All posts tagged: norway

Bagels – Montreal Style!

Anyone who has ever been to Montreal for more than an airport layover knows about our bagels. No, even if you have eaten bagels in Boston, New York, Toronto or anywhere else, you still have not tried the good¬†ones. It is a simple matter of fact.. and no.. I am not in the least bit biased ūüėČ Montreal bagels are the perfect combination of sweet, savoury, crunch and chewiness! They are anything but a bun with a hole in it. Sunday morning bagel runs, 3AM post party bagel line ups at Fairmont or St Viateur, waiting your turn at the bagel factory watching them come straight out of the wood fired oven is a Montreal ritual, you do not even need to put any toppings on them. But if you do, you know that nothing beats ‘bagels and lox’! It was only when I moved to Norway that I learned that salmon is called ‘laks’ in norwegian, I loved that, having calling smoked salmon ‘lox’ since my childhood. Every time I visit my gang back …

Foraging and Ramsl√łk – wild garlic pesto

Ramsl√łk as it is known in Norway, is also known as¬†ramsons, buckrams, wild garlic, broad-leaved garlic, wood garlic, bear leek or bear’s garlic. Latin name:¬†Allium ursinum Long overlooked, Ramsl√łk has made a comeback of late, gourmet restaurants and epicureans everywhere are hoarding what they can. There are few places locally where it grows, and hopefully those special places, much like favourite mushroom spots will remain secret such that it will continue to grow and those who harvest it are responsible and follow the foraging rule of take no more than 1/3 of what is available. Doing so will help it thrive for generations to come. Last year, our family took a course on local wild edibles, wandering the path and woods, collecting and nibbling as we walked. It was a revelation to see what can be foraged locally and was of immense value to increasing our knowledge about local food.¬†We are fortunate to live in an area where we are able to obtain wild mushrooms, game, mussels, oysters, fish and more. We are blessed to …

dehydrated vegetables and herbal salt

An interesting day at Hellviktangen’s¬†farmers market this weekend. A lot less people came, likely due to the rain, but the ones who were there were very keen on hearing details about the products that I had available. One ¬†item that brought about great interest was my seasoned salt. Such a simple ingredient to have on hand and it can be used on so many ways. Throughout the growing season, while everything is fresh and abundant, I do my best to preserve what I can. One of the methods I use is dehydration. My pantry is full of mason jars with a huge variety of dried goodness in them. My trusty mandoline which has been well used for over a decade makes quick work of the task, and once thinly sliced, I place everything in the dehydrator and let it go to work over night. I dehydrate at no more than 40C (104F) in order to¬†maintain the optimum nutritional value. While I do not adhere to the Raw Diet, I¬†choose to use this process for dehydration …

Calendula salves and ‘tub tea’

Calendula.. ahh.. such an amazing plant! This week for the farmers market at Hellviktangen, I am putting together more of my salves and ‘tub teas’. Throughout the summer I collected calendula from Ekebo, our¬†collective farm. The more you pick, the more buds appear, it is amazing what mother nature can do. Once home, I laid them out on trays to set in the dehydrator. I prefer to keep the temperature down and wait longer than to rush the process and risk overheating the flowers. Once they are bone dry, I remove the petal from their stems and store them in a clean airtight jar to be used in a myriad of ways. In order to make an infused oil from them, fill a clean jar halfway with petals and then top up with the carrier oil of your choice. Many use olive or coconut oil, but I prefer almond oil for skin products. Vitamin E can also be added to help prevent your oil from going rancid. Let the oil sit in a warm spot …

Black garlic

Patience is not a virtue I possess. Ask anyone who knows me and they will attest that my curiosity almost always gets the better of me. So when my latest culinary experiment’s success hinged on my letting time do it’s thing, I was not sure I could pull it off. Garlic is something that we use in abundance in our kitchen, and I am always interested in trying new cultivars and means of preparation. It was in researching fermented garlic (next on my to do list) that I stumbled across black garlic, and I knew I had to find a way to make it myself. Black garlic (falsely referred to as fermented¬†– as it does not involve any microbial action) is¬†garlic that has been heated over the duration of many weeks at a constant temperature and humidity. The sugars in the garlic are slowly caramelised and develop a deep umami flavour that is quite simply fantastic! The texture of the cloves soften¬†and¬†the flavour mellows to something reminiscent of balsamic vinegar and truffles. Last night while …

it is the process not the product

One thing always holds true, I love to learn. My husband is forever¬†in awe as to how I am never bored. Curiosity, it is¬†a gift, one that I hope to never take for granted. For¬†the last while, my curiosity has had me spending a little less time in the studio, and¬†more time in the kitchen and beyond. Creativity can be expressed in¬†many facets in life, and these last years have been a delicious adventure. I have long thought of starting a new blog, as this one has focused mainly on my studio work, but the truth is that being a ‘maker’ does not have to be confined to my art. Many who know me have heard me say time and time again, that it is the process and not the product that is important for me. Diving in head first and learning everything I can about a subject is something that I love, and in the end, it is the knowledge and experience that I cherish more than the final product… and boy have I …

