Observing the Troll in it’s Natural Environment

One of the most anticipated parts of my trip to Copenhagen was, of course, to see how Trollbeads was represented in the local stores and in particular to visit their flagship store in Tivoli Gardens.

Tivoli is a pleasure garden in the European tradition, with manicured flower beds, immaculately trimmed trees, limestone gravel paths, fountains and various pavillions.  The overall theme is one of the fantastical orient, and so there are onion domes, miniature minarets and even a hotel that feels very “Arabian Nights”.  There are carnival amusement rides for children and an impressive array of open air concerts for those with more adult taste.

Trollbeads’ shop is modest in size, but fits beautifully into this whimsical environment.  The design of the shop is simple, with the boldly patterned floor taking center stage.  The floor features various motifs that appear in the Trollbeads line, including signs of the Western and Chinese zodiacs, animals, and foliage.  A few beautifully presented displays meet you at the door, and a work bench on one side attests to the craftsmen that sometimes demonstrate their lampwork glass skills in the shop.

One of each bead pattern, both silver and glass are displayed in the glass counter case, each nestled in its own little box.  On the counter is a basket of bundles of uniques.  They are grouped in sixes, but may be sold as individuals.  Naturally, I had to take my time and carefully review the entire basketful!  Only a very few precious beads came home with me, as special reminders of the pilgrimage, but it was inspiring to see and feel how Trollbeads presents their own wares.  A special thanks to the lovely ladies who patiently helped me make my choices, and then surprised me with a gift of a bead for my own bracelet!

Tivoli aside, I was surprised to see that most shops in Copenhagen that carry Trollbeads seem to have less stock on hand, and less appreciation for Trollbeads than we do at Tartooful.  Inquiries were met with a casual wave in the direction of the Trollbeads rack, where beads were grouped by silver or glass and hardly any display bracelets or necklaces were on view.  I can’t imagine greeting a Trollbeads customer in this way – we’re always interested to hear about her collection, see what she had done with her bracelet or necklace today, or find out what special occasion is being marked by this bead!  The shops in Copenhagen that seem to be treating Troll as just another jewellery product are missing out on a wonderfully creative and personal experience.  Perhaps we should give them the benefit of the doubt… perhaps they were just having an off day.

My Troll hunting expedition to has made me both appreciate what we have, and are doing right… and has inspired me to do even better….


To the Land of the Troll & Back Again.

As many of our readers know, I’ve just returned from a few days in Copenhagen and Malmo… (I’m really so lucky!)

I love to go on these trips.   It’s a hurricane of preparations before we leave, arranging for the children’s care, a housesitter, Teemo’s care (Thank you so much, Cristi!) and of course, someone to mind the store and help our ladies on my regular days.  (And again, the wonderful Cristi…  Really, what would I do without you?)

However, despite the cost, time, hassle and stress – it’s worth it.  Thanks to the far reaching gaze of the internet we can know visit cities virtually, using google maps and other tools, so we can see the architecture, the colours, and the layout of the place… but it’s not the same experience.

On these trips I find so much inspiration, and I never fail to reset my aesthetic standards.  It puts to rest any thought of compromise, and makes me want to try harder, find better products, present them more beautifully, and provide a better experience for Tartooful’s customers.

…But the real secret is, it’s the tiny details that inspire me.  The grand avenues, legendary flagship stores and extraordinary architecture are gorgeous, and absolutely give me joy.  However, it’s the simple gesture that elevates the everyday to the divine that never fails to truly inspire me.  For example, in the photo at right, the curves, combined with the subtle and perfect range of tone on tone on tone absolutely sings to me.  If I turned and looked the other way, the view was an astonishing formal garden and palace, but this is the photo I wanted.

To see the everyday life and tiny details of a place, I love to simply walk.  I’ll pore over the map in the morning, get a feel for the overall layout of a place and set myself a few possible objectives.  Beyond that, I simply walk.  And walk.  And Walk.

I meander the streets, popping into odd courtyards, pausing in little parks, sipping coffee where the locals do and asking friendly shop keepers where they think I should wander next.  It’s so much more interesting off the the beaten track.

We stayed at the Fox hotel, a project in which artists create a complete art environment in each room.  There are many similar projects around the world now, but this one retains its credibility as an original idea, with strong artistic independence and integrity.  Our room was spare and minimalist, inspired by raw and unfinished feel of a construction site, or an abandoned industrial area.  Despite the description, it was serene, light filled and comfortable – and came at a very reasonable price compared to the more typical chain hotels.

Greg & I were amazed by the simple and bold lines of the new Royal Library.  So very Scandinavian, with it’s black form against the clear blue sky, and such perfect landscape architecture framing it, giving it the breathing room it needs in the heart of the city.

…But when we meandered the tiny, limestone gravel lined pathways to find the oldest section of the library, we found a traditional European garden, with ancient pillars filled with flowers, a crumbling fountain, flowering fruit trees and this charming cottage.

…So my feet are a little bruised, and my trusty, comfy camper boots are a little scuffed, but my creative soul is recharged, and I can’t wait to pour all my creative energy into Tartooful!

Stay tuned, as in my next post I’ll tell you all about my experience of Trollbeads in it’s home city of Copenhagen…


Trollbeads Update: Road Trip!

Today I am leaving for my first, official Trollbeads Road Trip… a journey to the place where the magic happens: Copenhagen, Denmark.  I plan to take long walks through the streets, soak in the atmosphere of the town, and try to scratch the surface of this fascinating place.

Of course, no trip to Copenhagen would be complete for a dedicated Trollbeads collector without a visit to the already-fabled Trollbeads shop at Tivoli Gardens.  This pleasure garden in the heart of the city features the only shops owned by Trollbeads themselves, and are well known for offering uniques, ambers and even stones that are simply unavailable elsewhere.  I’ll be making the pilgrimage with a little list in hand of very special beads that our dearest Trollies have been wishing for.  Hopefully I’ll return with hard-to-find treasures!

However, we don’t have to go that far for inspiration:  every day I’m astonished by the beautiful compositions that our local collectors have created… and they inspire me to constantly re-design my own bracelets and necklace.  After seeing EO’s “Jade & Fresh Cream” bracelet I decided to shuffle my beads and see if I could build something similar:

This is the brilliance of Troll:  even when I’m consciously trying to create something similar to EO’s latest bracelet, I still end up giving it my own personal twist.  While my version may *feel* the same, or have the same aesthetic mood, it’s nevertheless distinctly my bracelet.  The beads that are strung on this chain each have a meaning that is personal to me… a story of who gave it to me, or when I picked it out… on which occasion, or to mark what tiny battle or celebration.  So while I enjoy the new colour combination and feel like I have a fresh piece of jewellery – I still can savour having my dear and familiar companion beads on my wrist.

Clockwise from clasp:  “Unique Green Prism”,  “Brown Dot (retired)”, “Green Jade – limited Edition Chinese Series”, “Etruscan (retired)”, “Organic Bubble”, “Unique Amber”, “Labradorite”, “Smiling Cylinder”, “White Paper Fold”, “Sparrow”, “Picasso Jasper – limited Edition Stone”, “Grey Armadillo”, “Wildcat”, “Bee on Hive (retired)”, “Blue Desert”, “Green Dot (retired)”, “Limited Edition Peacock Pearl”.

Wish me good luck on my Trollhunting Road Trip – and see you soon!