Skall letter No. 23

Nina Nørgaard - a creating and creative person

Dear friends,

Handicraft has always been important to us, and it is through our passion for good crafts that we found our way into textile and fashion. Our love for creating silhouettes, designing and tailoring, mirror everything that Skall Studio stands for. To us craftmanship is the most important element in the design process, and we believe that such skills should be preserved. Especially now, with so many of the traditional crafts fading and being taken over by digital techniques. 

It is our respect for crafts that takes us to 34-year-old Nina Nørgaard, with fascination and curiosity.  As a craftsman and artist within glass, her career is based on the craftmanship. We meet Nina in her favorite element, the place in which she creates her design and her works – in the old buildings of Holmegaards Værk, from the 1950’ies. In this place, Nina and her colleagues have re-created all the best from the history of glass at Holmegaard Værk, today a modern museum of handicrafts, design and history. And it is in this place that Nina spends hour by hour, day by day, creating the perfect shapes and colours of glassware.

Nina found her own language through glass and fell in love with the glass material already at the age of 5. “It was an amazing summer at Bornholm. My aunt immediately noticed how fascinated I was by the material, and she encouraged me to make glass, after having sketched and decided on colours. When I came back home, I spent the rest of the summer playing with pieces of wood, small boxes and coloured candles, pretending it was glass.” Glass continued to be an important part of Nina’s life. When she was 19 years old, she moved to Paris. She wanted to be close to the French way of life and all the museums. 

“I wanted to learn French, so Paris was perfect. Somehow, I met a gentleman who found it quite cool that I worked with glass. He offered me the opportunity to use an empty gallery, if only I would look after the place. Above the gallery lived a retired lady, Madame Granell and she offered me a place to stay for free, in the same building, if only I would do some work for her, one hour a day. I washed 4 plates, repaired the buttons in her Chanel coats, put out some clothes for her, and went shopping for flowers, on Saturdays. Small and sometimes strange tasks that allowed me to live there. A crazy period of my study years, during which I also made glasswork that I sold in the gallery.”

After Paris, Nina moved to Sweden, into the forest. 

“It was a bit crazy and everyone was like – “this girl with red lipstick, she will never survive in this forest”. But they quite quickly learned that I grew up with an aunt who was a skilled glass blower, that I had worked with glass my whole life and turned out to be top of my class. I had already experienced a lot of things and could easily survive. I love contrasts – being in the middle of Paris, but also being in the middle of nowhere. I lived with a girlfriend in the forest, in a nature reserve and in the afternoon, we canoed to small islands in the area. There was a fantastic study environment with 70 people from Norway, Sweden, Finland and USA. It was considered “The School”, of Northern Europe.“

“I lived in Sweden for a long time, and made people understand that this was really something I wanted to do. You show that you are dedicated to what you are doing, when you move away from your family and friends, to a place where you do not know anyone. I graduated in 2010, went to USA and worked there for a period of time, and then I came back to Copenhagen. In Copenhagen I did some work together with Noma and met a lot of interesting people. And then one thing led to the next, in terms of collaborations. At the beginning, I recall, I was so shy that I did not dare share any pictures on Instagram. I love to work together with nice people with good energy. Then I feel good.”

It is fascinating to experience and feel the passion that Nina is showing. She radiates calm and creativity and her beautiful personality is mirrored in her works. We completely understand her absorption. When asking Nina what inspires her, and how she transforms the inspiration into her works, she explains: 

“I have always had a strong imagination, so I’m easy to inspire. I do always carry a notebook with me, in which I write down ideas. I absorb impressions, I’m a dreamer. Sometimes a new design or project is like a problem to be solved, a functional challenge. That I also like very much – being a bit practical, and then work with the details, the patterns and the silhouettes, afterwards.”

“A number of my works reflect parts and periods of my life – for instance my first collection called Studio, is inspired by my favorite things at home, the everyday life and the functionality, the tumbler, the bottle, the jug etc.”

"The second collection is from my time in Paris, during which the part of me being a bonvivant, came out in the open. This collection contains numerous variations of the champagne coupe. My time at our houseboat in the harbor of Copenhagen inspired me to study the surface of the water, with the creation of seafood dishes, coral vases and ice-looking castings, as a result. I try to live where I am, and with the impressions that I get, which is also seen in my works, if you look at them in chronological order.”

We speak the same language and we share the love for creativity. Nina, a creating person, a wonderful woman and a loving mother whom we are glad to know. Towards the end of the interview, Nina comes up with a piece of advice that we agree with:

"My aunt has manifested her artistic skills, and now the turn has come to my generation. You must be humble. I believe you will go far, this way. And of course, still be open and ready to seize opportunities. You should never think that you know it all, from the very beginning of your career. I do actually feel the same way today, as there are still five thousand things that I can be taught. It’s important to stay curious to learning and refinement.”

Thank you Nina for sharing your creativity.

Julie & Marie