By Tanya Silverman
Photo courtesy of Ingvild Waerhaug.
Fusing the earthly aesthetics of “pure Scandinavian nature” with the mythical fantasies of “ancient Goddess cultures,” Ingvild Waerhaug creates women’s clothing as an artistic undertaking.
“My clients describe my style as timeless elegance with an edge,” she expands.
Using eco-friendly, high-quality fabrics, Waerhaug designs one-of-a-kind custom pieces meant to last for years. She accents some of her “wearable art” pieces by brushing cool, subtle spirals or dashes; others she dyes with fiery orbs that look like enlightenment-achieving channels.
Waerhaug designed garments in her native Norway for many years before coming to New York City in 2009.
“So many people stopped me in the streets and complimented my clothes,” she states, “so I decided to get more serious about it.”
As such, Waerhaug set up a studio in Midtown Manhattan, where’s she been for about two years. Within its cozy, brightly lit interior, some tables hold scraps of furry cloth or spools of dark thread, while others are covered with finished, frilly wooly hats. Vertical white boards hold white-paper sketches that map the blueprints of dresses-to-be. Racks are stocked with materialized ones, such as shiny, silky, hand-painted tunics.
An embroidered tail. Photo coutesy of Ingvild Waerhaug.
“I love tails,” she declares as she pulls out one of her handcrafted wooly jackets exhibiting an embroidered version of the organ on its back.
Fabrics aren’t Waerhaug’s only canvas of choice–though she does refer to herself as a “fiber artist” because her large-scale paper installations tend to resemble textiles.
In addition to her personal projects, Waerhaug teaches a number of different courses to students through her NYC Creative Center, including crafty skills like sewing and knitting, or philosophical lessons like “Serious Daydreaming” and “Conscious Creations”.
She’s also an instructor of the Vedic Art technique, a multi-level process she dubs as “freedom of expression.” Vedic Art, according to Waerhaug, does not educate students on stringent technical methods, but helps them learn how to activate their creative selves.
“Often writer’s block or artist’s block is because we’ve gotten stuck in the left brain–the analytical [half],” she reasons. Participants are welcome to pick up their pencils, pens, or paintbrushes and learn how to unleash their internal imaginative beings through the oral guidance of Vedic Art.
Whether it’s flowingly freeing the binds of the mind or skillfully binding chosen fragments of fabrics, Waerhaug communicates and connects beauty through several unique procedures.