At the beginning of the year 2021 Lisbeth Bergo, a Selje local, shared with Julia Kröner Venø from Venø Gård KUNST her idea of creating a knitted sweater with the historic Selje cloister as a motif for their catwalk event STRIKKET! in August 2021.
Bjørn Jensen, project manager at Selja, drew Julia’s attention to a beautiful drawing from 1867 by the German-Norwegian painter and architect Franz Wilhelm Schiertz (1813-1887). It depicts the tower and the west wing of Selja monastery and sanctuary. The drawing was probably made during the first excavations in the monastery facility in 1866-67 led by Captain Otto Krefting and by the two sons of Provost Wilhelm Frimann Koren, August and Wilhelm Koren. The drawing clearly shows an overgrown monastery with small trees and shrubs falling into decay. The drawing is an important resource and has helped with the restoration of the cloister.
124 years later, two Germans, Julia Kröner Venø from Venø Gård KUNST and Melanie Bröder from Atelier Öe based in London, used this drawing of the monastery ruins as inspiration to create a knitting pattern. Melanie’s concept was to create a contemporary and graphic lead pattern design, incorporating traditional Norwegian knit elements into a simple knit pattern.
They partnered with local sheep farmer Inger Falkevik from Norfjordull to promote a truly local product, only available in Stad Kommune that carries the local history in a contemporary way.
Inger's sheep go outside all year round, with access to extra food in the winter. They are good at utilising the pasture, light on the foot and good mother animals with a strong herd instinct. It is important that production takes place within as short a distance and local as possible. She sends Autumn wool to Selbu spinning mill in Klæbu. They wash, card and spin wool in the various natural colours. Inger also has a small selection of plant-dyed yarns in addition to the natural colours.
The tote bag with the outline of the Selje cloister ruins is produced in Selje by Julia in the former shirt factory facilities, now UniformPartner AS, using fabric and trim from the old stock of the factory. The heart logo is the symbol of the strong collaborative unity.
Local heritage living on in the 21st century.