How to make a collection - The inspiration

Where does an idea come from?

This is a frequent question I’m asked at the start of a collection and it’s always very difficult to give an answer. Because they are just there. The best ones come when you don’t think about them, and that’s the hardest part, not to think;) This is the story about how the fall 2018 collection came about.

At the end of June 2017, I went to Bilbao with my mother. She wanted to visit the Guggenheim museum and I was her companion of choice. All though I had just been 2 months in New York and had already loads of inspiration and ideas from the big apple I wanted to use, it was this small trip to Bilbao that set the collection off.

The trip started like most trips, - plane, hotel, food, looking at people, looking at old houses and eating local specialties, in this case pintxos. All this as a prelude to the main event – the visit to the Guggenheim Museum. 

The museum itself is a big meandering titan plate covered thing made by the architect Frank O. Gehry. It’s situated along the river Nervion and just to walk around the building and view it from all angels is an event in itself.

Each in our own way, my mother and I was interested in the content of the museum. Her as an artist and me as a designer. Physically, we’re in the same place, but in our heads, we were in two different worlds. After having entered the museum, we forgot about each other as we wandered about in our own thoughts.

The first and biggest piece of art you encounter in the museum is the work of Richard Serra called “Matter of time”. The big walls of steel are bent in different shapes only supported by the balance of their own weight. The walls are placed in a way that makes the walk in between them an experience in itself.

“The last two pieces of this sculpture are created from sections of torus’s and spheres (perfectly round object) that produce different effects on the movement and perception of the viewer. These are unexpectedly transformed as the visitor walks through and around them, creating an unforgettable, dizzying feeling of space in motion. “

And, yes, to walk amongst steel walls that seems to be falling down at you makes you feel really small, dizzy and adds a bit of horror to the walk. The experience was exactly as the artist had intended.

“Serra often constructs site-specific installations, frequently on a scale that dwarfs the observer. His site-specific works challenge viewers’ perception of their bodies in relation to interior spaces and landscapes, and his work often encourages movement in and around his sculptures.”

At the same time, the big walls had interesting surfaces and colors. Surfaces marked by external influences over time.

“The weathering steel he uses takes about 8–10 years to develop its characteristic dark, even patina of rust. The color shifts gradually from grey to orange, until it sets in dark brown color when the oxidation process finishes. When fully oxidized the color will remain relatively stable over the piece's life.”

And this is where the seed of the collection is sown - Key point was Time

Funny thing, the colors of the steel were my own favorite colors. Steel grey towards orange to dark, dark brown.  All the colors were not present at the same time, but came about in time. They didn't stand alone, but needed each other to become themselves. Like, brown steel can’t be brown without having been rusty red before.

The most obvious trigger was of course the title of the work “The Matter of Time” witch for me, pointed to two meanings. First the title points out the importance of time in the sense of allowing your work mature. A must in all creative processes, - also in the fast pacing fashion industry.  Second, only time can reveal the quality of your work. Both the material and the design need to stand the test of time.

Going on my 22nd year as a designer, I sometimes feel that my time as a designer has passed. Not on the basis of the quality of my work, but just because I’m not supposed to stay on as long as I have in this business. Still I feel the experience and extra knowledge I have acquired through the years makes me better. I’m better at seeing the wrongs and rights, thus better at making clothes.

“The Matter of Time” is all about time being a good thing. Time adds more depth and endurance. Not at all unique thought that goes through my mind as I walk in between these walls taking photos while feeling small and dizzy. Still the work of art had touched something very essential in me.


This is a picture of one of the walls. Dark and powerful tones of brown on a cracking surface of steel:

And as I’m walking around thinking about the dilemmas of time, my mother found me and took this photo of me:

I had to laugh a little when I saw it. The strict and black lady with her head full of small and big thoughts taking photos of something very dark. And then, in a totally different light and from another angle the rust color in the steel wall dominates and my silhouette becomes a shape in the shape….. “Supported by the balance of my own weight” … I’ll stop there ;)

These are two of 3 main photos which laid the ground for the prints in the collection.

After having wandered around in the museum for a while, we went outside and for the first time, I saw, or experienced a fog sculpture. Hovering over a small pool alongside the museum wall, was a small misty piece of a cloud. The titan plates covering the museum walls mirrored the cloud and it was difficult to see where the shapely building started and stopped. It was like the world was dissolving. And in a blink, the cloud was gone, and the world was back again. This was Japanese Fujiko Nakayas famous Fog Sculpture #08025 (F.O.G). (F.O.G as a reference to the architect Frank O Gehry who had built the museum as well as the natural phenomenon.)

With this last sculpture, the frames of the collection fell into place. The fog silently wraps up everything, it covers and uncovers time. Time is a split second and it’s all eternity.

Inside the fog is the museum with it’s big, majestic, self-supported walls who’s got time on its side. In between the walls is the worker, like a small ant, always in a hurry.

These three pictures are the building blocks of the collection. I have called them Misty, Erosion and the Worker.

In the next chapter, I will tell you about how this inspiration is used to pick materials, shapes and the making of the print. 

All photos: Eli and Mette Møller