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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I made the graphic design for this site:

new net

By spotogspindel | April 15, 2016

Finding the perfect shades to attract a mermaid…


Sewing them down, 4 cm apart, on the water-soluble fiber…


And sewing some more…


And some more…


Hopefully I´ll finish tomorrow, adding all the seams of gold on the net. Three seams for every piece of fabric, for over 3 meters. It´s taking it´s time. So I am very much looking forward to seeing how it turns out when I wash the algae-fiber away.

Topics: Diverse, textile | No Comments »


By spotogspindel | March 31, 2016

In a charity-shop I found an embroidered version of Jean-François Millet´s painting called The Gleaners (1857). It depicts three peasant women gleaning a field of stray grains of wheat after the harvest.


I wanted to use it for something special, and decided to use it for the Elizabethan corset I´ve had in my mind for the embroidery exhibition. In many ways this was the first idea, that sparked the whole exhibition. I was thinking about how embroidery was one of the very few activities women were allowed to do, besides the house-chores. In many ways you could argue that embroidery was also work, but the excess of it, the details, the esthetics, the abundance of it, exceeds the bare necessities. So I thought, in a way this was one of the few ways women actually could express themselves creatively: by embroidering. And then I thought, well, maybe for some women it was just that, a means of self-expression. But to other women, it might just as well have been a straight-jacket of an activity. If they hated embroidery, yet it was the only activity allowed… So I decided I needed to make a corset as a symbol for both sides of the story. The shape is restraining and uncomfortable. The mere esthetics of it, the will to make your surroundings cosy and decorated with a homely and decorative embroidery, as a symbol of the means of self-expression.


When I finally came across this motif of the Gleaners, I thought that it fitted perfectly into my theme: women doing the boring, tedious work, invisible both before and after, and therefore ungrateful. But necessary and economic and important. Just like women of all ages have taken the role of the invisible, yet responsible, domestic house- and home-keeper.


I managed to get half of the picture in front, and the other half in the back. Unfortunately it doesn´t fit any of my mannequins, so I´ll have to find one that shows off the shape better than this. But you can still see how the back-pieces match up pretty well, even though 2 cm disappeared in the seam-allowance.


I don´t know how many gleaners are left in this part of the world. But as I am reading more and more about ecology, I am also becoming aware of the necessity of showing moderation and appreciation of the gifts bestowed us by the earth. I think I might have to start gardening again. At least for some vegetables and herbs. I learned so many of these things when I was a child, but haven´t practiced it for years.


Work-in-progress: Lots of hand-seewing on the inside, my fingers were sore for days afterwards, working with this hard, layered cotton.


Topics: embroidery, embroidery redesign, redesign, textile | 2 Comments »

Anne´s picture

By spotogspindel | March 30, 2016


“Life will”, 70×140 cm 

A commissioned picture for a doctor´s office.

Topics: Art | 1 Comment »

Circles and squares

By spotogspindel | March 24, 2016

I just have to share with you the wonderful collages my niece and nephew made after yesterday´s photo-safari. One of the assignments were to choose a form and see how many versions they could find of it nearby. He choose circles, and she choose squares.


When we got back to the house, I taught them how to copy, paste, cut and scale, and they made these collages. They´re aged 10 and 12, had never ever touched Photoshop, and have had their cameras since Christmas. I think they´re pretty awesome. Both the pictures and the kids :-)


Topics: Diverse, teaching | 3 Comments »

redesigned embroidered corset

By spotogspindel | March 22, 2016

Today´s embroidery-project is making a redesigned embroidered corset. Or even better yet: up-cycled! I finally decided on which old embroidery to use (and found another that kind of matches for the side-parts)


It´s been a couple of years since I last made a corset and I can´t find my pattern, so I´m winging it (Yikes, I probably shouldn´t admit that!).


Re-drawing the pattern from an Elizabethan corset I made a decade ago, seeing where the boning is, and …well, just getting it done. I´m hoping it´s still “in my bones” after all these years, I did sew quite a bit of them for Les Miserables (albeit a different pattern).


I did take some time off with a couple of my favorite kids too, it is Easter after all. They got cameras for Christmas, and today we went on a photo-safari! I gave them different assignments, connected with shapes and color and texture, and we were really on a discovery-tour in one of my favorite ship-docks.


And treat of all treats: Ecoscenography posted on their website about my set-design for the Salmon Surveyor. So proud and so humble and so inspired to continue down that road of sustainable design! (click picture for link)


Topics: embroidery redesign | 1 Comment »

Everyday is workday.

By spotogspindel | March 21, 2016

As my 4-year-old nephew says: “I like work!”. He was especially excited when his uncle showed him how to use the pressure washer on my car… (I admit I was slightly less excited)


And Axel spent the entire day fixing our sofa. It´s an old one, probably from the 1920s, and the springs had gone, or rather, what holds the springs in place. I´ve been meaning to fix it for a year now, but have never gotten around to it. But after showing Axel what and how to do it, it fix it, and now it feels brand new!


