Trollbeads Inspiration: Simply Unforgettable


Simply Unforgettable.

We keep a copy of the Trollbeads coffee table book in the gallery, and even though I have read through it so many times, I still find inspiration in its pages.


IMG_6709Isn’t this a marvellous quotation by Lisa Aagaard?  It offers a tiny glimpse into the depth of her appreciation for her chosen medium of glass.  Whatever small understanding I have of the glass of Trollbeads… it must be dwarfed by the massive, masterful comprehension of the Trollbeads designers.  Only with a deep vision like this can collection after collection of phenomenal designs be created.

IMG_6703Three greats:  “Azure Bubbles”, “Dewdrops” and “Blue Desert”

IMG_6704Reading the words over once again, I think that here Lise has elegantly distilled the ongoing appeal of the glass.  This is the secret:  every time one glances at a favorite glass bead, one savors again the beauty and the detail of the design.  The subtle, shifting colours, the way the light seems to glow from within, the magical bubbles floating in the

depths… it all adds up to a delightful experience.  Aren’t we lucky, to be able to carry with us such a lovely little moment, to be enjoyed again any time that we choose?


This simple pleasure never fails to delight me…

IMG_6713What truly astonishes me, however, is how much I enjoy other peoples’ bead collections.  In other words, I don’t even need to own the bead in order to have that lovely visual experience.  It’s a simple, uncomplicated appreciation of something truly lovely.  It just makes me happy.


…Happiness on a silver chain… simply unforgettable.


Trollbeads Road Trip: Back from Vegas!

We’re back!

Cristi and I have returned from our trip to Las Vegas, where we attended the 2012 Trollbeads Conference and Academy.  This extraordinary event is a time for the international “family” of Trollbeads to gather and exchange ideas and information.  We heard the latest Trollbeads ideas and news, learned more about the history of Trollbeads, got to know some of our fellow retailers from around the world, and were honoured to meet our hosts – the family and artists who created the designs we love so well.

Lise Aagaard, Cristi, Cathy & Peter Aagaard

We were very interested to hear the idea of the “Family of Trollbeads” repeated throughout the event.  It seems that something special is happening when ladies gather to play with Trollbeads’ tiny treasures – not only at Tartooful, but at little family owned galleries around the world.  This was not a sales conference… it was a love-in, where the call to action was to play, create, love and enjoy!  They were preaching to the converted.

Cathy & Cristi meet Soren Nielsen, Trollbeads designer and silversmith.

Perhaps it is our particular passion for art and design, but we found the insights into the creative and technical processes to be especially interesting.  It was wonderful to be able to meet and speak with the various family members, and to watch and listen as Soren, Lise, Isabel and Nicolas worked on silver and glass beads.   (There’s so much to tell, I’ll share more about the studio demonstration in a separate post…)

Cristi played up the drama of her necklace for the Gala Dinner

Of course, the question we have heard most since we have returned is: “yes, but tell us about the beads!”… “what were the Trollies wearing?”  “What did Trollbeads show?”  …And most importantly, “did we bring anything home?!”

Well… the Trollies wore amazing collections, displayed with great creativity.  If I learned anything from seeing all the Trollbeads finery, it was to wear the beads fearlessly and with originality.  String together multiple leather bracelets to create a long, boho-chic necklace… Wear multiples of one silver bead such as “Frames” for graphic punch… and wear what you truly love.  Witness Lise’s necklace, shown above, which contains so many uniques  – both silver and glass.  She wore the same composition throughout the day and evening, and it’s clearly her highly personal collection.  Wouldn’t it be fun to sit down quietly with a glass of tea (or wine!) to hear the stories of these beads?

The Trollbeads designed displays were also very inspiring… they showed beads used in ways that we don’t usually imagine – such as these two “Black Spinel”, suspended on a necklace with simple silver stoppers…

They also used beads extensively that we often overlook.  For example, “Snowflake Obsidian” was used repeatedly, in this necklace, in their “Urban Jungle” bracelet design and in many other compositions.  Oddly I had just ordered one in for Tartooful – and it’s already gone!  Must order this design more often!

I loved this necklace composition that features some of my favorite colours, cinnamon and raspberry pink – blended with the luxury of warm gold.  Once again, the designer has repeated the “Gold Endless” and “Mini Heart” for drama – and has used the tiny heart design in a way that I never imagined.  Wonderful.

With such a rainbow of colour in the Trollbeads collection, it’s easy to overlook the soft natural tones.  However, this lovely and very wearable bracelet in chocolate brown is an excellent reminder of how satisfying the neutral palette can be.

In an exciting announcement, Trollbeads introduced a new self sustaining community project that began recently in Malawi.  Similar to the Tibetan project, this endeavor provides training, supplies and equipment to local artisans, as well as a market for their products going forward.  The Malawi beads are absolutely gorgeous glass uniques with a particularly African flair… and are going to be favorites with the Tartooful ladies.  We have a very special preview of the beads at Tartooful – come pay them a visit!

Finally, the Aagaard – Nielsen family very generously gave a special gift to each person attending the gala dinner:  a never before seen silver Trollbead!  Appropriate to the locale, it’s a tiny deck of cards that was designed long ago by their father, Svend, but it was never introduced to the collection.  Lise came across a prototype after he passed away and they decided to include the design in the Autumn 2012 collection.  Aren’t we lucky to have heard the tender story behind the bead from Lise herself?  Those of us who have had to say goodbye to a parent can relate, I think, to the painful yet universal experience of having to sort through the possessions of their loved one, and find fitting homes and uses for all their beloved objects.  What a lovely way to honour their Father and his work…

There is too much to tell all at once, and this post is already so long… You’ll just have to stay tuned to hear the rest – or better still, come visit us and hear all the juicy details in person!




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….