This is reprinted here from the April Issue of the Valthornet:
VASA Member to Know...Phyllis Kalajian of Nordikreations
Who would have thought that what started as a fundraising initiative 8 years ago for Nordik Folk No.761 would lead member Phyllis Kalajian to start Nordikreations: a new business venture with skyrocketing sales to television producers, museums and Scandinavian jewelry enthusiasts everywhere?
Based in Indiana, Phyllis taught herself the art of jewelry making and has designed her pieces based on inspiration from her own Scandinavian roots: She is half Norwegian, a quarter Swedish and a quarter German. Her interest has also stemmed from her involvement in VASA. Her two children, now grown, were enrolled in Solstrålen a VASA Children’s Club, and then she later reconnected with her roots when she joined the newly formed local VASA lodge, Nordik Folk No. 761 in 2006.
Nordikreations quickly took off when people began requesting particular items. Through research, Phyllis has spent great amounts of time reading about Scandinavian traditions and customs and has worked them into her jewelry design. Each piece is inspired by Scandinavian culture: the jewelry, the folk costumes and the artwork– both ancient and contemporary.
Styles include Viking, Sami, Norwegian rosemaling, Swedish and Danish. Materials used are silver-plate, gold plate, antique silver-plate, antique gold-plate, bronze, pewter, gunmetal, stainless steel, copper, leather, glass beads and gemstone beads.
Phyllis began making and selling her jewelry locally at craft fairs and events and by word of mouth. She quickly found that selling online would expand her business and give her a way to share her talents more broadly. See her ETSY shop at: www.etsy.com/shop/Nordikreations. Since then, her jewelry has been for sale where the Viking Exhibit has travelled at: The Australian Maritime Museum, The Royal British Columbian Museum, Chicago’s Field Museum and Discovery Times Square in New York. Her jewelry has also been purchased by Peterson Farms, the Linnea Bakery and a few Norwegian Lodges.
Phyllis’ jewelry can also be found at the Vesterheim Norwegian Museum Shop in Decorah, Iowa, and in their catalog.
Her most exciting claim to fame is the sale of Viking-style earrings to the History Channel’s show Vikings which is in its fourth season. Phyllis’ earrings can be seen in both the 3rd and 4th seasons of the show. You can tune in and catch the show on Thursdays 10/9 Central.
Phyllis, who works a regular full-time job, hopes to retire soon to devote all of her time to her craft. She hopes to open her own Scandinavian and Viking shop, possibly in the Crown Point, Indiana area. She would also like to participate in some larger festivals in and around Northwest Indiana.
“I love thinking of new ideas and then trying to find the right pieces to create them. When I put the pieces together and it looks like I’ve successfully visualized something, I’m really happy,” said Phyllis Kalajian in a recent interview with Finland Center, New York.
You can also follow Phyllis on Facebook at www.facebook.com/nordikreations