Valdis Harrysdotter Paper Artist -Reykjavik, Iceland

Please discuss your vegetable paper bowls?

Inspiration  design

My inspiration is the material in itself.  Handling the vegetable paper and thinking of the possible ways of using it.  In my art I have through the years attended to use material in my enviroment  instead of importing it and my vegetable paper I can make from material which is available here.

Working with paper has been a passion for me and designing a thing like the bowl by using a paper was a challange. A bowl for me can be a beutiful form because as long as I remember I love the circle.


The usability was not the main issue for me. The bowl can stand by itself and like a dear cust

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omer said, “These bowls are giving not receving or demanding something to be put into them.

But they are also usable for any kind of dry food or things.“

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Development of technique

The vegetable paper made from radish do have a special property, which machine made paper does not have. From holding a slice of radish paper sheet to making the bowl took a long time and many test to find the right solutions.

Before I found out that the radish was the vegetable that suited best to my process I tried a many kinds of fiber rich vegetables.

There was lot of details to figure out for exemple the cooking time of the vegetable, drying method, material for the base of the bowl, binding materials and suitable colours.

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I use a synthetic colours for colouring the vegetable because I found that the natural colour for exemple of the carrots fades away quiet quickly. I also love using the hole colour spectrum and the colours I put together I base on the feeling I have for the colours

Explain about your time in Spain and Japan and how this has affected your work?

I joined a artist in residency program, but I learned the technique of making paper from carrots in Denmark by my teacher a Danish paper artist Anne Vilsbol.

In the village Mino in Japan, there is a long tradition of making a paper.  The paper from there is very highly respected.  For me staying in Japan and having this love for the material was just a wonderful experience and give me the confidence and knowledge that the possibilities with paper are endless.

I cannot say that staying in Japan or Spain brought a direct influence on my work. It is more like a vitamin for the sole and sin  to leave this  island and see  the culture in other country. I like to travel and any kind of fiber arts is my main interest. The last artist in residence I joind  was in Loombok in Indonesia and I was very touched by the traditions and for the craftmanship there. In April 2015 I was in Australia and was very found of it J

Can you discuss the importance of the Craft and Design foundation in Iceland?


It is based in Reykjavík

There is a group of professionals that check the application  when people are seeking for membership, everybody can apply.

The financial support from the ministry covers the basic cost of the art and craft office. There are two people working full time and they get paid by the ministry which also pays for the house.

The art and craft foundation has this website  and there they say:


  • To support the development, further enhance the preservation of Icelandic crafts, applied art and design.
  • To provide consulting information and service regarding product development, presentation and marketing
  • To promote enhanced quality awareness in the field.
  • To be a common forum for people working in applied art, crafts and design.
  • To maintain an informative web page and to build a database of people working in applied art, crafts and design.

The Craft and Design foundation has put out three booklets of Icelandic artists in 2006, 2008, and 2010.  Your work is in the 2008 issue have these publications been influential in promoting art and craft work around and beyond Iceland?

The three booklets they issued I am sure have given people better idea of what is going on in these field. They were send to every Icelandic embassy around the world and in Iceland as well to schools and institutions.

Art education what is happening in Iceland in relationship to yourself?

I work at the art and craft shop Kirsuberjatréð


also I  teach in collage. My students are between 16-20 years and are  people with different kinds of disabilities.  Everybody get some teaching in drawing and many of them in some kind of craft .

I have to say I do not know how the art teching is in the school for children at the age 7-16.

1999 was the Art and craft shool in Iceland turned into the Iceland Academy of the arts and became more theoretical  and the word design more used than craft. We do not have a long history in design like Denmark for exemple.  In the Art and craft school there was more focus on craftmanship.

We also have a school, The Reykjavik School of  Visual Art  which I think offers more craft and is quite often where they train students before they apply for the Iceland Academy or go to some other country.

Take other pieces and discuss them?


I form the bowls using a plaster, that is the base. Then I cut in thin slices a bunch of radish, cook them in coloured water, press them and dry betwen bricks until they are totaly dry.(It reminds of drying flowers betwen the sheets in a book )  When I have got the slices ready so each one is thin and in a circle form.

I then glue them on the plaster base. I just have lot of colours on the table and I use my senses to put them so the bowl feels balanced and in good colour combination.  I make them in many different sizes.

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Contact details.

Valdis Harrysdotter, Reykjavik, Iceland

Interview by Deborah Blakeley, September, 2015