Portrait history about Berit Haga

«Spontaneous Perfectionism»

I don’t have a plan because my work never turns out the way I initially envisioned it anyway. It makes me wonder why I was expected to paint in a geometric style when I struggled with math in school. Perhaps there’s an irony here? I feel both humble and grateful, but sometimes it truly takes my breath away. Yet, I can’t help but wonder if this is my way of understanding.

An Ended Cycle

Throughout the span of 18 years (1996-2014), while immersed in historical clothing design, I found inspiration in an unexpected place—the bathtub. Creating in the warmest water I could tolerate, surrounded by candles, incense, and the gentle melodies of Celtic and ambient music, I imported designs from the universe’s creative studio.

Been Here Before

Never once have I considered abandoning my unique approach to design, writing, photography, or painting. This belief in following my creative instincts hints at my belief in reincarnation. The idea brings me joy, as I imagine carrying with me more knowledge and experiences from each life I live. It is through this continuous growth, encompassing both the good and the bad, that I believe I evolve.

The Decline of Self-Taught Satisfaction

As time went on, being self-taught became less enjoyable. Where could I find the right resources for historically inspired dresses? How should I respond when asked about the origin of my clothing? The feeling of inferiority intensified when I was denied participation in an exhibition due to being self-taught. The term itself was met with a somewhat disdainful response, deepening my discouragement.

Kept to Myself

Refusing to be a mere imitator, I dedicated extensive time to working alone. I had limited connections within the design community and was largely unaware of other designers’ creations, except for the occasional encounters at the fairs I attended in Norway.

Now I Face Mortality

Between the ages of 6 and 9, I underwent three operations on my polyps and tonsils, requiring hospital visits in Oslo. During that era (I was born in 1962), Ether was used as the anesthetic, administered through a cloth placed over the nose from a brown glass bottle containing the numbing substance. This experience turned into a nightmare, as I constantly felt as if I were suffocating, with a looming sense of impending death and a lion’s maw poised above me.

When my soul needs peace

Later, the doctor informed me that I had been exposed to an excessive amount of anesthesia within a short period. This experience likely contributed to the many fears and anxieties I’ve faced throughout my life, shaping an unstable and challenging youth. Those who have undergone Ether anesthesia might understand the profound impact it can have.

So, what does all of this have to do with design, art, and writing?

To be honest, I’m not entirely sure. However, I believe that my struggles with concentration during my school years and adulthood, coupled with my «near-death» experiences and frequent rescues as I grew older, made me question the need for rigid plans. Invisible helpers have come to my aid on numerous occasions, and I hope they continue to watch over me for the rest of my life (I’ve been more cautious in the last 15 years).

In my youth, I lacked the ability to compete for jobs with others. Even when my father helped me secure a position in the telecommunications directorate, which I hoped to grow in, my lack of seniority prevented progress. This led to confusion and, eventually, a dead end, pushing me towards retraining. Unfortunately, my attempts to enter the health sector went nowhere. So, the conclusion seems to be that I lacked something necessary to be chosen or fit in. Then, one day out of the blue, I discovered sewing and writing, marking the beginning of a new era for me.


«I am educated by freedom and the diversity of creation. The love and the soul help to create a wonderful creation!»Berit Haga

I never imagined I could work with such intensity, be so focused, and juggle so many responsibilities simultaneously. I felt a newfound freedom that I had never experienced before. My collection grew, customers came, and their satisfaction made me immensely proud. The inclusion of three folkloric «bunades» in the Norsk Bunadleksikon holds a special place in my heart. I was able to connect with those who assisted me in sewing because I was given the opportunity to create.

But then, it all came crashing down.

Everything has its end, and after 18 years, the stress from an overwhelming workload, raising children, training to become a yoga teacher, and managing my shop took a toll on my body. Widespread pain and exhaustion led to a disability due to exhaustion syndrome and post-traumatic stress disorder in January 2019. Anxiety attacks became a constant conveyor belt in my life. Fortunately, thanks to yoga, I can manage and treat myself to a large extent when these attacks occur. However, I must remain vigilant and recognize the early symptoms.

Was this the end?

Just as I wondered if my artistic journey had reached its conclusion, the joy of abstract acrylic paintings came to me. It began when I received 11 geometric motifs, which I now refer to as «keys,» shortly before my disability.

When I was creating clothes, I embraced a multitude of colors. However, this time, the invisible helpers and the universe inspired me to use only three colors: black, white, and gold. It felt entirely natural for me to heed that message. Perhaps it was the colors of the cosmos that I was handed?

I attempted to incorporate new colors, as suggested, but it resulted in a chaotic and unsuccessful outcome. It simply didn’t work!

Highly Sensitive

Some may dismiss it as nonsense, but I can confirm that I am highly sensitive, and it is through this sensitivity that I receive my life’s purpose—to create.

As a yoga teacher, I have intentionally moved away from pursuing perfect technique. Instead, I emphasize emotions and change as the essential components in my yoga practice, which I refer to as «Silent Yin & Yang movements.» This approach also extends to my sewing, painting, photography, and writing—each expression is captured in the present moment I’m living in.


Perhaps I am brave, as some have told me, but when I face a blank canvas, fear often looms large. Nonetheless, I stand before it, sometimes shedding tears, or experiencing immense happiness because I know something significant is unfolding. The deal with the universe is to stand in that moment and accept the message as it is, without attempting to correct it. I have faith in what is coming and what is happening.

Conveying Something

From my perspective, the paintings that emerge now carry a message to be shared. I find fulfillment in the idea that my creations can contribute, be useful, and instigate change for someone. This same sentiment applied to the clothes I designed and produced.

Tell me, do you create healing clothes?

It’s quite true that people have asked me this very question. I vividly recall a remarkable encounter with a lady who heard my voice on the radio during an interview at an arts and crafts fair. At that time, she was unwell. Many years later, we crossed paths again, and she appeared healthy and exuded beauty. She told me, «The energy of your work and your outfit saved me.» She, too, is an artist.

During the years following my venture into sewing, my writing took an unexpected turn, gliding on a banana peel of poems and ultimately culminating in the novel «De mystiske hjerteslagene» (2022). True to my usual style, I took full responsibility for the entire process, as external assistance was not an option due to financial constraints. But, I reasoned that if I could achieve three folklore «bunades» in the Norsk Bunadleksikon, then I should be capable of creating a book as well.

Drying my tears

Once I stopped wallowing in self-pity and harnessed the anger that I needed, I wiped away my tears, sought help through the internet, and embarked on the journey of making a book. The process likely spanned seven years. And there it was—done! (The book is now undergoing the necessary proofreading, and is being translated into English.)

Thank you

Creating every day!

Yes, I genuinely mean it. Whatever I undertake, I imbue it with creativity because it is the driving force and the ultimate source of joy in my life, alongside my children.

Berit Haga—an artist