Archive | June, 2011

Fascinating beads!

30 Jun

Ugandan beads

These Ugandan beads have always fascinated me. If my memory serves me right, I didn’t really know what they were made from the first time I saw them. All I remember is the Ugandan female population going crazy for them. When I was finally told the material from which they are made I could not help but think I was being taken for a ride. ‘Paper, yeah right!’ I thought to myself. It was hard for me to believe that something that beautiful and unique is made from tiny rolled up pieces of paper. In my defense I think my disbelieve was with good reason because…. well, its hard to explain but trust me if you didn’t know it would be pretty hard to guess. Any way, I am proud to say that the beads are still a big hit in Uganda and since they are Eco friendly, its a big thumbs up for Uganda for keeping up with the Eco friendly fashion that is THE trend.

The material used is colorfull magazine paper. The basic steps are or look easy(Have not tried it myself) but from all the instructions I have seen on line, non gets it to look like the ones from Uganda. Maybe its some secret of theirs. For the basic how to, follow this link, Thumbs up to anyone who gets it perfect. You can also play around with different shapes and sizes once you have grasped the concept. So, the next time you think about trashing that magazine, think twice, and it doesn’t have to be paper beads, use your imagination, come up with new ideas for things to create from the pages.

Hard to tell that these are made from paper.

Always remember:

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.


From Pull tab to hand bag.

29 Jun

I catch myself saying or thinking, “This is my coolest most creative find ever!”, every time I check out the websites of the designers  who exhibited at the Useful  exhibition in Bergen (It’s still on for any one who can make it and is worth the trip). Funny thing is so far everything I discover is the coolest most creative thing ever. This bag……… still speechless!  The moment I walked close to the area in which it was on display in the exhibition room, the other bags around it disappeared (like in the chic flicks, when this guy enters the ball room and all but his attraction disappear….) any way at first glance it looked like an ordinary eye-catching silver metallic bag. Closer scrutiny revealed the material from which it was made, pull tabs!!!!! and it looked that good? WOW!

the pull tab handbag shown at the 'Useful' exhibition

So, I  checked out the website and discovered where the magic happens.

I will always be impressed. I have to control myself though because every time I am about to trash garbage I take a second look at it and wonder what can be made from it. It’s a good thing if I am able to control myself otherwise I will end up clinging to all my trash in the name of recycle. If you check out the link you will know what I mean. Materials like candy wrappers  and news papers are also used to make clutch bags. Any way, don’t want to be a spoiler so you really have to check the website out.

Little splashes of color.

27 Jun

Norway has got very beautiful nature, when summer comes, its like the flowers are out to prove a point.  It’s like they are making up for all the time(winter) that they were unable to show off their beauty. Looking at them really makes me feel good and sometimes reminds me of home. Its funny but I actually didn’t appreciate the beauty of flowers when I was at home in Uganda as much as I do now that I am in Norway. I don’t even know their names, all I know is they are perfectly beautiful.

Presenting to you, Norwegian beauties


Most beautiful flower ever (in my opinion)

Every single day this summer come rains or sunshine makes up for the shock of my first winter experience. I will miss these beauties when summer ends. For now though, am taking it all in.

“Useful” art exhibition II

26 Jun

Ever since I attended the “Useful” art exhibition in Bergen I have been discovering and learning more and more about the designers and companies that exhibited recycle products. I am also learning a lot of ways in which sustainability can be achieved. One lesson among the many  is that scraps of fabric that may seem unimportant can have a lot of value. Camilla Hounsell has proved this with her  furniture design. She recycles scraps of upholstery fabric into  strips of ribbon which she uses to make beautiful furniture .

tube wrapped in colourful ribbons of recycled textiles used for upholstery. By Camilla Hounsell

Beautifully combined fabrics

I have always found it hard to throw away even the smallest piece of fabric when am doing my tailoring and  sometimes find myself sorting through loads of bags of off-cuts to find usable ones and throw out the rest in order to make room in my work shop. I sometimes think that it is one of those weird habits people always associate designers with, but I have learnt and been consoled that my habit is in fact sustainability related. For more designs from Camilla, visit her website,enjoy and be inspired.

‘Usefull’ art exhibition launch at the Permanenten vestlandske Kunstindustrimuseum (Industrail art museum)

20 Jun

One of the most interesting art events I have attended so far is the launch of the ‘Usefull’ redesign Exhibition on the 1st of june 2011 at the Permanenten Vestlandske  museum of industrial art in Bergen. It was also the first Exhibition I have attended that is solely devoted to Redesign. Every single item that is shown is a recycled product. A wide range of materials like glass, ceramics, metal,  wood, plastic, paper and textiles were recycled into usable products. It is really good to see that people(mostly designers) have a growing interest in design. Simply put, recycle is now trendy and the cool thing to be associated with. Most industrial designers are now “tree hugers”. This is so encouraging especially since I work with redesign. It is said that one by one makes a bundle so the more designers promote recycle, the more the general public will be aware of it and ready to participate.  And in the long run this is good for the environment.

Wow! products                                                                                              

The Hairy Growler’ Jewellery Co.

This redesign company, I really liked. This was one of my favorite products. You have just got to visit their website.

Spoon to brooch

Brooch curved out of an antique spoon.

 Terra Plana  for the shoe lovers

Whoever imagines that trendy and eco-friendly don’t go hand in hand is truly mistaken.Terra Plana  goes to lengths to put comfort, quality durability and style in a pair of shoes to create sustainable design.

Eco friendly shoes.

Helga Sobakken

See her dresses.

