Latvia Files: Making Crowns and Rekindling Creativity

In partnership with NordicTB, LIAA, Tallink Silja, and LIVE Riga.

I didn’t anticipate struggling as much as I did. I reached for metal twines, scraps of cloth, bits of lace, colorful decorations, and sparkling beads, trying to piece together the perfect crown.

But I struggled.

I was already trying to create the next pattern before finishing the first. Trying to build something all at once with no clear angle. So my resulting crown – while colorful and vibrant – was a physical manifestation of my creative mind running on overload.

It was at that moment that I realized it had been awhile since I had truly disconnected, switched off my creative mind digitally, and manually crafted something with my hands. This was something I did for years when I used to be an oil painter, but somehow lost along the way.

That was why this crown-making workshop run by artist extraordinaire Brigita Stroda of Lastroda / Crown Heads of Europe couldn’t have come at a more perfect time.

Brigita’s crowns are magnificent. They are simple yet elegant. Feminine yet empowering. Regal yet accessible.  As part of our inaugural NordicTB Summit, Brigita was invited to come lead this creative workshop with our group of bloggers. It was a metaphor of giving all of us the very same tools, resources, and materials to create our own art.

Yet, we all came up with something different.

It really was a lesson in mining one’s creativity and sticking to your own style even when you’re traveling with a group. And in our line of work as professional bloggers, we need to be able to pull out those interesting stories and unique angles even if we’re with a large group experiencing the very same activities.

Back to Brigita… She was actually born and raised in Australia. With a background in set design and arts management, she worked for many festivals in Melbourne before living and working in France, and then moving to Latvia in 1993.

Living in interesting times, I observe, I make, I illustrate, write and translate

Brigita Stroda

As a professional crown maker, Brigita draws inspiration from 19th century Northern European trade routes and trousseau chests, creating stunning crowns which have been worn by everyone from celebrities to everyday folk who buy them as special gifts.

Everything about Brigita’s work is about making a subconscious statement of empowerment and I immediately identified with her art. She is working passionately – one crown at a time – to bring the art of head adornments back to the Nordics and Baltics. Gratefully, while growing up in Nigeria and even today, our head ties and adornments remain our metaphoric crowns.

Why have head adornments gone out of style?

Think logically – the face is a cover for the mind and a frame for the eyes, those windows to the soul, and  the focal point of a person we meet.

It is where our attention is directed, so what better place for an expressive  embellishment, than the head?

Brigita Stroda

I agree, Brigita. I wholeheartedly agree. And while I did struggle to finish my crown, the result truly was a reflection of who I am as a person.

Colorful, vibrant, hopeful (that my crown will actually stand), lover of spring season and citrus colors, and above all, an idealist in my view about pretty much everything in life.

Because who says you can’t strut around confidently with an eye-catching crown on your head?

Special thanks to Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA)Tallink, and LiveRiga for making this experience possible in collaboration with NordicTB as part of our inaugural #NordicTBSummit. All opinions and observations are mine always.