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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40 things to do before I turn 42

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Tatting, of all things!

By spotogspindel | April 21, 2014

One of my late great-aunts made the most beautiful tatted table-cloths. I´ve always admired the delicate lacework. But I´ve never tried it, and she died long before I was big enough to learn it from her. Neither have I ever seen anyone do it. But like all textile-techniques, I´m interested in learning it, at least the basic skill.


So when writing a paper about the pros and cons of teaching-methods – traditional one-to-one versus modern Youtube-video-workshops, I decided that it was time to try it out. Up until now, I´ve never tried to learn any textile techniques via the web, and tatting was perfect, since I had absolutely no references to it whatsoever.


When googleing “tatting how to”, over 127 000 video-inks pop up! That´s pretty much for a craft about to die in Norway. But I understand it´s a growing interest for tatting in the US. Anyway. I found a good beginners-course from www.tattedtreasures.com on YouTube. In about 90 minutes I completed the first 8 lessons, and learned the basics.


First, the principle double-knot. Then making a circle, or ring. Then making a picot in the ring, like above. (Mine are a bit small though.)


Then a row of rings, hooked together. And finally a combination of the picot-ring with a picot-chain with another picot-ring. When I continue this last combination, I can make a lace by the yard. Maybe I should do just that, to practice. After the 90 minutes, I can actually DO it, but I´m not doing it well, and it does´t look at all fluent, like the video-lady does it. But I will practice, and I will get better. And I will try to actually make something. Something small, like an earring or so. Once I get the hang of it, I want to try out different types of thread. The one I´ve used here, I think might actually come from my great-aunt Margit!


I´m interested in feedback from you: how do you prefer to be taught new techniques? With a live teacher, showing and guiding you? Or with a video-teacher, that you can pause and rewind as many times as you like? How do you learn the best?

Topics: textile | 1 Comment »

Baby sweater

By spotogspindel | April 17, 2014

Tomorrow we are visiting our little baby bay grand-child, and I wanted to bring him a little something I made.


This sweater is knitted in the softest alpaca-yarn on thick needles. I swear it only took about 4 hours to knit! Then another hour putting it together, making the the stamp and printing on it.


Hopefully the parents will like it too. Lavender is his mother´s favorite color, and his father loves stags (he´s into hunting)


I find that not a lot of people do this combination, stamping a pattern onto what they´ve knitted. If there is a pattern, it´s knitted into the the knit itself. But printing onto a knit gives quite a different effect. And maybe, since you hardly see it on homemade stuff anyway, that´s why I like it!

Topics: textile | No Comments »

Tales of the strange & unusual: sea silk

By spotogspindel | April 16, 2014

Reading for the Textile culture-class, I came across something I´ve never heard of before: sea silk.

Sea silk is an extremely fine, rare, and valuable fabric that is made from the long silky filaments orbyssus secreted by a gland in the foot of pen shells (in particular Pinna nobilis). The byssus is used by the clam to attach itself to the sea bed.

Sea silk was produced in the Mediterranean region from the large marine bivalve mollusc Pinna nobilisuntil early in the 20th century. The shell, which is sometimes almost a metre long, adheres itself to rocks with a tuft of very strong thin fibres, pointed end down, in the intertidal zone. These byssus or filaments (which can be up to 6 cm long) are spun and, when treated with lemon juice, turn a golden colour, which never fades[citation needed].

The cloth produced from these filaments can be woven even finer than silk, and is extremely light and warm; however, it attracts clothes moths, the larvae of which will eat it. It was said that a pair of women’s gloves could fit into half a walnut shell and a pair of stockings in a snuffbox.


Thank you, wikipedia!


Topics: Diverse | 1 Comment »

Elisabeth´s book

By spotogspindel | April 14, 2014


Elisabeth is ny now 2 months old niece, and Sunday is her christening. Like for all my other nieces and nephews, I am making her a “Welcome-to-life!”-book. Everyone in the immediate family contributes in filling it with wishes and thoughts.


The cover is a freestyle machine-embroidered appliquéd girly-girl sewn onto leather. Hopefully it will be both strong and sturdy and can take years of reading. The face is partly sewn, partly painted on with textile markers.


So now that I´ve made the book itself, it´s just all the writing left :-). Everyone gets a page with a photo and a little presentation.

Topics: book-boinding | 1 Comment »

The lighthouse girl

By spotogspindel | April 13, 2014


My new passport-purse. Using it as a warming-up exercise for two new “Welcome-to-life!”-books. As a background I´m using a printed textile with a motif of Lindesnes lighthouse. That is, a print of a picture I made of the lighthouse. There were some left-over scrap fabric when the pillows were cut, and instead of just throwing away the fabric, I thought I might use some of it as a background. Not sure how I feel about the result thought, it feels like the background and the appliqué are fighting against each other, instead of working together.