New tool in the studio

Over the holidays, the studio welcomed its newest tool, a plotter (cutter). There are many on the market, each having their own pros and cons, but after having done some research, I found the one for me. I have always had a love for words.. quotes and sayings… and being a font addict with a reasonable handle on graphic design and a love for Adobe Illustrator, the possibilities with this machine are endless! It cuts so much more than vinyl… cardstock, fabric, stencils for glass etching and fabric stenciling, heat transfer for clothing.. and I have even sourced reflective heat transfer for clothing. That may sound crazy to most of the world, but living in Norway, the dark season makes wearing reflects mandatory. My son has decided he wants to start a business selling his own reflects designs.. and he is only 8! Time to make space in the studio. Yesterday I made my first wall piece from vinyl. Well beyond the standard size of the plotter (the wording is just over a meter high), …

leather handles on felt bags

A while back, I blogged about the raw wool felted laptop bag (see post) that I created for myself, and I thought I would show how the handles were made. Store bought handles of all shapes, sizes and colours are available in most craft stores (or online), but in my opinion, nothing beats a good quality, handmade, adjustable thick leather strap with solid brass fittings. I have not used a pattern for doing this.. I simply gauge the size based on the bag and what feels comfortable. The only factor to consider is the width of your buckle. I cut five pieces of leather, one for the strap, and two shorter pieces that are doubled over and secured to the felt itself using chicago screws (leather bond optional), and two narrower pieces that are looped to keep the strap from flailing about. The side pieces are very simple.. an oval hole in the middle for the buckle to pivot, and in this case two holes matched up on each side. ¬†Punch matched holes in your …

The life of a Maker… studio time

I managed to get in some studio time of late to finish off some orders, and get a few pieces photographed. Years ago I read that an artist should take photos of everything they make regardless of whether it is going to be a personal gift or go up for sale (or already sold for that matter). Time to start getting into the habit. Jewelry photography is a tedious task, requiring very bright lights with a light tent to control reflections and shadows. I keep thinking I need to set up a photo spot in the studio, such that it is not such an effort setting everything up each time. My children spend quite a bit of time with me in the studio.. asking questions, playing on the floor.. digging through all the tools and supplies while dreaming of what they want to make next (they now even have their own cupboard of supplies). It has been a productive time, and with studio visits scheduled later this week with neighborhood children, there will be lots …

felted laptop bag – using raw fleece

Forever inspired by my dear friend Elis Vermeulen of Holland to work with raw fleece (see my previous post on working with Texel with Elis), I decided to make myself a laptop bag a while back using my favorite medium. I have yet to add the straps (really need some studio time this week), but will be using some good quality leather with a buckle to make it adjustable. The base is made using norwegian C1  (I planned for a shrinkage of 30%). It is the perfect wool for sturdy bags. It produces a nice firm felt that hardly pills and wears well.  Now to pull out a hide of leather and some brass findings. Oh! by the way, if you are interested in learning more about how to work with raw fleece, Elis will be teaching a bag class at the Creative Felt Gathering in Michigan this september. See her website for more details, or contact her to arrange a workshop in your area.

Kiln fired enamel

Enamel – a fantastic way to bring some colour into what can often become a world of black and white when working with silver. This week, I have been testing a set of colours from Thompson Enamels – transparent/lead free for use on silver/copper/gold.¬†Enamel is powdered glass which, when heated melts, flows and hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating on metal. Enameling can also be done on glass or porcelain, but requires enamels with a different COE (Coefficient Of Expansion) – expansion rates must be suited to the base surface material. Prior to using enamels, they need to be washed to remove the “fines” – (extra fine particles which can cause your enamel to be cloudy). This can either be done: wet: by rinsing in water multiple times until the water runs clear or dry: by using a series of sifting pans to separate the particle sizes (60, 80, 100 mesh etc.) Regardless of which technique you plan on using to apply the enamel, the silver must be properly prepared, polished and cleaned to …

the big picture

As most artists know all too well, November and December is the busy season, holiday sales carry many of us through the rest of our year. Months ago, as the end of summer approached, the deadline for deciding in which holiday shows to participate came up, and I had to make a decision. In past years I have had open studios, inviting the public in to my atelier to see how and where my products are made. Last year, I took part in the Designers Fair (juried entry)¬†at DogA, the Norwegian Center for Design and Architecture on Hausmannsgate in Oslo, 10,000 people in 2 days – exhausting but worthwhile! This year, the invites for various shows came in and I realized that regardless of what options I chose, the workload would be pretty much the same, long hard days in the studio working on new series and collections, evenings back in the studio polishing silver or ironing textiles, display work, pricing, labeling, packaging supplies, being away from my children on the holiday weekends, and stressing …

my latest addition (obsession)

Sock knitting machines!.. ahh.. I know this may sound crazy, and quite honestly I was not sure as to whether this should go on my studio blog or not, as this is more of ¬†a ‘me’ thing. so.. no.. I am not going into the sock making business.. (at least not as far as I know!) (…continues below photo) restored and purring like a kitten Since first learning of these machines over a year ago, I have patiently (well.. my husband might disagree with that statement) been waiting for the right one to find me, during that time, I have read so much about them, and the history behind them appeals to me in a significant way. In the late 1800’s and first half of the 1900’s, sock knitting machines were produced in many countries around the world. During war times, many wives/mothers were left at home, some struggling to make ends meet. the answer?.. the sock knitting machine. Women all over the world purchased these machines, and through the same company, purchased wool. After …