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 peachy nightgown

By spotogspindel | November 18, 2016

Wendy´s dress for the Peter Pan show is in the making. I wanted to move away from the white, and the pale blue is already used by Disney. So I thought I´d use peach, a warm color for a warm character. 4 meters of crepe de chine silk and a roll of peach-colored lace later…


I´ve got the gown ready for fitting. The design is inspired by a 1910 gown, but even though I made a pattern, sometimes it´s a lot of making it as you go along. Very much so in this case. I was regretting the silk before I started, thinking it would be very difficult to sew in, it felt so alive!


Luckily I was proven wrong! It turned out pretty great. Appliquéing the lace with zig-zag-seam on my household Bernina, and sewing the pieces of the skirt together with my overlock… smooth as a kitten! I left little slits open between the parts, it´s only held together with the lace. The actor is going to be very active, so I´m hoping this is not a mistake.


Talking of mistakes, I already made one. The iron on a little too hot, and the polyester-lace melted! It´s not like I didn´t know. However it was easy to just cut away the broken part and replace it with a new one.


Ready for fitting: the arms are too wide, but I want to see it on her before I decide how much to take them in, and maybe also shorten them a bit. The neck-line is not completely finished either, I might need to make the opening a bit wider. But we´ll see in a couple of weeks when she tries it on. Everything is cut on the bias, so it should follow the shape of her body.

Topics: Costumedesign | No Comments »


By spotogspindel | November 15, 2016

Pajama-day! In Peter Pan, both of Wendy´s brothers, John and Michael are wearing pajamas a the play. They are woken up and then fly off to Neverland.


In order to make their pajamas a bit special, I choose fabric that might tell something about who they are and what they´re interested in. So I visited Spoonflower, and found exactly what I was looking for! For John, the older brother who wants to be like his Dad when he´s grows up and work in a bank… A chalk-board filled with mathematical calculations. And for Michael, the youngest with his cuddly stuffed wolf… a pajama filled with little dogs.


The fabric arrived today, and since the pattern is pretty simple I was able to finish both pajamas. Except for the buttons… need to go shopping. I think they turned out pretty good 🙂


Two costumes down… a gazillion to go! 😉


Topics: Costumedesign | 1 Comment »

Sewing Saturday

By spotogspindel | November 13, 2016

My absence the past weeks are due to a total exam-hibernation. Reading, writing, studying and reflecting. Hopefully I´ve been able to write something reasonably sensible. Anyway. So now it´s full force forward on the Peter Pan costumes!


Luckily I am blessed with some absolutely wonderful friends. One of them, Nina helped me all day yesterday appliquéing leaves onto costumes. I made patterns, cut and sew the garments. Her help was invaluable!


No surprise, it´s so much more fun to create when you´re working with someone. Being an artist/maker is awesome, but sometimes it can be a bit lonely. So I treasure these times when I can create with someone else. 🙂


So we got 4 pants, half a vest and then some done yesterday. Such a big help! Thank you, Nina!


To end a great day, it was a jazz- and literature-night at the culture house. My old school-friend Bjørn Sortland (who´s written 55 books! Check him out, he´s been translated to at least 20-something languages) is always a treat to listen to. Another friend of mine, Christine Bjordal, played songs form her new album, not released yet, but oh-so-beautiful! The second author, Agnes Ravatn, I havn´t read anything from yet, but she´s one of the up-and-coming Nordic Noir-authors.


And today? Keep on sewing! 😀


Topics: backstage, Costumedesign | 1 Comment »

sewing and teaching

By spotogspindel | November 2, 2016

I´ve been busy the past days teaching and sewing. For Peter Pan I´m working on pirate-costumes and lost kids-costumes.


This is a fencing-vest for one of the pirate. Made from raw silk, layered with a thick cotton-padding fabric and an un-bleached layer of cotton-calico.


I´ve mentioned the 4 Elements-project before. I made a design for an Enthusiast-costume for kindergaten-kids. The theatre who made the project ordered 20 tunics, and a kindergarten another 13, so I´ve been quite busy over the weekend finishing them all.


