It’s June 6, the National day of Sweden and a bank holiday. Schools are out, offices closed. It’s hot, stuffy, a warm wind blows in from the south. Too hot to work with fire.
And fire and heat is at the very core of what I do here. It’s a strong and living thing to have at the core, because what else does? Volcanoes. The earth itself. We do, in our fiery hearts. You can use it, but it’s unpredictable and at times uncontrollable. (And speaking of volcanoes - have you seen Werner Herzog’s film Into the inferno? It’s an experience. Volcanoes. Werner Herzog. Opera. More Werner Herzog. Opera while the camera zooms in on the bubbling lava sea of volcanoes. Opera. Volcanoes. Watch it if you haven’t, it’s beautiful, and a little weird, because, Werner Herzog.)
The Völuspá, the first poem of the Poetic Edda, speaks of Muspelheim, the realm of fire, guarded by the fire giant Surt, from where sparks flew to create the stars, the sun and the moon. Fire destroys, transforms and creates. When working with metal, you use fire to change its atomic structure - when a precious metal is heated the atoms are diffused and the material turns soft. This process is called annealing and is vital for shaping the metal. Once you have the shape you want, you need to harden it again, otherwise it would easily bend or be deformed under pressure. I do this by working the finished piece - hammering it with various hammers, some to create a structure or give the piece different looks, some to harden it without leaving marks. Heat and hammer, hammer and heat. Rearranging atoms. Changing the properties of a material to make it what I need it to be.
There is a sense of power in this, and at the same time, the limits are hard set. A piece worked with the hammer for too long will break. A piece worked with fire for too long will melt - it will turn into a swirling perfect little ball and there’s no getting back whatever shape it had before. I find this absolutely comforting. No matter what happens at the bench, there is always the option to torch the hell out of your piece and turn it into a perfect, smooth sphere. This is especially comforting when working out new designs - when there’s a clear image in your mind of how it should turn out, and then the wire won’t bend right, the kinks won’t be straightened, the pliers leave ugly marks, the proportions are all off… or any of the thousand other things that can happen on the way between your imagination and the finished piece.
And here’s the thing. When you buy something from me, you don’t just buy a finished item. You also get all of my unrealised ideas. All my failures. Everything I thought I had figured out but ended up torching to oblivion. You buy my trials and errors, and you know what the most beautiful thing is? You give - and get - the permission to try again. Again and again, and again. When you support me, or any artist or maker of things, you say that it’s okay to fail and be lost and sit and stare at the brick wall of a dead end. That you believe in me, in us, to sooner or later get up and have new ideas, new dreams. So when I pack your orders and send them out, this is what I think about. When I thank you for coming back to me and my work, this is what I thank you for. And if you ever should need someone to tell you what you have told me, I hope you can hear it in the necklaces, the pendants and rings, and in my words. In my pictures. Because if we believe the things we tell others, it must also be true for ourselves. Truth is not relative in that way. You are enough. And I will tell you that in the ways I can.