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Pop-up sells vintage Norwegian sweaters

December 13, 2018 GMT

Jean Anderson’s vintage Norwegian sweater pop-up shop was so popular last winter that she brought it back for the month of December.

Artelana 2.0 opened Friday in Wilson in the Moo’s Gourmet Ice Cream cabin near Nora’s Fish Creek Inn and Pearl Street Bagels. The small space is filled with racks of sweaters that were hand-knit in Norway in the 1940s through the 1970s.

“They’re works of art,” Anderson said.

Last year Anderson stocked 120 sweaters and sold nearly all of them.

“It was a great success,” she said. “I was so encouraged by the enthusiasm of the people who came in.”

This year she started with 180 men’s and women’s sweaters that she found in several ways, including through a cousin in Norway, through friends in Minnesota and at the Norsk Hostfest, an annual event in Minot, North Dakota.

The sweaters come in a variety of patterns and colors. Sizes range from women’s extra small to men’s extra-extra large; prices are $225 to $325.

Some of the sweaters are pullovers, but most are cardigans with pewter buttons. Even the buttons have designs. One set is stamped with moose, for example, and another with edelweiss.

The cardigans have a lot of buttons set close together, which Anderson said was a matter of practicality for families of modest means. They needed garments that could be worn year-round. The sweaters could be buttoned up snug during the dead of winter and left unbuttoned in warmer months.

More modern Norwegian sweaters have clasps and are made on machines, Anderson said.

“I don’t think they’re as distinctive,” she said.

All of the sweaters in Artelana 2.0 have been dry cleaned and are in mint condition.

“Wool has keratin in it,” Anderson said. “It’s like your fingernails and hair. If you see a mummy it still has fingernails and hair.”

Norwegian wool “is kind of stiff,” she said, so the sweaters hold their shape well. And there’s little to no pilling.

In the 1980s Anderson started a shop called Artelana that she operated in downtown Jackson and at The Hostel in Teton Village. She closed it in 2006.

The original Artelana specialized in sweaters from South America. Anderson feels 2.0’s offerings are more distinctive.

“When I wear my Norwegian ones is when people compliment me,” she said.

Artelana 2.0 will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily through Dec. 30, except Christmas Day.

“It’s like a museum,” Anderson said. “I would like people just to come to look.”