Since my hand is still pretty sore and I'm knitting in snail speed, I thought that maybe I should to a topic blogpost. And I know for a fact that reading about other's relationship to crafts are facinating, so I could just as well tell my story, cause I'm not all knitting you know.
I've always been creative. Crafts, drawing and painting was so much fun compared to anything else. If I were to track it down to the source, I think I owe it all to our old neighbours at home. An old couple, childless lived next door, and since my grandmother died before I could remember, they became my extra grandparents. I visited them all the time and it was so much fun! The old man, Sigmund, gave me paper and crayons and let me draw until I dropped! He hung them up on a closet and took pictures of them all when there was no space left, then he would give me the picture, take the drawings down and we started over again! The old lady, Olga, showed me yarn crafts, and along with my mother, they taught me knitting! I remember it well, Olga gave me some blue yarn and needles and patiently watched me while I was knitting. When I've done a few inches, she handed me rainbow colored yarn and a needle and I embroided whatever unto it! It was so much fun! She also showed me how to crochet, and I remember her actually guiding me through making a crocheted doily! If only I knew where it was today... If only I had pictures! She even did some collagues with me, taught me how to braid a crown from flowers and showed me weaving! And for my confirmation, she made me this amazingly beautiful wall piece which is pretty traditional to hang on walls over here.
Sadly, they're both dead now, and I miss them greatly, but I got a feeling that I might have started weaving by now if Olga didn't pass away.
My mother made knitted clothing for both me and my brothers while we were kids, and I remember knitting ever since kindergarden...not very well, but I was still knitting! Something about hand made stuff must have facinated me, that and art.
All through my childhood, I drew alot and all the time. Around the age of 7-8 or so...probably a bit older...my mother put me in an after school art class. Our teacher, Åse Karin (whom I still have contact with... HEI ÅSE K!!!) taught us many things, both boring and facinating. She let us play with charcoal, water and acryllic paint, aquarell and oil... Just about everything, and it sparked my interest! I spent a good amount of years in this art class and with the years, Åse Karin let me try more and more oil painting and let me do more of my own stuff. When I was 15-16, the only thing I did was painting!
They actually put me in the local news paper with an interview since I was the youngest member of the art club at that point and I've had my paintings at some art shows.
When I was 16, I got this assignment of doing huge wall drawings at a tourist farm in my home town. It was all made in markers and it took forever! I was stuck in the barn through all autumn and early winter, freezing my ass off, but it was so worth it! The biggest wall piece I did measured about 1,5meter x 5meter (4 feet 11" x 16 feet 4").
They also put me in the newspaper for this.
Needless to say, most people thought I would go on to something creative and artsy. So it didn't surprise people that I went on to goldsmithing school for "college"! But before I get to that part, let me quickly tell the story why I stopped knitting, cause all through this, I did knit on and off, mostly just hats and wrist warmers.
I guess I was around the age of 18 at this point... Had to take a year off from school due to personal reasons, sickness and so on. I was going to clean my room one night so I stepped off my bed over to my stereo, and without noticing, I stepped right into my bag of yarn and needles. One of the needles sunk 5cm (2") into my foot and got bent before I fell over and realised the damage. I managed to pull out the needle, luckily without any serrious injuries, but it gave me a fear of knitting needles for years!
Anyway, back to goldsmithing school. Autumn 2007 I started my first year and it was great! Working with metal was awesome and a new and different way to unleash my creativity. But sadly, the dorm I was staying in had very limited space, so bringing my painting didn't really work all that well, so I started drawing alot more again.
But since the school system was a bit wonky, I had to take an involuntairy year off before I could continue my education. During this year (autumn 2008 too summer 2009) I worked as an apprentice at a goldsmith workshop and gallery right in the town I live now. The man I worked for was pretty nice and understanding and wanted to give me as much knowledge as he could while I worked there! I did anything from casting to repair to all new jewellery! He also let me work with gold for the very first time! I owe this man everything cause if he didn't take me in as a apprentice for that year, I would probably have dropped out from school all together.
The next two years, I went back to school with more knowledge and practice than anyone in my class! I was at the top and everything was wonderfull!
