Trygve Torgersen was born in 1924, one of a family of six. He was the only son. He grew up in Oslo, and at an early age he cultivated a fascination with books; art books in particular.
In 1940, at the age of 16, Trygve attended the School of Arts and Crafts (Kunst og Håndverkskolen, in Norwegian). There he got deeply involved with painting and sculpting in addition to other creative aspects of art and the history of the art. He graduated in 1944. From 1944 to 1945 he attended the Art Academy (Kunst Akademiet, in Norwegian), where he graduated with honors as a sculptor.
After World War II Trygve joined the merchant navy. He wanted to work and see the world at the same time. He got the job of master carpenter because of his skills working with his hands. He sailed the seven seas and he met with people and cultures from all over the world.
Returning to solid ground in Oslo in the early '50s, Trygve continued with his work in the fine arts and sculpting. Granite was one of his favorite mediums to work with, but he liked to paint as well. He lived and worked in a small shed, earning practically nothing from his work. For him his art was sacred and it was generally not for sale.
Trygve married Evelyn Signora Torgersen. Together they came up with an idea to make figurines to sell to commercial firms in the area. In 1957 they started a home based production of figurines. Trygve created the new models, and together they worked on producing the figurines in small numbers. Their working hours would usually be 12 to 16 hours a day with no time for rest. The children, as they grew older, also helped out in the cramped studio space. This level of production continued for some time, but Evelyn and Trygve soon realized that their efforts did not provide enough income, and they continued to develop new ideas.
Trygve came up with new ideas for models depicting Norwegian nisse (elf like creatures) and trolls, but when presented with these the commercial retailers were not too excited about their appearances. The general opinion was that they looked too rough. Trygve and Evelyn, however, felt that their production of these new figurines depicting trolls and nisse from Norwegian myth and folklore was an excellent idea. Rough and mystic was exactly what these new models should look like.
At the time several counties throughout the country were seeking new businesses which would be willing to relocate and create additional employment opportunities in the local area. In exchange, the companies would receive government grants and tax breaks. This was exactly what Evelyn and Trygve needed to expand and pursue their new business ideas.
In 1963 Evelyn and Trygve packed up their belongings and moved to Tynset, which is located in the valleys and mountains about 220 miles (350 km) north of Oslo. They were offered and old red barn located right in the middle of town. It was here they would start up their new company, which they called a/s Ny Form. The barn was used to house cows, horses and sheep, but now it was home and birthplace to much smaller animals, the strangely adaptive trolls and nisse.
Trygve started making new models depicting Norwegian trolls and native animals. He spent the better part of the first year doing so, and at the same time he and Evelyn taught their skills of hand-making figurines to new employees. They were also joined by their daughter and her husband.
The Ny Form company officially opened January 1st. 1964. The first year was a truly amazing success story, far beyond any expectations that either Evelyn or Trygve had when they first started their venture. The popularity of the new figurines was incredible and the company has steadily grown since. The same retailers, who previously rejected the new way of thinking, came back with open arms, welcoming the rough looking trolls and animals to their shelves.
One of the factors behind the success of the Ny Form company was simply that the market place had never seen such figurines, neither in nor outside Norway. All of the figurines, whether animals, trolls or nisse, were Trygves ideas. They are a personal rendering of these characters based on Norwegian geography, mythology and folklore. Trygve managed to develop his own style which was both truly unique and original. Even today the Ny Form trolls still are faithful in design to the first trolls produced.
Another factor behind the success of the company is the continuously growing army of troll collectors throughout the world, who keep coming back for more of the Ny Form trolls as new ones are released. The charming appeal of these trolls have made collectors happy everywhere.
The third factor to Ny Form's success is the employees. Since the beginning of 1964 the company has been lucky to have such loyal, skilled and dedicated staff. They were, and of course still are, the backbone of the making of the company. Many factors are at play when making things happen in the world of business. In the late 60's they were able to send all of the Ny Form employees, with their spouses, on an all paid sun-filled vacation to the Canary Island - West of the continental African coast. This action in itself was at the time unprecedented in Norway. Never before heard of. Never before done. Unique owners. Unique company. Unique products.
Evelyn and Trygve continued building the company into the seventies until their retirement. In the meantime the company moved into a bigger facility in a forest setting just on the outskirts of town, and more employees were taken on to contend with incoming orders.
In 1977 they sold the company to their daughter Lise and her husband. However, the spirit of the company founders still lives on today. While new generations are introduced to the company, the practices, traditions of Evelyn and Trygve still live on within the company walls.
Source: Troll Magazine Nr. 2 December 1997
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