kingdom of klah
In a world where what we wear can be taken a little too seriously at times, Nina van der Voorn has created a world of whimsy for her garments. Having already bonded over a shared love of young adult fiction and fantasy in all its forms, she answers a few questions about her work, life and current location. Prepare to suspend your disbelief…
Tell us a bit about yourself:
Hizzin! (Hello in native Klah). My name is Nina van der Voorn, I am a dual citizen of New Zealand and the Kingdom of Klah, where I am currently engaged as the Royal Master Artist . This means I get to draw, screenprint, photograph and write stories for the Kingdom, a small but magnificent country that I am proud to be a citizen of. Prior to my royal appointment, I helped scientists in New Zealand record evidence of a rare giant eagle (The Fabricarus /Pahewahewa pohehetias – currently on display at the Dunedin Botanic Gardens). In the past few years I have also run a gallery, attended art school and lived in a tent, a caravan and a former hayshed. In the future I plan to live in a palace made from books, probably in the South of Klah.
What and where is the Kingdom of Klah?
The Kingdom of Klah is an island of mysterious splendor, exotic beasts and curious tales, known for many things: their unbeatable walrus-riding team (possibly unbeatable as they are the only country to partake in the sport), their breed of native singing cats, several unusual national dishes such as “fresh fig and lettuce pie” and “eggs with egg jam”, and of course, the splendid natural scenery of the small island nation, from fierce snowcapped mountains to lakes with water and trees with leaves.
The answer to WHERE? Is somewhat transient. Most travel agents would suggest you charter a very small plane and request to be taken exactly halfway between reality, and the reality in my head (not listed on the average map, so pick a good pilot). Others, depending on the weather and how coordinated you look, might suggest either of the following directions:
– Turn left. Then left again. Repeat 16 times and in the midst of the 17th, turn right.
– Travel to the nearest ocean and use a small whistle to attract a herd of seahorses. Hitch them to the carriage you have brought with you, and through a series of claps interspersed with whinnies, explain you would like to visit the glorious Kingdom of Klah, and will pay handsomely in solid gold carrots (which you have also brought with you). Watch to ensure they turn off at the Sovereign Sea, and don’t lead you into the Perfidious Waters – there have been several unfortunate incidents involving renegade seahorses and kidnappings.
Tell us about some of the creatures that inhabit the Kingdom? Who is your favourite?
Although geographically small, Klah has a very diverse range of inhabitants owing to its varied landscape. Many creatures are one of a kind (such as the Birthday Monster), or unable to be seen by the human eye. I can’t say I have a favourite (especially as some of them could be reading this) but I can say I am rather fond of Horned Kalooks, which are so adept with their horns they are able to carve wood with them. I find them particularly interesting as my brother, the Earl of Whippet, is currently investigating a theory that the images the Kalooks carve are from their dreams (more about that here). I am also fascinated by the partnership between the aquatic species of skoulkintots and people, who groom the skoulkintots splendid set of moustaches in exchange for clippings of the hair, which they use as a soft lining for their winter coats.
In terms of the Kingdom as a country, exciting things are always happening – recently we had the first festival of snacks, celebrating the way these small, nutritious morsels have enhanced our lives for centuries. It was a magnificent day, with lots of people dressed up as crackers and bits of cheese, and my brother won a prize in the talent quest for his remarkable portrayal of a raisin.
In terms of the NZ Headquarters where I am in charge of official royal garments, we have just started working with both pocket handkerchiefs and modal fabric, not to mention some important new characters such as the Snakebird Gold Pikeletcycle Gang and the famous, historical Mask that can channel the thoughts of plants. The orange rose that grows over the studio entrance has also just flowered for the first time since we have been in there.
Where can we find these wonderful garments?
You can access the online shop at www.kingdom-of-klah.com, or visit our beloved stockists listed below:
Nelson: Palm Boutique
Christchurch: Infinite Definite
Dunedin: Slick Willy’s
Queenstown: Angel Divine
Whitianga: agnes + annabel
Invercargill: Found My Way
Wanganui: Sarjeant Gallery
Northland: Outpost Hokianga
Brisbane: We Live Like This