The belts are ready!


All the emblems lying to dry…


Monday I had a workshop in a kindergarten. A pretty small workshop with only one participant! A male kindergarten-teacher who told us casually he´d never touched a sewing machine before, but went head on into the project, and did a great job! The theatre project-leader also helped out with the cutting. It was very nice to actually be in a kindergarten where the kids are participating in the project, if fells a lot more hands-on, getting to know the project in a much better way.


The same afternoon I was meeting another group of students, this time master-students in biology at the University. I´ll try to help them along the way in making a creative presentation for some of their research. This will be so interesting!

And today, I´ve spent the day teaching eco-scenography to the theatre-class at the local folk high school. 3 very different groups in 2 days. I really enjoy teaching, and it is so great to meet the different groups, with different needs and interests.


And to round up the day… I´ve started another costume for Peter Pan. This chunky raw silk is SO beautiful! It´s pretty though to cut actually, and I don´t think the sewing machine is enjoying it nearly as much as I do. Hopefully it will look great in the end!

Topics: Costumedesign, sustainable, teaching, textile, theatre, workshops | No Comments »

The Black Comedy

By spotogspindel | October 28, 2016


It´s opening night! Bømlo Teater is staging the Black Comedy by Peter Shaffer.

The show is directed by Nina Sele, the scenography is by Janne Robberstad and the lighting-design is by Axel Sundbotten

A classic farce with all the right ingredients:










A carefully laid plan to sell the struggling artists expressive sculptures to a millionaire goes wrong when the electricity disappears and the lights go out. 90 minutes of misunderstandings and growing panic about what will be revealed when the electricity comes back, set in the 1960´s London.


A minimalistic set, put together by stage-elements, chairs & tables, two freestanding walls with doors, a bed, and amateur-paintings suspended in wire from ceiling to floor (seems like they are floating mid-air). Easy to pick apart and move about, yet it not only fills the stage, but gives a cosy homely feel to it. Much of it due to the big, yellow back-curtain, which we saved from the municipal town hall who were going to throw it away in their renovating of the former culture-hall.


A low-budget production, with a lot of re-use among both costumes and furniture and props. The walls with doors are made new for the show, and can easily be taken on tour, stored and used again. Just repaint, and their good as new, adaptable to any show.


With the great carpenter-help from my new friends/heroes Raymond Ersland and Martin Vika! The invisible metal-work was done for us by Rubbestadneset high school (Thank you!).


And talking of heroes: Martha Kristiansen, your help and enthusiasm as set-/props-assistent is unchallenged!


Not to forget Karin Halleraker and Målfrid Aga´s steady hands on the costumes.

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Oh, and notice the old lamps! Also a catch saved from the municipally renovation before they were thrown in the dumpster!


Topics: Costumedesign, set design, theatre | No Comments »


By spotogspindel | October 23, 2016


It´s move-in day for “The Black Comedy”, which opens this coming Friday. Bømlo Teater is staging it in the culture house. Tomorrow the actors start rehearsals in the set. I haven´t seen a single rehearsal, and am looking forward to seeing how the farce is mastered 🙂


Topics: backstage | No Comments »

Peter Pan promofilm

By spotogspindel | October 22, 2016


A dark, cold night at the Visnes copper-mines. Wendy, Peter Pan, Captain Hook and two of the lost children are fighting. A film-team with aggregate-driven lamps and a director guiding them through one scene after another. Sword-fights by candle-light. It´s scary! And you thought Peter Pan was a children´s story!?!


Topics: backstage, theatre | 1 Comment »

Miyajima and Hiroshima

By spotogspindel | October 22, 2016

So much beauty and so much memories of terror in one day! My last day in Japan, I took a day-trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima, a small island right outside Hiroshima. Despite it´s small size, you can find several Unesco world heritage sites here. Starting with the great Torii gate. It is a symbol of the boundary between the spirit and the human worlds. It was first built in 1168 about 200 meters from land, but on low tide you can walk out to it.


