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Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Norwegian Handmade Delights

Fighting chronic illness with colours and creativity For Janne Riisnes, designing her own jewellery has become a survival technique in the face of chronic illness and isolation. The bedbound Norwegian artist now dreams of sustaining her small business JSM Design. By Eirik Elvevold  |  Photos: Janne Riisnes

Sickness sucks. There is just no other way to put it. But for most – especially young people – sickness is considered something temporary, something that comes and goes. Sure, you might have to stay in bed for a few days, but you are always counting on getting back on your feet quite quickly. But what if your illness never went away? What if you got stuck in bed indefinitely? What would you do then? Who would you be? How would you cope? For Norwegian Janne Riisnes, who has been struggling with chronic illness for half her life, these questions have become painfully real. During the last four years, Riisnes has been mostly stuck in her bed with exhaustion and pain, unable to leave the house and fighting to remain mentally sane. Luckily, she has found a source of comfort and motivation.

“I barely get to meet people and, naturally, I feel very lonely and isolated. Designing jewellery keeps me alive. Since I’ve always been an active and creative person, it has been very hard psychologically for me to accept my situation,” Riisnes admits. In the beginning, surfing the internet was her only hobby, until one day she came across some pearls in an online store. She ordered the pearls and discovered that she could make bracelets in bed without further exhausting herself. “I quickly got hooked. I entered a creative flow that made me forget about time and space. Within a short time, I had made a bag full of bracelets,” says Riisnes. When a good friend saw all the handmade bracelets, she advised Riisnes to start selling them to friends and family. That was the beginning of JSM Design.

“Selling has never been my priority, but of course I want to sell jewellery to develop and experiment with new designs. The customers love to wear something that is different from everything else, and JSM Design offers them something unique,” Riisnes affirms. The Norwegian artist serves as an inspiring example to those who are stuck in a similar situation. “There is hope. Many people around the world are struggling and feeling lost for different reasons, but there are ways of bringing positivity back into your life – no matter how hopeless and dark it may look. Change can come from very unexpected sources,” Riisnes concludes.

For more information, please visit: Facebook: Smykk deg med JSM Design Instagram: @jsm_design If you have questions, send an e-mail to

Issue 95  |  December 2016  |  55

Scan Magazine, Issue 95, December 2016  

Promoting Brand Scandinavia. Featuring interview with Swedish skiing ace Charlotte Kalla.

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