Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Recycled heirloom


During WWII the use of national symbols was banned in Norway, so I imagine my grandmother must have been very excited about making a national costume, bunad, for my mother a couple of years after the war. There was still a shortage of supplies at that time, and people had to make do with what they had and recycle and trade, and I think this bunad is a fascinating example. The black wool fabric used for the skirt, vest and bonnet used to be my mom's grandmother's shawl, the printed apron was a Sunday best kerchief from a neighbour, and I remember there was a square filigree brooch that used to be someone's belt buckle. My grandmother did the embroidery and the lace herself.

My mother just headed over to my brother's to deliver her old bunad to her oldest granddaughter who will be the third little girl to wear it on Constitution Day tomorrow. It makes me go all sappy!

I wrote a post last year about Constitution Day and the bunad tradition (scroll down for gorgous bunad pictures from Husfliden).
I don't have a bunad myself, but recently I came into possession of this gorgeous item, so I might have to do something about that:

it's old and battered and in need of a professional cleaning, but it's nevertheless the gilded silver belt my great aunt wore with her bunad, and to me it's invaluable. Most of the time when we talk about the bunad tradition and folk costumes focus is on the fiber, the embroideries, the weaving and the lace, but I think the jewellery is just as interesting. In Norway you never see people wear this kind of jewellery with anything but their bunad, but I have always thought that a belt like this or a big sølje would look fabulous with a simple black dress.

17 comments:

Mama Urchin said...

Wow, that s gorgeous!

kris said...

that bunad is so beautiful! i love the story behind it as well. i don't have a bunad either, but every may i get this longing ... some day!

i used to work in a jewellery store when i was at uni and fell in love with the big, big søljes (hehe søljes, that looks funny). they are just gorgeous.

Mumintroll said...

Oh, that's so beautiful!!!

Elspeth said...

Oh, Marie! Those are so beautiful! I wish I could see the delicate and amazing work in person.

hege said...

What a beautiful bunad! It is a real treasure and the story behind it is very moving. What a time. How happy your mother must have been to wear her bunad. I hope you have a great 17. mai!

I have a sølje and filigree earrings that I wear with other clothes like you said. They look great with a beautiful sweater, too :)

Beth S. said...

Oh, these pictures could have leapt right out of the pages of Poetry in Stitches! :-) How marvelous that you have such a special family heirloom. :-)

Hege said...

Nydelig bunad! Ønsker deg en fin 17.mai i morgen :)

nicole said...

Thanks for sharing your traditions with us. They are beautiful heirlooms and the stories behind them are even better!

Hilde C. said...

What a treasure your family has got! :-)

Anonymous said...

thank you for the photos and information. the bunad is so beautiful! I love your idea of the jewelry & wait to see your photos on it. janetd

jacqueline said...

what a lovely story behind your bunad and what a wonderful family heirloom, apart from the fact that it is stunningly beautiful!

i have a national costume myself (not norwegian obviously) that my mother made for me when i was young and doing folk dancing. although we were living in australia she managed to source all manner of materials to make it look authentic.

in fact i have a black velvet apron that she embroidered with cross stitch flowers...it is amazing she had the patience. i also have some black hand knitted knee high socks which were also embroidered with flowers.

alltangledup said...

it's beautiful. thank you for sharing the history behind your national costume

Strikkelise said...

What a fantastic heirloom. Or two heirlooms, that is!
And a fantastic story about the girl bunad.
I definitely think it's ok to use søljes with other clothes. People should use their beautiful things.

artinreality said...

I totally agree with your notion of using søljer for other things than just bunader. I'm saddened by the fact that I use my søljer so little. In my family everybody knows that I love my bunad, and so I've been given many of the old søljer in my family as inheritance. I would like to use them more often, but I have to say I do not yet have the courage... Maybe soon it'll come? Anyway, thank you for a beautifl post!

vs-r said...

No one in my family here in North American has a bunad, but we do wear søljer. It's the tradition that each bride is given a sølje on her wedding day, which she wears on her wedding dress. Then they are generally worn for special dress-up occasions. We wear a Tronder sølje, with dangling solar wheels. Every time I wear mine, people always ask about it, as it's large and, certainly by California standards, unusual.

Pura said...

I came to your blog through (norwayneedles) and your dress and history of it all are just fantastic.
Greetings from Spain.

randi K design said...

Aldeles nydelig blogg du har! Snykkene dine er saa sarte og fine...

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