When women were supposed to stay at home as housewives, the divorced single mother Nora Gulbrandsen was appointed chief designer at Porsgrund’s Porcelain Factory and became a pioneer among female Norwegian designers.
Porcelain and ceramic designer Nora Gulbrandsen (1894 – 1974) was born in Kristiania (now Oslo) and was educated at the Norwegian National Academy of Craft and Art Industry. She came to Porsgrunds Porselænsfabrik after graduation and designed several porcelain collections for the factory. She was working at Porsgrun in the period 1928 – 1946.
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Porsgrund Porcelain Factory
The factory was founded by Johan Jeremiassen in 1885. From 1930 to 1980, Porsgrund was one of Norway’s leading design companies, and they received both national and international design awards. Gulbrandsen designed about 300 different designs and models during her time at Porsgrund.
Gulbrandsen is known for her colorful, geometric and modern forms, and she is considered one of Norway’s most important artists in functionalism cubism and art deco – with a Nordic touch, often contrasting bright to dark.
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She also designed jewelry for David Andersen (David Andersen opened his eponymous shop in Kristiania Norway in 1876. As a designer and retailer specializing in jewelry and silver wares, Andersen’s business model closely mirrors that of Danish silversmith Georg Jensen, who was twenty-three years his junior.
Since 1910 The Norwegian Folk Art and Craft Association have been keeping folk art and crafts vital and is continuously developing. Gulbrandsen designed textiles for the association as well as wallpaper for Vallø wallpaper factory in Tønsberg.
Her sketches for Porsgrunds Porcelain Factory has been issued in a book “Nora G” from No Comprendo Press.
The Porcelain Museum in Porsgrunn maintains a display of selected pieces of her work.
A Pioneer Among Female Norwegian Designers, written by Tor Kjolberg
Feature image (on top): Vase depicting Bergen by Nora Gulbrandsen (National Museum, Oslo)