Norwegian Wood meets Art

The Norwegian artist, Janka Bertelsen, has utilised the medium of wood to provide new possibilities for beautiful art, creating striking carved facades with intricate detailing, all of which are inspired by the natural shapes and rhythms of the wood itself. Janka has recently started to move her art out of the studio and into the outdoors, wanting to elaborate upon the inherent beauty of wood to complement and enhance the location of her studio. In her latest project Janka utilises Kebony wood for the façade and crafting of an artistic wall as a focal point for the structure.

At the age of 19, Janka studied Fashion Design in Munich; two decades later she still lives there, having worked for major fashion labels both in Munich and internationally. This career has given her the freedom and flexibility to travel extensively, experiencing the fast pace environment of the fashion world combined with starting a family and setting up her own art studio, 3VERK (a Norwegian phrase for creating art out of wood). Janka Bertelsen returns to her home town Stavanger each summer, which she describes as the ‘artist’s paradise’. Located on the coast of Norway with stunning views overlooking the North Sea, Janka has relished the isolated and unspoiled beauty of this idyllic setting since childhood.

Growing up in Norway, Janka has always had an affinity for art and design projects crafted from wood, appreciating the feel, smell, unique intricacies and rings in the material. After working for many years in fashion, she has now rediscovered the artistic joys of working with wood, and her mission is to guide more people to pursue their relationship with nature by encouraging the renaissance of wood as an exterior building material and as an alternative to glass, steel and plastic-composites. In order for wood to become a truly viable alternative for art as well as design and construction, an extremely durable and dimensionally stable wood is required. However, Janka Bertelsen did not want to use tropical timber or to employ wood preservatives so instead Kebony was selected for its environmental credentials, alongside the beautiful silver-grey patina it forms over time.

The exterior surface of her studio is crafted from Kebony, and Janka has even incorporated a prototype of one of her future projects on the façade: a striking life-size print of driftwood from Vancouver Island. The result is a beautiful interaction between the natural texture of wood and the creative ideas of the artist, appearing to viewers as a symbiosis of the intricacies of nature and human creativity. Additionally, Janka and her husband, photographer Moritz Teichmann, have made use of Kebony to build a large wooden terrace.

The subtle colour change of the wood adds another element of depth to her work, creating a dynamic, living piece of art. The patented Kebony technology is an environmentally friendly process, which modifies sustainably sourced softwoods by heating the wood with furfuryl alcohol - an agricultural by-product. By polymerising the wood’s cell wall, the softwoods permanently take on the attributes of tropical hardwood including high durability, hardness and dimensional stability, without the need for tropical deforestation.

Janka Bertelsen, “I was searching for a wood that wasn’t environmentally damaging, and hadn’t been toxically treated. As I searched for a solution, I came across Kebony. This wood has exactly the sustainable and aesthetic characteristics that I need, and it even comes from my home country of Norway."

Sabine Domayer, Marketing Manager at Kebony said "We are thrilled to be working with Janka and we can’t wait to see her next Kebony creation. It’s great that she has such a strong focus on the use of sustainable materials, and the final pieces are just beautiful. We hope that others take inspiration from Janka’s design and realise the potential of using a sustainable alternative for projects such as this.”