When the structure and landscape of Elk market metal began forming in 2016, I gave a lot of thought to how to run a business without compromising with my ethical and political beliefs. There are many aspects of this, ranging from marketing strategies and choosing materials, to the design process and wording. I fully believe that the language we use shape the reality we live in and that these two cannot be separated. Words are bearers of meaning and a powerful source of healing - as well as violence. We must use them thoughtfully.
I also believe that there are many things so rotten in Western society that nothing short of a revolution can change it. The fight for human rights for all cannot be, and has never been, isolated to political processes alone. When women got the right to vote in general elections, when homosexuality and transvestism were removed from The Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare’s list over mental disorders, when the indigenous Sami people regained some of their rights to the land and their culture from the Swedish government - all these and many more issues, in Sweden and around the world, are pushed forward by people or groups who mainstream society declares to be angry, violent, mentally unstable, threatening, destructive or any number of dehumanising, patronising and untrue statements used to dismiss their claims to power and justice. Seeing the structure of power imbalance and examining my own words and actions is an ongoing process. With that said, I also believe that we do need thorough changes to our legislation and politics regarding social as well as environmental issues, and that all of us who can have the responsibility to affect the decisions our politicians make by engaging in politics - be it by voting, writing to politicians, signing petitions, marching... There are many ways.
Our language’s power to create reality also extends to stories, the oldest way we humans have to pass on our values, memories, knowledge. Long before we had text, we had song. We had whole worlds filled with gods and humans and animals and creatures and nature, and we remembered them by telling and retelling them. The stories I return to are the ones native to my own geography - the Norse mythology, the folk tales of southern Sweden and the Nordic countries, the influences from the Celtic and Germanic mythologies, the rich layers of all these traditions that feel to me like home and like ancient history at once. In many of the modern day countries which share this common or similar body of stories, they become, together with symbols and traditions, a means to motivate the exclusion and expulsion of people from cultures with other stories - because these groups tie the stories to the much newer idea of the national state. But national states are a modern political construct that has little to do with the cultural heritage of a geographic area. When I tap into the stories that have evolved over thousands of years in the place where I stand right now, I do this as a bridge, not as a wall. The stories I tell are mine to share with you. They are here to make us clearer to each other and connect us.
All this might seem theoretical. There are also more practical ways Elk market metal works to put the theoretical framework to use. Among other things, Elk market metal:
-Donates to non-profit organisations. Most recently, your purchases have contributed to Kvinna till Kvinna, a foundation working for women’s and girls’ rights in war and conflict areas, and Vi-skogen, an organisation working with agro-foresting to fight poverty and the effects of climate change in Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.
-Uses a thoughtful language in posts and descriptions. This includes for example not trying to sell products by stress or a false notion of exclusivity, or using the common discourse that says that something is wrong with you and buying a Thing can fix it. You do not need Elk market metal pieces to be a whole person, you already are. This also extends to never using derogatory language or slurs about marginalised groups.
-Works hard to find sustainable solutions for materials and packaging. All the gold used, and the main part of the silver, is guaranteed 100 % recycled, making sure no new metal is being mined under horrendous working conditions for both children and adults, with a big negative impact on the local and global environment. All packaging materials are recycled and/or recyclable.