With her personal atelier and her silk scarves line, Inga Strause-Godejord maintains an original art + spiritual attitude. Sophisticated, intense, lavish + kaleidoscopic, discover inimitable luxury with real silk. Experience vivid design with a carefree spirit + treat yourself with an original art piece.
Because of the challenges of this medium, I find myself continually expanding my skill set with new techniques in transparency. Working with silk dyes gives me the freedom to create original paintings that are vivid in color and sophisticated in detail.– INGA STRAUSE-GODEJORD
Painter + Silk Artist Inga Strause-Godejord opens up about her life and work with 33 MAGAZINE:
Describe yourself as a designer and how did you start?
As far as I can remember, I have always been drawing and have known that I will be an artist. Indeed, my academic degree is as a painter. However, my road to painting on silk has been lengthy.
Due to my husband’s profession, as an engineer, his work has taken us to far-flung places in Norway, Canada and the United States. One day I realized that the extra stress of constantly packing and lugging heavy frames and easels, fragile canvases, bins of brushes, oils and acrylics from one country to another was not helpful to my creative process. I needed a new, a lighter way of expressing myself through my art. Around that same time, the early 2000’s, painting on silk had become very popular in Europe. My choice became increasingly clear. What could be more ephemeral, more delightful, more beautiful than silk? Thus started my journey into the world of silk. When, in 2017, I again returned from Canada to our home in Houston I decided that it was time to establish my own company. But what to call it? I knew that I wanted the name of the business to not only reflect the artwork, but to reflect me as the creator of the collection. I also feel that by having the artist’s name be prominent in the name of a business means that I take full responsibility for the quality and the materials of all my pieces as well as for relationships with each of my clients. Thus, INGASILKS was born.
How do you manage your creativity process exactly?
I am among the artists who do not wait for inspiration to motivate them, rather I believe that the unique IMAGINATION of the artist is the key for artistic growth. Thus my imagination is the most important component of my personal creative process. I do a lot of sketching before I tackle the actual painting on silk. Before I start painting it is also essential for me for my studio to be organized and quiet, for there to be an emotional calmness and plenty of light. Brushes must be clean, dyes organized, and the silk perfectly stretched on the frame. Because of the material properties of silk, once you begin to paint on it you must work very quickly, be prepared to make every nuanced artistic decision for the piece at lightning speed.
The process itself can have an uncontrolled and frenzied feel to it. Although I am not spontaneous by nature, in this field of painting on silk I find that it is exactly the spontaneity and speed that I must work at when I am painting on silk that triggers my imagination to excel. Each piece begins its life as a pure white 100% silk stretched on a frame. Then a combination of techniques is used to create the vivid, colorful scarves and neckties, from a fluid watercolor method to a more controlled resist technique. I work with Sennelier Tinfix Design or Jacquard silk dyes – the colors are highly concentrated and therefore very vivid and intense. As with all dye, fabrics remain soft, supple and transparent. Every piece is steam-set for hours for brilliant and permanent color. The medium provides a perfect process for interpreting the beauty and mystery of nature, and the body allows color and imagination to flow.
Watch silk artist Inga Strause-Godejord produce her beautiful, handcrafted work:
When did you land your first internship and what was the most valuable thing you learned from this experience?
My formal art education is not in fashion design and I have not participated in any formal internships. However, I count among my most cherished mentors several master silk painting artists and designers with whom I have studied silk painting techniques. Among the artists whose knowledge, skill and craftsmanship still shape my work are Susan Louise Moyer, Suzanne Punch, Sisi Siska, Mary Edna Fraser, David Higgins and Kiranada Sterling Benjamin.
What was your first job out of college and how did you land that position?
After I graduated from the Art Academy with an academic degree in painting I taught drawing and painting for three years at a fine arts focused secondary school.
What was the biggest rookie mistake you made when you just starting out?
Without a doubt my biggest “rookie mistake” when I started INGASILKS was that I was trying too hard to imagine and then create what I thought my clients might like. Luckily, I quickly understood that I must follow my own intuition and must trust my own color sensibility and aesthetic sense. I understood that for my artistic signature to evolve and mature I must allow my personal style to thrive and blossom.
What’s the main impact of social media in fashion industry in both ways, fashion buying and brand marketing?
Social media has the exceptional ability to enable a personal dialogue with clients, the general public and “followers” that lends itself to timely and productive feedback. Social media is both remarkable and necessary; I really can not imagine my daily life without it.
What is your favorite and NON-favorite part about being part of the fashion industry?
I would not really describe myself as a core part of the fashion industry, but that our paths cross, for example in New York City, SoHo at the independent designers’ platform. I truly admire the diversity of the fashion industry, the creative personalities with courageous and unusual ideas. I enjoy the rhythm of the industry.
I deplore mass-production and detest cheap sales tricks like “Buy one, get one free!”
Can you tell us how your brand makes a difference in art + fashion industry?
INGASILKS differs from many other silk products in the industry in the fact that I do not print a design on my pieces but paint each design on by hand.
What do you think is the biggest challenge for an artist like you?
The biggest challenge is not to lose yourself and your vision while working in an ever-changing and demanding industry. It is finding the right balance between imagining and creating new ideas and fresh work and the practical side of establishing a solid, successful, income generating business.
What do you think about the opportunity of selling your collections online nowadays?
I often have the opportunity to meet my clients face to face, and being a little old-fashioned, I really enjoy that personal contact. I also know that the amount of people shopping primarily on-line is growing each and every hour, and that the ability to buy on-line is almost expected from a business. It is inevitable that on-line commerce will continue to encompass larger geographic areas and create for businesses large and small a broader client base.