It lies in front of the Itsukushima shrine. At high tide, it looks like it is floating on the water, as you can see below. The main shrine was built in 593. So, so beautiful, even though I couldn´t enter because of the tide.



Another beauty is the red 5-storied pagoda of Goju-no-to, built in 1407. I´ve seen a couple of these pagodas, and this is just breath-taking!


Right next to the pagoda is the Senjokaku Shrine. A huge wooden building nick-named “the shrine of a thousand straw mats”. There are no walls and a large, airy ceiling, so it´s a nice place to cool down in warm days. Under the ceiling there are dozens of paintings, old and some new, with scenes from traditional Japanese history and mythology, like the one below of a warrior riding his horse.


I could have spent two days here, there was so much to see, but since I only had one day, I also wanted to visit Hiroshima itself and the memorial park there. Hiroshima is undoubtedly most known for being the target of the world´s first atomic bomb used in warfare. August 6th, 1945, 8:15 AM. In the photo below you can see the remains of the only building left standing after the attack, now the Hiroshima Peace Memorial. Thousands were killed instantly. Near the epicenter of the explosions, everything was instantly turned to ash, so no-one knows exactly how many people died. But it is assumed that between 90 000 – 146 000 people died during the first 4 months after the bomb, half of them the first day .


When I visited, the were hoards of Japanese school-children on field-trips, coming from all over Japan, in additions to visitors from all over the world. This is, without a doubt, a very important site to visit, to contemplate over mankind´s common history. It may not be a comfortable experience, but the more important.


Inside the museum, there were photos of Hiroshima before and after the bomb, and a gathering of things, remains found around the epicenter. A watch, a sandal, a bicycle…


Outside was a collection of origami paper-cranes. Thousands and thousands. Inspired by a young girl, sick from leukemia, who thought if she only could finish folding 1000 paper-cranes, she would get well again. She only made 667 before she died. But her classmates finished her task, and later she has inspired thousands of other children to make a thousand cranes. They are sent from all over the world, and gathered here at the Children´s peace monument. Later, they are recycled into postcards with the printed text “Never forget”,  given to visitors, encouraging to send them and pass on the message.


I had mentally prepared myself for the experience this day, with defenses high to handle the emotional impact. I kept thinking about two things: Donald Trump should visit this place, with his haphazard thoughts of nuclear weapons. And a news-story I´d read earlier in the week, where Brian Cox´s explanation for why we´d never met aliens even thought there most likely is life out there: advanced civilizations usually kill themselves off.

But at the same time… all these young people who make an effort to change the world for the better. Be it by folding paper-cranes to abolish nuclear weapons, or by participating in global collaborations like the Global Science Opera.

I´m sorry to end on such a sad note. Japan was absolutely fantastic, and I can recommend it whole-heartedly! It has the best of all things: a long and interesting history and culture, a rich aesthetic in every aspect of life, modern day comfort and innovative technology. And the most important: a kind, welcoming and warm people.

Topics: Diverse, travel | 2 Comments »

Kyoto – geisha-spotting

By spotogspindel | October 17, 2016

Today I visited the Nishijin textile centre & museum. They had their own kimono-fashion-show, a weavery and a big museum-shop. The best part however, was the dress-up-like-a-Japanese photo-shoot. I choose the more-is-more version of the 12 layered wedding-kimono! Full on with wig and makeup and the works. 12 layers of heavy silk over a pair of wide trousers that are 2 meters long… it does´t make it easy to move.


From now on, this will be my official portrait! Ha, ha, ha… no, I´m just kidding. But it is nonetheless probably the closest I´ll get to my 5-year-old self of becoming a princess.


I had two women doing my makeup and dressing me. I thought it was interesting to see how the inner clothing was, and how everything was arranged as they added layers.


Dressed as a bride for her adding, or even resembling an imperial princess. But not a geisha. So when the photo-session was over, I visited an indigo weavers atelier. No geishas, but hand-dyed silk yarn.