The Norwegian tradition for Easter of course, is going skiing in the mountains. I´m not used to this, so I don´t really think much about it. But this year we actually visited a couple of friends with a cabins up in Røldal and had such a wonderful time!


Our morning view.

And what else? I´m embroidering! This exhibition isn´t making itself 😉

Topics: Diverse | 2 Comments »


By spotogspindel | March 19, 2016

It´s a bit late for Mother´s day, but here it is anyway:


“Mothers can do everything, they know everything – and they´re always right”, guerrilla-embroidered old cloth from second-hand shop. Ca 25×28 cm.

The Easter-holiday is upon us (I think Norway has the longest Easter-holiday in the world – 2 weeks!) and my main focus theses weeks is finishing up projects for the exhibition. There is still so much to do! My goal is to finish one project a day. We´ll see if I can keep it up. Do any of you have any guerrilla-textiles?

Topics: embroidery redesign, textile | No Comments »

Yayoi Kusama

By spotogspindel | March 18, 2016

Henie Onstad Kusntsenter (/Artcentre) has a great exhibition these days, and as I´ve been i Oslo, I managed to visit it. It´s filled with art made by Yayoi Kusama, the Japanese artist, who is probably best known for all her polka-dots.


Above is an early painting, an abstract picture of a net or a web. She was so consumed with her work, she could work for  50 hours straight. Later the negative became the positive. Where she used to paint a net, she now started to paint dots. Lots of dots.


Some of her work is quite grand in size. She also had large inter-active pieces. Like this all-white interior, where a guard gave out colored stickers to the audience, and you could place your sticker wherever you wanted. Can you see my blue dot?


She´s now almost 80 years old, but still busy. Below is a copy of a display-window at a big department store in New York, where she´s been working with designer using her dots on everything from pures to glasses.


Some of her more recent paintings. In her earlier work she was very subtle in her color-use. She´s not color-humble anymore…


Another infinity-room, with mirrored walls: Big rice-lamps with black dots, where the light slowly changed colors.


And her polka-dotted pumpkins. A huge shelf filled with them!


The exhibition also showed her early sketches, sculptures, fashion-design, magazines, films, performances, all made by her.


Me in one of her mirrored rooms. Painted yellow with black polkadots. Everywhere you turned were more dots. Because of the mirrors it became infinite. I was actually a bit surprised at how much I enjoyed her work. She might come off as a bit queer, but I have gained a big respect for her through this exhibition, I think she´s a really great artist!

Topics: inspiration | No Comments »


By spotogspindel | March 17, 2016

I just got back from Oslo after working with s´the story-teller-group Øfsti/Vestre/Haugland. Such great days with beautiful people and sunny days of spring!


They premier on Saturday, so these photos are still very much work-in-progress pictures. The back-drop is my favorite: a snow-camuflage-net we bought used from the military. So much better to use in culture than in war!! In addition I really like the aesthetic of it: it´s almost like a lace, albeit a rather masculine one. Sometimes it looks like a snowy mountain, other times it looks like a big candy-covered cake or a snow-covered forrest, all depending on where they are in the story. I also love the tactile feel to it, the organic flow of the textile. It will be different every single time they put it up. It´s a 6×8 meters large drape that rests on two IKEA-screens.


The big, textile blocks are also quickly becoming a favorite, because of their versatility. I´ve sewn covers for them in upholstery-fabric, and added a sewn handle, so they can easily be moved with one hand.


The costumes are also a study in whites. Partly left-overs from another show, partly import form Japan, partly versatile basics (The grey sweater is not part of the finished costume). I hope to get some photos from the actual show on Saturday (I won´t see it myself unfortunately) to share with you.

Topics: backstage, Costumedesign, set design, textile | No Comments »

Performance weekend – story week

By spotogspindel | March 15, 2016

Such a great and efficient weekend with two of my fellow Master-students. We have a group-assignment: make a performance. Based on a philosopher and an artist. We chose to work with Arne Næss and his Deep Ecology/Ecosophy, and Marina Abramovic and her performance-art. We spent the entire weekend at the sea-house, not being disturbed, working concentrated. And we got so much done! We´ve all the plans done, we´ve got part of the music, part of the film-scenography, the main idea, and now we just have to do the rest 😉 The connection between deep ecology and the navels below? Stay tuned, all will be revealed in April.


But the weekend is over, and a new day is here. I´m in Oslo, spending some days here with this lovely gang of story-tellers. They´ve specialized in traditional Norwegian folk-tales, and this year, they´re working with “Smørbukk”. Premiere is on Saturday, so we´ve still got a couple of days to get the costumes and the scenography all done.


Topics: Diverse | No Comments »

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