Portrait history about Berit Haga

«SPONTANEOUS PERFECTIONISM»

I have “no” plan, because my work doesn’t end up the way I thought in the first place anyway.

«I am quite curious about why I was supposed to paint geometric style, because I was really bad in math in school when I was young. Perhaps there is an irony here?
I am so humble and grateful, but sometimes it really takes my breath away.
But… I can’t help myself from wondering…
Maybe this is the way I can understand?»

An ended cycle

During the 18 years (1996-2014) that I was doing historically inspired clothing design, the bathtub intuitively became the approach to what I was going to create. With the warmest water as I could stay in, and with candles, incense and Celtic and some floating music, I imported the design from the universe’s creative studio.

Been here before

It has not once occurred to me that I should not carry out my design, texts, photography or painting style as I have received it, and that tells me that I believe in reincarnation. It makes me happy to feel it, but also to think that I carry more and more with me for each life I live. This is how I think I develop because I have a ballast and depth of both good and bad.

It eventually became less fun to be self-taught

Where would I find the right pegs for the historically inspired dresses?

What was I supposed to answer when someone asked where the clothing came from?

And the inferior feeling when I was told that I couldn’t participate in the exhibition because I was self-taught. It got even worse when I asked what it meant… self-taught was the somewhat contemptuous response.

Kept me to myself

Because I have never wanted to be someone who copies others, I needed and had to spend time alone with my work. I didn’t know anyone, and I knew very little about what other designers created, apart from those I met at the fairs I attended around in Norway.

Now I die!

In the period from when I was 6 to when I was 9, I was three times in hospital in Oslo for operations on polyps and tonsils. In those days (I was born in 1962) Ether was the anesthetic and was given with a cloth over the nose from a brown glass bottle of the numbing crap that turned into a nightmare. Every time I thought I was going to die because I felt like I was suffocating and a lion was gaping over my head.

Later the doctor told me that I had been exposed to far too much anesthesia in a short time. I think it has contributed to a lot of problems with fear and anxiety throughout my life, and it probably also characterized an unstable and tough youth.

Those who have experienced getting Ether probably know what I’m talking about.

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

I don’t know, but I think I lost the ability to have a plan, maybe because I struggled with concentration during my years at school, and in my adult life. After all, I «died» three times, and ended up in dangerous situations that I was rescued from quite a few times when I got older, so why have a plan? (The invisible helpers have had to step in many times. And I hope they will be with me for the rest of my life. Been more careful in the last 15 years.)

I lacked the ability to compete with others for jobs in my youth, so when, with the help of my dad, I finally got a job in the telecommunications directorate that I wanted to grow in, I was stopped by a lack of seniority. It led to a period of confusion and finally everything stopped and ended with retraining, but I got nowhere in the health sector that I wanted to work in. So the conclusion is probably that I lacked a part to be able to be chosen, or to fit in , so when suddenly one day out of the blue I started sewing and writing, a new era started 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 thought I could work so intensively and be so sharp, and balance so many balls in the air at the same time. Now I was free in a way I had never felt before, and the collection grew, and the customers came and they were satisfied. I am very proud of the 3 folkore «bunades» in the Norsk Bunadleksikon. I was also able to relate to those who helped me with the sewing, and it worked because I was allowed to create.

Stop!

Everything has an end, and after 18 years, I was stopped by pain all over my body by too much stress with an extremely large amount of work, children, the training to be a yoga teacher and the operation of my shop. Unfortunately, it went that way that in January 2019 I ended up with full disability due to exhaustion syndrome and post-traumatic stress syndrome which led to anxiety attacks on a conveyor belt. Thanks to yoga, I am able to treat myself to a large extent when the attacks come, but I have to constantly be vigilant and notice the early symptoms.

Was this the end now?

That the artist’s life should continue with abstract paintings in acrylic came as a great joy one day after receiving 11 geometric motifs that I call keys in the time just before I became disabled. When I created clothes I used a lot of colours, but this time I was inspired by the invisible helpers and the universe to use only the 3 colours black, white and gold. It basically became completely natural for me to listen to that message.

Try a new colour, Berit

Yes, I tried that, but it was just a mess and simply didn’t work!

High-sensitive

I have heard that’s some nonsense, but I can confirm that it is me, and that is how I receive my life’s task – to create.

As a yoga teacher, I have chosen to move away from the perfect technique, and rather introduce emotions and changes as the most important ingredients in the yoga exercises in something I call Existence Yoga. And, that’s how I sewed, and that’s how I paint, photographing and write in the moment I’m living in right now.

Brave

Maybe I am, and I have been told that I am, but as scared as I am sometimes when I stand in front of a blank canvas, courage feels far away. But, I stand there and can cry… or feel a great happiness because I know that something big is happening now. And the deal with the universe is… Stand in it and accept the message as it is, without correcting it. Have faith in what is coming and what is happening.

Convey something

The way I see it, I feel that what comes to me now when I paint represents a message to be conveyed, and I like the idea about what I do can contribute something, and be of use and be of change for someone. It was the same with the clothes I created and produced.

Tell me, do you make healing clothes?

It’s actually true that people have asked me this, and I still vividly remember a very special instance where a lady heard my voice on the radio when I was being interviewed at an arts and crafts fair. She was sick, and I met her again in a powerful encounter many years later, healthy and so beautiful. «The energy of your work and your outfit saved me,» she told me. She’s an artist too.

My writing during these years from when I started sewing, came sliding on a banana peel with poems and resulted in the novel «De mystiske hjerteslagene» (2022). In usual style, I am responsible for the whole process, as outside help was out of the question due to financial scarcity. But, I thought that if I managed to get 3 folklore «bunades» in the Norsk Bunadleksikon, then I should be able to make a book as well.

Wiped the tears

When I stopped feeling sorry for myself, and the anger I needed became strong enough, I dried my tears, found help via the internet, and made a book. The process probably took 7 years. That’s it – done! (The novel would have benefited from a language wash.)

Create every day!

Yes, I really mean it. Whatever I do, I create something because it is the driving force and the true joy in my life besides my children.

Berit Haga – an artist