Taos has always been full of interesting people who have come here from faraway places and Nina Silfverberg is no exception to the rule.Although she travels frequently for work, mainly to Finland, where she grew up, she has for many years, called Taos her home.
She came Taos with her former husband and both of them are still here co-parenting, but no longer together. An accomplished and very talented theatrical costume designer, she has a deep knowledge of the history and lore behind her craft, Nina is a pattern maker, a seamstress with an artist’s eye, who is blessed with a magical, childlike curiosity that impacts her work; transporting it into the realm of pure fantasy.
Her experience and dedication to her craft is impressive and her love of history and eye for detail, reflects a life of travel and adventure but her focus and discipline regarding her craft along with the fiber art she makes, is a constant in her mercurial life. Born to a Jewish American mother from New Jersey and a Finnish father, she grew up mainly in Finland before coming to the States as a young woman, but by then she’d already discovered her passion for the theater.
“I did my first costume design for a semi-professional theater company at 19 years of age, and have worked in the field of costume design for the performing arts, ever since,” she says quite matter of factly.
She has also been an influential force for the Runway Vigilante shows here in Taos, which she worked on with Shawna Yambire.
When we met at the Plaza one day, to chat about her life here, she had just returned from Finland, where she designed the costumes for a new children’s theatrical production by Andy Marley, called White. She was on a lunch break from her Taos day job at Twirl, where she is the Project Coordinator for a fabulous new Crafts program for children. (I’ve included a link to Twirl’s website below this post).
“I love it here,” she tells me, “I love traveling to Scandinavia, but this is my home now. I have roots here, I even have chickens!” She laughs.
“My daughter named one Mordecai,” she chuckles, “it’s a hen called Mordecai.”
“I was like, where did that come from?”
No doubt the apple didn’t fall far from the tree with regards to an affinity for the theatrical.
She’s headed back to Finland in August, where she’ll complete work on her latest show. She designed the costumes and co-designed the set at Wasa Teater (Finland), for a play about troubled youth that end up in a circus of life and go through a rite of passage
The play is based on stories from kids in juvenile detention in Finland and has garnered critical acclaim, winning the Antonia Prize for best play in Finland.
For much more info on Nina, do visit her website linked below along with Twirl.
The photograph at the top of the page is of one of Nina’s costumes, Queen of Hearts, which was created for a Runway Vigilante Show, taken by taoStyle favourite, Zoe Zimmerman. Zoe’s website is also linked below this post.
Photographs of sets and costumes by Nina Silfverbeg by Frank Unger
Shots Nina took of costumes she designed for Wise Fool (a circus troupe from nearby Penasco), in collaboration with Christina Sporrong and Christian Ristow, who built the sets and apparatus.
iphoneshot of Nina in the Plaza by moi.