Meet your Makers: TinaTing

In the latest volume of The List Magazine, we took a look at some men and women who make stuff in Trondheim. Here, we’d like to introduce Tina Bugge of TinaTing and her beautiful origami artwork. Check out the article in the magazine and enjoy this full interview!

When did you start and what gave you the inspiration to start your business?

I have always liked working with my hands, I’m a very tactile person, with a knack for details. I used to work full time with really practical, minute operations as a staff engineer at NTNU, but with more administrative tasks and less time in the lab, I needed to keep my hands busy.

I started the webshop TinaTing on the marketplace Epla.no at the end of a maternity leave in the summer of 2011. TinaTing is all about eye candy. Either with regards to origami pictures, origami diamonds, origami lamps, or button jewelry. I have come up with a technique where I cover buttons with paper, and then turn them into jewelry like earrings, brooches, rings or cufflinks. This is rather time-consuming, so there is less time for that, unfortunately. Enter origami! Almost instant satisfaction! The metallic paper is an inspiration in itself. It will sparkle when the light hits it at different angles. Origami is all about folding and angles, so I would say it is a perfect match! Some would argue the metallic paper is too tough to fold, but I like it a bit al dente. For instance, if the paper it too light, a PHiZZ-orb for a lamp will fall apart. The lamp is made of 30 identical pieces put together with no glue. Watching a lamp slowly coming apart just from its own weight is strange.

I was invited to join the design collective Sukker in April 2015, and I am still honoured they asked me! The designers there are really an inspiring crowd to hang with. Having an actual store where you can present and sell your things, and meet people who appreciate your design is awesome. Every designer takes a turn to work in the shop. If I hear someone in the shop for instance say – I like that PRSM-picture, but would like it in another colour -, then I can offer to make it. Making pieces which go well with the other designers’ products is also cool. Lise of Miniminuskel and I are making matching dresses of different materials; she makes petite ones for girls, while I fold paper versions. Together they make great presents!

Do you consider yourself a ‘maker’? What do you do with the rest of your time and what is your background making things?

I do indeed consider myself a maker. I like to make eye candy and am easily mesmerized by lovely colours, and especially paper. But nice paper is hard to find in Norway, so I make an effort finding paper online or whenever I travel. With Norwegian import taxes, and sky-rocketing shipping fares it is challenging, but all the more fun when you can make a bargain or a good deal! And somehow along this way, I also ended up becoming the Norwegian retailer for a Canadian paper distributor of Japanese chiyogami paper.

I work full time as a staff engineer at the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, I am a mom of two, and a member of the design community Sukker. Besides that, I will fold whenever and wherever, just ask whoever. I always carry paper in my bag, and will fold in planes, trains, automobiles, sofas, parks….

I used to work more hands-on in the lab at NTNU, but with less time in the lab now, I need to keep my hands busy, and origami is perfect! The repetitive folding is like meditation. The joy of creating something beautiful from a flat sheet of paper is just awesome! And building something with modules is amazing, especially if you really couldn’t wrap your head around the instructions in the first place! I still have a piece at home that I really struggled with, that I can’t reproduce. I cannot remember how I did it or crack the code. Really frustrating!

I will never make drawings before making anything. The paper itself is the inspiration. These days are mostly about making beautiful dresses and shirts for cards.

Photo Courtesy of TinaTing

Tell us a little more about the product: what makes it unique, where it is made and any special techniques?

I think people can tell when it is a TinaTing. I am all about straight lines and edges. If it is not a right angle, it is a wrong angle. Sloppy origami is irritating. Colour coordinating is also fun. When making the origami pictures I will sometimes throw the pieces around on the table, and then maybe an unlikely colour combo will appear. The PRSM-pictures are maybe the “most” TinaTing I make.

I am a self-taught origamist and have never invented any origami designs myself. I am in awe of the people who are able to think up the original diagrams!! I will learn new techniques from YouTube rather than from a book. See one, do one, teach one. So why is my stuff special/different from others? I would say the presentation/the whole package; the precision, the materials, and the colour combinations. I have nice paper! I leave nothing to chance (or sometimes everything, it could, seem…). I deliver a complete product, all the way down to the packaging.

What has the area of Trøndelag bring to your making? Could this be possible anywhere else? Would it look different if it was?

I am a native Trønder from Trondheim, so I’ve never left! The size of Trondheim, with the “closeness” to everything, makes it perfect. You can walk or bike to almost anywhere, and the community of designers is very inspiring and including. Being a native Trønder means many of the people I grew up with are still around, thus I can ask them for help, more so than if I was from outside Trondheim. Knowing people at NTNU and the workshops at St.Olav has come in handy in my creative work as well. It is not all about what you know, but who you know. This keeps coming back to me. I would never be this successful in Oslo, as I have no such basic network there. Being an introvert and a creative exhibitionist is hard when you want to sell your stuff. I have been very fortunate, and I feel I have taken the opportunities that have been given and did the most with them.

Photo Courtesy of TinaTing

And the something unique to you and the product we wouldn’t necessarily know?

I may have it all covered? I am also working on outdoor origami. The weather in Trøndelag isn’t always sunny, so I have made PHiZZ-balls that can be placed in the garden. Where I live it will roll around in the garden in the wind. Looking forward to letting it play in the grass again.

And finally, info for people who would like to know more about or to buy the product etc., where are you online?

Instagram would be the most up to date place to find me: @tinabugge.

Facebook: TinaTing 

Artwork and origami paper can be found here.

In person: In Trondheim, the store Sukker, in Bakklandet, is the best place to find my stuff.

And if you are in Oslo you can find TinaTings at Skaperverket in Grünerløkka.

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