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“Tracing soft History”, the Summer Exhibition at the Norwegian Women’s Museum

Summer 2019, the temporary exhibition at the Norwegian Women’s Museum is about traditional women’s needlework, fashion and redesign. “Wear ‘women’s history’ with pride! Thanks’ to the women who lived before us”, is the slogan of the cultural stylist, artist and curator Makeløs Kristin E. Halkjelsvik.

Halkjelsvik comes from a family connected to fashion, her sister being a former catwalk model, and she is herself passionate about designing new outfits. The artist is a collector of traditional women’s needlework, like old embroidered table cloths, pillows, different kinds of lace, as well as second hand design outfits. She despairs when observing how poor yesterday’s soft treasures are evaluated in our contemporary society. Needlework that our foremothers spent hundreds of hours to make, are given away for nothing on second hand shops, or are hidden away in the back of our closets and drawers. Meanwhile, people keep on buying new textiles and clothes of poor quality at an increasing level, in spite of the textile industry’s many environmentally and ethically problems.  Halkjelsvik’s project is to combine her two passions and inspire us to re-evaluate traditional women’s needlework and to use it. You don’t have to buy new stuff to wear something new, is her message, it is better to spend money on quality products. Old handcraft and second hand textiles are of a much better quality then today’s products. Halkjelsvik wants us to have fun with all the precious colours and patterns in our foremother’s soft treasures.

The exhibition “Tracing soft History” opened the 1st of June with a catwalk with models from the local dance studio JUMP! showing some of Halkjelsvik’s creations, and a speech from Ph.D. professor Ingun Grimstad Klepp about textile traditions and sustainability. The exhibition can be seen until end September 2019.

Ingun K, Kristin EH, Mona H

 

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