Tuesday, December 16, 2008

on a handmade mission...

My bunad is just about finished and I needed to buy the silver bits and pieces , and jewelry (called søljer) for it. I could have gone to the nearest mall, and spent a total of 30 minutes on this errand. But them I would have missed this ferry ride on a pale and cold December afternoon

and I would have missed this picturesque island with the mountains and the fjords in the distance:

and in the middle of farms and fields, a silversmith:

who makes his søljer entirely by hand, using traditional methods. When I hesitated and couldn't decide if I should go for silver or gold plated, he offered to switch out all the leaves for me at a ridiculously low price if I should change my mind later.

The point here is that the Norwegian bunads are a very strictly regulated area, and you can't just choose any jewelry you like. So technically I'm not supposed to choose gold plated jewelry for my bunad. But I'm doing it anyway, because I have inherited a gold plated belt that belongs to a bunad from a different region, and I needed something to match it. And while everybody agrees that you can't make individual choices with your bunad, most people would also agree that using something old would override these rules. The beauty of buying handmade is that this guy uses the same base for the søljer from these two regions, only the leaves are different. If I decide later that I need more gold, he told me I could drop by later and have the belt buckle gold plated too, because he does it the gold plating himself. Perfect! Nothing beats handmade!

The last picture shows the buttons for the shirt collar, and the chain to tie the bodice. There's also a silver belt buckle, a cape buckle, a shawl pin, a frame lock for the purse and cuff links.

When I came home I took a second look at my old belt, and realised it's so faded and worn that I just can't use it in it's present condition. I have e-mailed the silvermith a picture and asked if it is possible to gold plate the whole thing over again, but he couldn't really tell from the picture. I'm going to drop by with it in the Spring. To be continued...

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