From there I went on to the Shibori museum. Shibori is a 1300 hundred years old tradition of dyeing. By tying tiny knots on the silk cloth with fine thread, you make a resist the dye won´t penetrate when the fabric is lowered into the dye-pan. You can make amazing patterns, but it requires a vast amount of work. The picture below is showing half of a picture it took 40 people 2 years to make (on their free-time) Oh, and I got to try on a shibori/embroidered silk kimono. But still no geishas…


So in the evening I joined a geisha-spotting-tour, which sounds a bit silly, but we learned a lot of history and tradition. And got to walk around in the Gion-district, which houses some of the oldest, well-known tea-houses in Japan.


And guess what?! We finally spotted a real life geisha! Coming out from a theatre after her performance, rushing past everyone at an impressive speed on her 5 inch (12 cm) high wooden sandals. On her way to a private party at a tea-house. With at least 5 years of training, this tradition has seen a small upswing in recruitment the past years, after years of decline.


Now there are around 200 geishas in Kyoto, and 80 maikos (apprentices). They start their training at 15, and after 5 years become a geisha. They can stay a geisha as long as they don´t marry, and the oldest one is over 90 years old!

Oh, and if you thought that a geisha was a prostitute, you are wrong! It is forbidden to touch them. They are great entertainers who sing and dance and make great conversation-partners.

Topics: Diverse, travel | No Comments »

Kyoto – temple-town and shrine-city

By spotogspindel | October 16, 2016

Kyoto – the cultural and historical capital of Japan. 1,5 million citizens. And so many World Heritage Cutural sites! There is so much to see in this city, everywhere you turn, it seems.


When I arrived, I walked to the Kyoto Museum of Modern Art. And right next to it, the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts. The first one was good, the second was great! It had working craftsmen there, showing techniques in pottery and jewelry. And in the story above I stumbled across a crafts-fair, with lots of artists selling their own things.


This is the Heianjingu shrine, right next to the museums. There is a fall festival going on, there are celebrations going on everywhere, drums and theatre-performances.


The Heianjingu shrine had a sacred garden, and it was such a delight! In the middle of the city, such peace, and such beauty!


A procession was about to take place, with hundreds of ladies dressed in the same cotton kimonos…


But some are celebrating independently of the fall festivals. Like this 3-year old boy, who is having his first formal visit to the temple. All dressed up and posing for the photographer.


Today I was really lucky: I had a guide with me all day, and boy, did we see a lot!

The Fushini Inari shrine is actually a mountain, 260 meters high in the middle of the city. Over 10 000 of these orange portals are framing the pathways all the way up to the top of the mountain. We only walked about half-way up, but got a great view of the city. The main thing though, was not the view, but the amazing “hallways” of portals. (Apparently made well-known after the movie “Memoirs of a Geisha”)


Arriving at the Tenryuji temple, we were met with another procession, this time reenacting when an imperial princess visited the temples shrine 700 years ago. A big parade with musicians, drummers, priests and of course the princess herself.


Moving swiftly on, we visited the bamboo forrest. And the days second wow-I-wanna-be-here-forever-place. Even with all the other tourists, it was such a serene place. (Sorry, I just had to post one of those been-there-done-that-photos)


Next we went to the Ninnaji temple, one of the three 5-stories high pagodas in Kyoto. We didn´t even get in the gate before we were in the middle of yet another procession. Here are a couple of the monks waiting to welcome the visiting deity.


Finally, the pagoda. This was built in the 17th century, and was so impressive! Even though some of the other temples we´d seen were older, as old as a thousand years old. Others were rebuilt after fires.


And finally, we visited the Kinkakuji temple with the golden pavilion. Golden as in covered with real gold-leaf. It used to be a guest-house for the shogun living here, but was later turned into a temple.


And this is just a bit of what I´ve seen the past days. It´s just too much to tell in one post. I am still processing all the impressions myself. Thank you Leiko, for showing me so much of this beautiful city!

Stay tuned for part 2!

Topics: travel | 1 Comment »

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