment »

leather neckpiece

By spotogspindel | August 4, 2016

One of the pirates will have a leather neck-piece. I don´t know what else to call it. A collar? A necklace? A very short poncho?? 🙂 Inspired by a something I found on Pinterest and Sleeping Beauty´s evil step-mother, I sat down with paper, pencil, measuring tape and an eraser. I really like making patterns, figuring out how to turn 2-dimentions into 3-dimentions.



Since I was going to make the real thing in leather, I wanted to try it out first, to see if my calculations were right. It´s so practical to have a taylor-bust! Try things on for size, and push pins into the body to keep the fabric in place 😉 Mind you thought, it´s actually a bit frustrating that I can only ALMOST finish these things. Until I´ve tried them on and made adjustments, I won´t finish them. No need to undo work already done, so better to not finish it, and only do the job once.


Anyway. I want to make a lining for the leather. Both because it has excessive dye in it, and also to make the finished piece sturdier.


My choice was a cotton fabric with fake suede on one side. It is quite sturdy, and cut on the bias, it becomes just enough elastic to work together with the real leather. So now it´s almost done. It needs fastening in the back and a finished top neck-line. Also I am all of a sudden a bit unsure about the openings. I really like them, – they make it look more like a necklace or even like the sceleton of an armor… But I like the solid one too… hm… help? Anyone? What do you think?


A word of warning: although working with leather is great, basically, after a while I seemed to have a problem with my sewing machine. When sewing zig-zag, joining two pieces, the machine “cheated” in it´s stitching, and there were big gaps where the thread only fastened on one side. So instead of a zig-zag, there was just a normal straight seam. I don´t know for sure what the problem is, but after going over my machine, checking everything else, I suspect that some of the tiny fleece from the suede-side of the leather has gotten stuck in the machinery down in the lower part of the machine. It mixes very well with oil unfortunately, so I´m going to have a serious cleansing of my machine.

Another half-done-project is this utility-belt. It doens´t look too good on the bust, it´s too big for it. It looks much better in person. Even though it will be very fitting to the actor, it is comfortably elastic naturally. This piece is also lined with bias-cut cotton-fake-suede. And I´ve added lots of little do-dads so she can fasten all her weapons.


Topics: Costumedesign | No Comments »

leather armor top, part 1

By spotogspindel | August 2, 2016

Peter Pan meets lots of pirate in Neverland. One of them is Smee, Captain Hook´s boatswain. Smee is a scary, fighting pirate, and he needs a flexible armor for protection. (Good thing I went leather-shopping yesterday!) I made a pattern for an armor to cover part of his chest and stomach and cut two pieces in leather.


Keeping the two layers together with paper-clips instead of needles, makes it a lot easier. I cut the layers into strips, one going horizontal, the other vertical. I left about 1/2 an inch along the top on one and on  the side on the other. Then I started to weave the two pieces together.


It took some time, but the result is quite good so far. Still elastic, but much more stable. When I was done, I made a double seam along the edges, to keep everything in place. Next in line is to attach the straps to fasten it. I might need an actual body to try it on when I´m doing that, to make sure the straps will be angled right.


What do you think? Promising, ey? I´m liking the texture that appeared, it makes it look so much more solid than if it was just one, plain layer.

Topics: Costumedesign | No Comments »

the frog-leather vest

By spotogspindel | August 1, 2016

I got a big package filled with silk leaves in the mail today. Which means I could finish the vest for Peter Pan´s costume. More or less. It´s always a bit scary finishing a piece of clothing, not having been able to try it on the wearer. So let´s say it´s more or less finished.


It´s sewn on a linen base, with chiffon and real frog-skins appliquéd onto it. And of course the leaves. I might add some more leaves, but I want to wait until the rest of the costume is done, so I can make a complete look.


I also drove to Norway´s only tannery today, to get leather for some of the other bits and pieces of costumes. It´s been long since I´ve worked with real leather, so I am looking forward to it. I even got leather-paint!

Topics: Costumedesign | 1 Comment »

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