Helga is one of the Fashion designers that have inspired me to great lengths  in the field of redesign. I have been following her blog( for a while now and I was really excited to meet her and actually get to see her redesigned dresses.  This was the highlight of the day!

I finally meet Helga Solbakken in person!

A Helga B redesign Dress made from Men's shirts (center front)

Designs by Helga S

I am also proud that Fretex Redesign presented some of its  Recycle products.

Redesign blouses by Fretex Redesign

Ralston & Bau also exhibited some products in collaboration with Fretex Redesign. To find out more about Ralston & Bau and to see more photos taken by Dag Fosse from the exhibition launch visit


Beads for Education(BfE) is a Kwempe Home Care(KHC) project.  It is a community based organisation in Kampala(Uganda) that provides support for Women who have been directly or indirectly affected by HIV/AIDS. The recycled paper beads are made by the Ugandan women and exported to various countries including Norway for fair trade to maximize the women’s benefit from them. These women use the money they get from selling beads to support their families and send their children to school. I was really happy to see Ugandan products at the exhibition. These necklaces are not only eco friendly but are also  a means to eradicate poverty.

Paper beads from Uganda

To find out more about this project and to view more paper bead products follow this link

There was a lot to see and a lot to learn which I can’t share in one post so…. to be continued

Green and brown

16 Jun

Here are some dresses I designed with inspiration from the Ugandan earthy tones/ colors.

Elegant Maxi

Wind blown green

Green bubble

 Being in Norway Has taught me that one can never really appreciate what one has untill it is taken away. Case in point, the greenery in Uganda, really miss that. I am by no means implying that it does not get green in Norway because it does and when its summer, its like the rainbow exploded and splashed its colors on the whole country. Difference is that it is always green and warm in Uganda and I prefer that. I however love the changes in natures colors that comes with every season in Norway.  Though winter is not my best season, it has colors that are only unique to it, white and shades of gray. It is beautiful especially if you are sitting in a warm house with a hot cup of coco and looking at it through a window.  Autumn colors are also really lovely, the yellows, reds, browns and oranges that become of the leaves can bring about a general feeling of warmth just before winter. I am yet to experience this. Maybe I will get inspired.

Inspiration night at Fretex Mariero Butikken in Stavanger

9 Jun



The Fretex Mariero Butik in Stavanger hosted an inspirational event on 12 may 2011 which I had the opportunity of attending. The main Aim of this event was to promote recycle or up cycle and inspire creativity.


Garden furniture redesign By Magny J of Fretex redesign.



Redesigned items


Re-upholstered chair by Hege Karlsen



Redesigned Records by Hildegunn U


Chair reupholstered using men's ties by Hildegunn U


Cushion cover design by Johanne Matre

One of the things that these ladies had in common was the need to preserve Norwegian  cultural items like Knitted fabrics, Decorated linens and other items  by reusing them as opposed to throwing them away. For example, fabrics that are hand knitted, sewn or decorated with typical Norwegian styles and designs  and were made by the older generation need to be preserved. A lot of items with these precious fabrics are given to Fretex on a daily basis or worse thrown away. In the long run if this continues a big part of Norwegian culture will be lost.  The solution to this was expressed in the redesign items that were shown on that day. To get inspired, follow this link to the Boutique’s Face book page

Getting to know Fretex II

7 Jun
My first day at Fretex was a mixture of anticipation and nerves. I was so eager to work for a large company after having been only self-employed for 2 years. I was also really nervous because I knew that I had to learn a completely new system of doing things in a completely new language which would make the learning process slower. Fortunately every one  was patient with me and kind enough to speak to me in English but I have to say I really wanted and still want to learn more Norsk (otherwise I miss out on those interesting lunch time conversations). Upside to all this is I am now starting to understand more and more every day, I still can’t contribute to a Norsk conversation but I know I will get there someday.

My office space


So anyway, as first days at work go, I was given the grand tour to all the departments and finally shown to my office space. “My office space, ”I had not had an ‘office space’ before, I had only had a ‘work shop’ with a sewing machine, fabrics, sewing tools…. the works but not an office space with a desk, computer… basically everything that comes with an office, plus a redesign workshop. Now the redesign workshop I really liked. It is fully equipped with all the equipment and tools a designer would need to get really creative, I knew I would be in my element there.
The highlight of my first day was actually seeing all the recycle products that I had only seen in pictorial form. Below are some of these products but there were actually more products than I can show on one page.


Photo by Fretex

More cute leather products


Tunic made out of a blend of traditional Norwegian table Linens and silk fabric.


Cushion cover made from silk scarf


It felt really good to finally be at Fretex. It had been a long wait filled with anticipation but I was finally there. So my first day at work went by really fast or maybe I think it did because there was too much to learn for one day. I actually found that at the end of every day for that first week I was really tired but in a good way (information overload) for there was surely a lot to learn.

 More Interesting things I learnt about Fretex redesign

Fretex Redesign Presented a fabulous collection at the 2009 Oslo Fashion week.  It was a blend of vintage outfits and redesign outfits. The color theme was amazing, fabulous even. I also like the fact that there was no clear distinction between the redesign and the non redesign outfits.

Fretex also Presented its self  in the most unusual way during the 2011 Oslo fashion week.
When I watched the video, I was very impressed and full of laughter. I can just imagine exiting a subway to find myself on a fashion runway! Wonder how I would react. Involving the public in a publicity stunt, big thumbs up and wise thinking. It is seeing things like this that makes me really proud to be part of Fretex Redesign.

* You would achieve more, if you don’t mind who gets the credit.