It was the abundance and potential of objects which drew Magnhild and her husband Robert, who runs the studio, to London in the first place. An avid eBayer- which was incidentally the birthplace of her avatar Damselfrau; Magnhild animatedly recalls seeing a daytime television program wherein a woman sought and found 400-year-old floorboards for her flat, in a salvage shop on Old Street. “I thought, I want to go where you can buy 400-year-old floorboards!” to London, the “ghost of an empire” which so sharply contrasts with Norway, a haven of modern design.
“I started working with masks pretty quickly after I moved to London,” she tells me, as her craftsmanship initially developed from the glamour and flamboyance that London’s club scene offered. Creating the pieces solely for partying quickly became lack-lustre, though, but Magnhild had realised the richness and therapeutic nature of textiles. Suffering from ADD, the mask-making artistry was a great means of focussing her creative mania, all the while entering “a feminine culture of craftsmanship. I learn through women,” she says, often using Youtube to watch clips of housewives, especially in America. “They’re so hungry to maintain a domestic culture,” she remarks as we discuss the value attached to a crafted, indulgent object. “It’s very baroque and over-informed. I don’t plan anything, I don’t draw, it just doesn’t sit right until it’s informed so much,” with the rich visual language of textiles evidenced in the intricate embroidery and masses of beading.