Topics: textile | No Comments »

Cancun beach dream

By spotogspindel | April 12, 2014


A mini-planet picture. This one is from Cancun, Mexico. It´s a nice little planet, isn´t it? Even though it´s after dark, there´s still a lot of warmth, just like it was that night.

Just back from Svalbard, it´s time to start make plans for the next trip. :-)

Topics: Diverse | No Comments »

Make more waves

By spotogspindel | April 11, 2014


A commissioned picture finally ready for it´s new family!

Topics: Art | No Comments »

Bah, bah, little lamb…

By spotogspindel | April 10, 2014

My favorite little guy and I visited the neighbors today. They have a big farm with lots of sheep. 60 lambs are already here, and another 200 are expected in the next few weeks.


Anyway. My little guy was more than a little cute when we asked him if he wanted to pet the lambs, and he started clapping his hands. “Å klappa” means both to stroke or to pet and to clap ones hands in Norwegian. He only knows one meaning yet… 


They have three different kinds of sheep here, one of them an old Norwegian type called Spelsau. The quality is sublime, but since it is naturally colored in different treys and browns, it´s hard to sell, as wool-companies usually what the white wool. Simply because it´s what you need to dye it.


And speaking of wool.

I´ve been reading this book the past week, and it is such an inspirational book about wool! I know that sounds a bit geeky, but it really is! I´ve learned a lot of new stuff. I was a pure wool fan before, but now I am truly dedicated to this wonderful material!


“Ren Ull” (Pure wool) is written by Ingunn Grimstad Klepp and Tone Skårdal Tobiasson

Topics: Diverse, textile | 2 Comments »

Svalbard seed vault

By spotogspindel | April 8, 2014

The Svalbard Global Seed Vault (Norwegian: Svalbard globale frøhvelv) is a secure seedbank on the Norwegian island of Spitsbergen near Longyearbyen in the remote Arctic Svalbard archipelago, about 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) from the North Pole. Conservationist Cary Fowler, in association with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), started the vault to preserve a wide variety of plant seeds that are duplicate samples, or “spare” copies, of seeds held in gene banks worldwide. The seed vault is an attempt to insure against the loss of seeds in other genebanks during large-scale regional or global crises. The seed vault is managed under terms spelled out in a tripartite agreement between the Norwegian government, the Global Crop Diversity Trust (GCDT) and the Nordic Genetic Resource Center (NordGen).


The Norwegian government entirely funded the vault’s approximately NOK 45 million (US$9 million) construction. Storing seeds in the vault is free to end users, with Norway and the Global Crop Diversity Trust paying for operational costs. Primary funding for the Trust comes from such organisations as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and from various governments worldwide.


Topics: Diverse | 1 Comment »

Svalbard 3

By spotogspindel | April 7, 2014

Svalbard is a small society. Yet it´s like a whole little country. You can get just about anything here, it´s very self-sufficient. That is, almost everything is imported, mainly from Norway. 2500 people living here. The main work-places are the coal-mining industry, the university with students from all over the world, public services and sales, and tourism.


At first sight, I thought this was a funny sign to have outside the Fur & Leather-shop, and then I realized people actually carry weapons here because of polar-bears….


See?!? It really is almost the North pole!

There´s only one grocery-store, but it´s big and they have just about everything there. We got fresh strawberries and blueberries for dessert the other day… and they have the highest price on milk anywhere in the world. At $6 a liter (29,- NOK) or $24 a gallon. And still they sell it with $1 in direct loss pr liter! The shop is actually selling the milk for $6 when they have to buy it for $7! The reason for the expensive milk in the first place is the transport-costs. And the reason they sell it with loss, is a gesture they take upon themselves. It all balances out at the till, where the loss is balanced with the earnings on other goods. Milk is extra expensive, because it´s fresh and needs to be flown in. Dry goods can come by boat, which is cheaper. But all in all food is expensive here. And the salaries are the same as on the mainland. There is a very tempting financial attraction here though: The income-tax is only 15 %, half of what is usual.

Talking of public services. There are 3 small kindergartens here, one big school with 270 pupils,  a small hospital (with a stand-by helicopter for serious injuries that need to be treated on the mainland about an hour away with plane). What else? 3 hotels and several shops selling warm sporting-clothes. And that´s about it.



My brand new boots. These are a life-time investment.  In my childhood lots of my friends had shoes like this, but I never did. I haven´t seen them for 30 years or so, until today. Made from seal-fur with inlayed rain deer-skin soles, they are the warmest shoes EVER!!!!! (me happy!) Because the outside is seal, they are even quite water-resistant. Perfect!


Midnight blue.

Topics: Diverse, travel | 1 Comment »

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