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:

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 »

frog frock

By spotogspindel | July 27, 2016

It´s been such a long time since the last time I posted, you´d think I´d taken time off for the summer! In many ways, I guess that is true. Visits from friends and family, a few smaller trips here and there, days of sun and days of rain. But also days of working. The past weeks I´ve worked on the costume design for Peter Pan. The show doesn´t open until January 2017, but since I am also in charge of the production, I´m already a bit late. I actually started the sewing a little bit tonight. Peter Pan himself will be getting a little vest, made from leaves and frog-skins. The leaves are fake, but the frogs are real! I got them from Thailand. All the things you can get on eBay, it´s amazing! This is just the beginning of the vest, still lots of details missing. But it sure felt good to finally get started!


How´s your summer? Are you relaxing or being productive?

Topics: Costumedesign | 1 Comment »


By spotogspindel | July 2, 2016

I bet when you hear the word Curacao, you picture a drink in a shade of blue similar to this one:


Well, Curacao is way more than a drink. It is also an island in the Caribbean, just 65 kilometers North of Venezuela. It´s a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Which means that they speak Dutch here. And Papiamentu. Which is a creative mix of Spanish, Portugese, Dutch, English, French and a hint of Arawak Indian and African influences.

We arrived late last night, after 24 hours of traveling. (At least 4 of those hours were spent in immigrations in diverse countries). Everything was pitch black when we arrived late last night, so guess how pleased we were to wake up to this sight outside our window (I´ve always had a thing for palms. They make me happy!):


This 444km2 big island has 155 000 inhabitants, and has only been it´s own island country for 5 1/2 years. I´ll be here a week, and will share my exploration of the island with you. So far I´ve enjoyed the beach, like a true tourist (charging the battery after the long travel). It is also a very agreeable 28 degrees Celsius. Which I don´t mind at all.


Topics: travel | 1 Comment »

Ivar Aasen

By spotogspindel | June 28, 2016

My very first platform! I am so excited to share with you the news: today I have been onboard a oil-platform, more precisely the sleeping quarters of a new platform. And I left empty-handed 😉


It may seem small in the picture above, but it isn´t at all. 16 floors and about 70 meters above ground. (The photo is taken from the heli-deck of another platform, still in the making).


The ship-yard who´ve built the platform, asked me to make a picture for the platform, as an official gift from them to the owner, Statoil. An honor I very happily accepted!


The picture is in quite bright colors, to complement the fuchsia-colored leather chairs and cabinets in the room. All the chairs are stacked away for the travel across the North-sea and the room will be refurnished once the platform is in place and secured to the ocean-floor.


The motif is one of the over one thousand islands of Bømlo. The platform is built in Stord, but it´s the same region, and these small islands are quite characteristic for Sunnhordland, our region. I wanted the platform to take a little piece of it´s history with it, since it´s been built here. Below is the original with the true colors:


The picture is 120×180 cm, digital collage printed on aluminum.

Topics: Art | 1 Comment »

drying in the rain

By spotogspindel | June 28, 2016


The “hesje” is drying, even when rain is pouring down. That´s the beauty of this technique of hay-making. The rain falls on the top and slides down the sides, leaving all the hay on the inside dry. A little bit of wind helps too.


Yesterday we were interviewed by the regional radio. You can listen to us here. (Hesjing vart kunstverk, 1:10 into the radio-show) Or you can read about it, and watch a short video, here.

Topics: Art, backstage, sustainable | No Comments »


By spotogspindel | June 28, 2016


Made this for the Pippi (Longstocking) festival.

Topics: poster | No Comments »

Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe (The Picnic)

By spotogspindel | June 27, 2016

The title is inspired by the French painter Manet, and his painting of four friends having a picnic in the woods. No woods here, but the tranquility is the same. Lying on the gras with the hay-“fence” around you. The sweet smell of drying grass. Looking up, two sea-eagles are floating by high above.


Saturday we invited the public to join us for a picnic in the labyrinth. Several families came, and we had a nice get-together. No need to organize anything for the kids. They very quickly  found themselves playing side by side, running, chasing, playing in and around the hay-labyrinth. Giggles and squeals of happiness were heard.


On Friday one of the local kindergartens had visited, and even though it was raining when they were there, the teachers said it was a success. The children were running around, playing and having fun.

It´s all happened so fast, this project. Mainly because it´s weather-dependent. It was literarily from one day to the next. I called my farmer-friend Birgitta one evening, the cut the gras the next day, and the very next day, we built it. It was a short time to plan, but still people came to help build the labyrinth. And on Saturday, when the rain took a break, still more people came. It´s been shared so many times on Facebook, I almost believe we´ve struck a chord.  A chord resounding of happy childhood, traditions worth taking care of, and, I believe, the importance of the farmers´ contribution to the rest of us. We really don´t appreciate the farmers enough. They do a tremendous job!

If this small piece of temporary art can raise awareness and appreciation of the farmers, I´d be very happy! I know  that it´s already made lots of children happy!


Topics: Art, Diverse, sustainable | 1 Comment »

Guerrillla land-art, farmer-style

By spotogspindel | June 22, 2016


Today we´ve made some seriously large art! Outdoor, we made a hay-piles, in the traditional, Norwegian style called “hesje”. Between fence-rods you suspend rows of wire, and on each wire you hang fresh grass to dry. I´ve been thinking of this for a couple of years now, and this year everything came into place.


On the west-coast this was used a lot, since there is a lot of wind and rain. The top layer of grass acts as a shield that leads the rain down on the sides, but not so much inside to the rest of the grass.  Step one is to cut the grass. Then, mount the fence-rods, or better yet, poles made from young trees into the soil. Third, suspend five rows of wire between each pole, from one end to the other. Then the “hesje” is ready for the grass.


When I was young, the whole family would gather for the haymaking days, and as kids we took part of the work, even though I think we mostly ran around, disturbing the grown-ups. It´s a dear memory, none-the-less, and today, with 10-11 people working together, I was almost reliving part of my childhood. This is the traditional haymaking way, but very few farmers still use this labour-intensive method. Now it seems much easier to just make hay-balls with a machine.


However, I did expand on my childhood-memories! Then, I was just raking the grass, today I got to drive a tractor! Oh, what fun! And what a work-out! Who needs to go the gym, when you can heave hay?!


The best part is still the mid-break. Going into the mid-point of the labyrinth, with homemade juice, jam and pancakes, we had a peaceful pause, with the sounds and scents of nature all around us. Delight! This is too good not to share! On Saturday or Sunday (depending on the weather) we´ll arrange a picnic for the public on the field & in the labyrinth. Eating, drinking, playing, running… This is what good childhoods are made of, if you ask me!


The square labyrinth. Progress, step-by-step:


It ended up so big, I can´t even squeeze it into a photo! It´s about 150 meter all together (almost 500 feet).

Thank you, Birgitta and Terje, for being open-minded and art-friendly farmers! Thank for the instructions and all the help to make this dream come true!

Topics: Art, sustainable | 1 Comment »

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