Ceramics: In the 1960s and 1970s, Norway earned a reputation among potters and stoneware enthusiasts for its chunky, utilitarian pottery. The trend today is to emulate the fragile, more decorative designs popular in France, England, and Germany, so Norwegian ceramists are producing thinner, more delicate, and more ornate forms. The best selection is found at Tibords Interiør Bergen Storsenter (tel. 55-55-33-41) in Bergen.
Costumes: Norway boasts more than 450 regional costumes, especially in the coastal communities. The original fishermen's sweater was knit of naturally colored wool (beige, brown, black, or off-white) in a deliberately large size and then washed in hot water so that it shrank. The tightly woven sweater could then resist water. Modern versions of these sweaters are known for their nubby texture, sophisticated patterns, and varying shades of single colors. The best purveyor of Norwegian costumes and folk dress from both north and south is Heimen Husflid in Oslo (tel. 23-21-42-00).
Crystal: In Norway you can buy flawless crystal that's as clear as a Nordic iceberg. Norwegian tastes lean toward the clean, uncluttered look, stressing line, form, and harmony. Crystal is sold at many stores, especially in Bergen and Oslo, but we've consistently been impressed with the selection on display at the prestigious Norway Designs (tel. 23-11-45-10) in Oslo.
Knitwear: Many visitors eagerly seek Norwegian knitwear. Among the best buys are hand-knit or "half-handmade" garments. The latter, knit on electric looms, are so personalized and made in such small quantities that only an expert can tell that they aren't completely handmade. The tradition of women hand-knitting sweaters while rocking a cradle or tending a fire thrives in rural Norway, especially during the long winter. Beautifully made Norwegian knitwear is on sale at Norway Designs (tel. 23-11-45-10) in Oslo, and there's an especially large selection at the Oslo Sweater Shop (tel. 22-42-42-25), also in Oslo.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.