Tell me a bit about yourself and your background both personally and in connection with wool, design, knitting and the arts.
I‘m Icelandic. I was born in Reykjavik and grew up in Isafjordur. In my teens we moved back to Reykjavik. I have always been fascinated with fiber, whether it is in clothing or interior textile. And I truly loved dressing my Barbie dolls when I was little. Around the age of 13, I started to design and make my own clothes. I liked being different in my teenage years, acting out my emotions through my clothes.
Living abroad and Inspiration
Somehow I knew early on that I was going to live abroad later in life. I studied Fashion & Textile Design at the Hogeschool voor de kunsten in Utrecht, NL & obtained a European Master of Arts at the Institute de la France in Paris. I live and work in Utrecht, and travel regularly to Iceland for inspiration and work at my studio in Reykjavik. Family is very important to me. The love of my husband Bas and my two daughters, Nina and Julia, fire me up to make things happen, but also keep me grounded when needed.
Inspired by the raw Icelandic nature, I use different types of wool in combination with other textiles to create items that bring the feeling of nature into our lives and homes. My love affair with wool started when I did my internship at Istex in Iceland. There I saw endless possibilities in working with wool. My graduation collection was my first with wool, mainly made from felted wool – and was selected for the Barclay catwalk as well as for the Hyeres Fashion Festival. Together with Ullarvinnslan in Iceland, I helped set up a felting studio in Seydisfjordur with the support of the Ministry of Agriculture.
The felting adventure begins.
For several years my focus was on Fashion and felted and knitted wool in clothing – all made in Iceland. I later moved back to Iceland, opened my own design shop, and sold my designs there as well as abroad. In 2013 we moved back to Holland and now I have a studio and shop with other artists and designers in the heart of Utrecht. My focus has altered towards interior textile design, as I always try to work instinctively and somehow have more breathing space within that area. I live and breathe textile. I think it is so important to use textile in interior for the calming of noise, as well as the feeling of warmth.
My desire in design is to liberate myself from all conventions and limits. Designing at my own pace and and on my own terms, doing what I love and not conforming to fashion schedules is how I work best.
Why would you recommend Iceland as a knitting exploration possibility?
Iceland has so much energy and fantastic raw nature where you can get endlessly inspired and feel at one with nature. The Icelandic wool is also very special, one of a kind really. The sheep have been roaming free since the settlement of Iceland in the ninth century. There are so many artists and so much creativity around Iceland to enjoy. Everybody can knit – with needles or just with your hand–and you can also make your own freestyle knit expression..no limits. Just enjoy being in nature and feeling creative.
The Icelandic Lopi wool is popular for knitting because of the dual-fibre structure that makes lopi garments warm, waterproof, and light. Whether you want to make a hat, scarf, or the famous Icelandic lopapeysa, Icelandic wool is easy to knit with, light and makes a beautiful fabric. Icelandic wool also felts easily, making it great for felting projects.
Where in Iceland do you feel best and why?
My favorite place at the moment is Borðeyri in Hrútafjörður. Once a flourishing trading centre, it has seen its population and level of service decline in the last couple of decades. This quiet place is located at what feels like the middle of nowhere, at the bottom of the fjord directly at sea. Looks like the calming sea is endless from here…magical. It´s a place where I can easily gather my thoughts and feel refreshed. For more excitement I choose Thorsmork in the South Highlands of Iceland between the mountain glaciers of Tindfjallajökull and the world famous Eyjafjallajökull– hiking in that area is quite the experience – and the view is breathtaking. An escape to the Highlands means travelling over rivers on bad roads and no wifi. Away from it all.
What do you like in Iceland that you cannot find anywhere else?
What I miss the most besides the nature in Iceland is the fresh fish. All the lovely fish shops with endless fish to choose from. And the outdoor thermal pools in Reykjavik with such a nice temperature. Going to the swimming pool in Iceland is a must, exercising, socializing and relaxing all in one.
What is special about the knitting and wool community in Iceland?
The Icelandic sheep breed is unique and for centuries its wool has kept Icelanders warm and almost everybody has something to do with knitting or Icelandic wool. A lot of people knit at home when watching tv, and a lot of groups come together to knit and eat and drink together. Knitting is such a part of the community and such a normal thing to do. An everyday thing.
Because of the special, loose way the wool is spun, when the yarn breaks it’s easily fixed as two yarn ends can be attached by twisting them together.
Hanna Pétursdóttir, Fashion and Textile Designer, has a BA degree from the Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (HKU) and a Master of Arts in European Fashion and Textiles Design from the Institute of Fashion Paris (IFM). Hanna has designed a number of clothing and product lines, with the main focus on the use of Icelandic wools in felting and knitwear. She has participated in numerous design and textile exhibitions along with sales exhibitions overseas and marketed and sold her own designs to stores across Europe, the United States and Japan.
HANNA felting is a Fashion & Textile label designed by Hanna Pétursdóttir based in The Netherlands. The process is slow, a collection of various designs in limited numbers inspired by the raw Nordic nature of Iceland with nature as a motive to work instinctively. Committed to prolonging the active lifetime of textiles. The look is natural and vibrant with mean edges in bright yet muted colors. The freshness and quality of each item is derived from the unique way of processing wool. The goal of HANNA felting is to combine design and value to create something beautiful, timely and long lasting. HANNA felting’s calling card is the creative use of wool. The designer, Hanna Pétursdóttir, works closely with local wool farmers and artisans to produce beautiful natural fabrics . Hanna’s artistic side then takes over as she plays with texture and shape to develop a style that offers an exciting approach to fashion. All designs are produced locally using ecological and up cycled materials all year round with no special seasonal collections.
Banner picture: Felted wool sculpture – photo: Milette Raats – https://miletteraats.com/
Iceland Unwrapped thanks Hanna Felting for the inspiration and help with ideas on making Woolin’ around in Iceland a possibility.