During my last school year, I started knitting again, thanks to a fellow school mate. My first project was actually a gigantic afgan blanket of 8-bit Mario. 280 squares, about 60 skeins, all wool, measures about 2meters x 1,4meters (6 feet 6" x 4 feet 7").
Winter 2011 came my break through in goldsmithing though. February 3rd, I won the norwegian championship in goldsmithing. I competed against 5 other students from the private goldsmithing school here in Norway, I was the only one from my own school, and I won. It was the first time my schoold had ever won the championship and it was probably the best moment in my life so far.
We had to make an earring in gold with all kinds of complicated techiques in three days.
All I remember from the actual competition was being super nervous cause of where I was staying during it all. I had to travel to their school and I lived at this old, cold and drafty appartment/hotel building. I had a tiny room with no heat, no way to make food and shared a bathroom with the entire floor...which was scary as all hell cause the entire bulding was more or less empty. At that time, I was regretting even going to the contest. The school itself was like a labyrinth so actually getting there on time was an impossible task. But I managed it though. I pulled through and it was worth it!
And again I ended up in newspapers, several this time, and I even appeared on radio a few times! I also got to meet the mayor of Valle, the village where my school was located.
Winning the norwegian championship ment that I could once again compete along with the second and third place about going to two different contests as well, Scandinavian championship and world championship. At first, this made me mad, cause as the winner, you'd think I'd automaticly go on to both of these, but in retrospect, I'm kinda glad that I didn't have too.
I also graduated in 2011, so that means that I am fully a goldsmith, both in practice and on paper, all thanks to this little piece.
The two contests they gave us ended up dividing me and second place with only two points. During the norwegian championship, I was two points ahead of her, thanks only to the better soldering gun they had at their school, so when I went back to my school and did the two smaller, non-important contests there, I got stuck with a crap soldering gun since my school was too poor to upgrade them, which then made me loose two points to second place. She and I were pretty much neck in neck the whole time, so she won the right to go to the World Skills, the world championship taking place in London, England during october 2011, while the both of us went to Bella Nordic Jewellery Awards, the Scandinavian championship taking place in Kopenhagen, Denmark during august 2011.
Bella Nordic Jewellery Awards was really an experience of a lifetime! Bella Nordic itself is a huge trade fair, the biggest in Scandinavia actually. The jewellery awards was just a promotional contest, few of the visitors there actually knew about it even though it's annual.
We were two participants from each of the Scandinavian countries, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iseland, so 10 in total.
Still, we didn't win. No wonder really cause we had nothing on Denmark and Finland whom each had 5-7 years of experience compared to us with only 2-4 years. One of the danish girls came in first, she now has her own jewellery collection and works for one of the biggest jewellers in Denmark. The finnish boy (and the only boy among us) won second while the finnish girl won third.
Worth mentioning, we get to meet and greet with the danish crown princess Marie.
This actually landed me a job with one of the biggest jewellery stores in Oslo afterwards...only because my fellow norwegian participant was pregnant at the time and couldn't take the job after all. This both made 2011 my year, and broke 2012 and 2013 for me...and techically, I still haven't gotten over the fact that this job made me hit the wall and burn out...along with damn NAV. But at the same time, this is the reason why I started knitting so much as I am doing today. It's the only thing keeping me sane, helps my mind think that I can achieve something. Which brings us to today pretty much, and the end of my story. Over the last couple years, I've done alot of decent knitted projects, and I keep finding new projects and object to knit, and it truly is the only thing that keeps me from breaking appart at this point in my life, along with my international crafts group, I really can't express enough how much you guys mean to me.
Inbetween all of this, I've still tried to hold on to drawing atleast, but it has been hard since I've lost motivation and inspiration to carry on with it. Now I can hardly manage to push myself to make art pieces for the yearly artshows. My favorite medium by now are colorpencils and markers. I've never been too good with markers on their own, so I use them as the base coloring and then do the shading and lighting with colorpencils afterwards. But to show you what I can do, here's a few of my personal best pieces.
Thank you for reading this horrible wall of text, I bet you've learned alot about me from all of this. Feel free to do your own "craft history" on your blog and be sure to link me back so I can read it. As I've said in the beginning, I find reading about other peoples ups and downs and accomplishments in the world of crafts facinating. See you guys tomorrow hopefully, if I haven't forgotten about my blog...again...