It’s the middle of November, a few days away from my 33rd birthday, and a whole month to go before the winter solstice arrives with the promise of lighter days. And it’s time to manifest a change. I’m writing this for those of you who have followed me on this journey, as well as for myself, with the intention of creating clarity and space.
ELK market metal will take a break for some time. Let us walk through this…
In 2012, my first child was born and over the course of a couple of years, I became very engaged in the babywearing community. I learned not only different ways to carry my child in a woven piece of fabric, but about the historical, emotional, political and physical aspects of this practice. I also learned about Mama metal, a type of jewellery made particularly for people who wear their children and need necklaces that stand up to little hands pulling them. This intrigued me. I’ve never been much for jewellery myself, but I do love working with my hands, exploring different crafts and bending my mind around translating an abstract concept into physical form. This was, and remains, the very heart ELK market metal. The handicraft and the attempt of capturing notions in solid form. How can we take something that is not in the physical world, and keep it close? How can physical objects draw us back to what we need to remember when the world around is spinning faster by the hour?
So at the very start of 2017, I launched ELK market metal. I did a preorder for the primary serie and prepared five of each chain, three of each pendant. It felt like a huge investment at the time and I was very worried I wouldn’t sell more than one or two. But - I got 70 orders from a dozen different countries. To this date, I have shipped orders to over 20 countries all over the world. I have three retailers, in Copenhagen, Stockholm and, magically enough, on Prince Edwards Island in the western part of Canada, where my grandfather used to sail when he was a teenager and boarded a ship on the Swedish west coast in the 40s. I’ve been to fairs in London, Paris, Copenhagen and Stockholm and met hundreds of you out there. I’ve donated money after each fair to different NGOs working for environmental protection or women’s rights. And it feels important to write this down because it all happened from my small studio in our home. It all came from my mind and my hands. With a lot of support from my loving husband here at home, and with the help of you; customers, ambassadors and supporters around the world. I did this, and I am unbelievably proud.
Running a business on your own is hard work. It’s a constant balance between working for money, working for yourself, and also… taking time off. Not just to do the extra special things, but for everyday grinding and ordinary, boring life. Cleaning your home. Having arguments about the nature of SpongeBob’s world with your 6 year old. Sitting silently beside the love of your life doing nothing at all. Convincing your 4 year old that licking a cactus actually IS a bad idea. The little things that are the big things. And lately, I haven’t been able to take the time to do that. I’ve been stressed and worn thin and every waking moment I have had the nagging feeling that I could be doing something “better” - more efficient, more useful, more creative. And that is no way to live. Not if you don’t have to.
So, right before the big holiday rush, where companies are supposed to be running on full speed, to roll out their sales and special deals and what not, I’m slowing down. I’m choosing another path, one with less stress, and more space. With time to do nothing special. Time to just hang out with the people I love. To read, write, knit, photograph, paint. Again.
My aim is to be back in spring. Or summer, maybe. I won’t do a timeframe, and I might be approaching things from a completely new perspective. I have a few things planned, ELK wise, and will see them through, but after that, things will come when they come. I will soon list the remaining inventory in my web shop and once it’s gone, it’s gone. For now, at least.
If you’re looking for holiday gifts, please consider buying from another small brand - from the makers, the artisans, from the companies that engage workers in poorer countries and offer them a living wage and good working conditions. Please donate generously when and if you can.