Meeting Old and Making New Friends
The Norwegian Jewellery and Watch Trade Fair, held from August 29 to 31 in Lillestrøm, highlighted both jewelers and suppliers. The Oslo Design Fair, running in the adjacent hall, featured not only Norwegian and international jewelers but also furniture, textile, and other types of designers. Compared to my preconceived notions of Scandinavian design, based on my 1970’s Minnesota upbringing, I was pleasantly surprised by the use of bright colors, accenting traditional designs.
Sharing a booth “Welcome to the Jungle:” Vlad Kladko, Alvilde David-Andersen & Benedicte Sparstad.
Communication is more non-verbal than spoken. Walking in, I quickly realized that fact; we need to get out from behind our computer and in front of people to grow. No matter the recent advances in internet, virtual reality, and mobile technologies, trade shows will remain essential for networking and business development. That is even truer in design related segments. In today’s world of 3D printing, digital images, and mass production, the consumer not only considers aesthetics but also the connection they make with the designer.
After an interesting conversation with Inesa Grigaite-Spuciene of Inesse Jewelry, I ran into a familiar face: Vlad Kladko (Vido Jewels). He introduced me to Alvilde David-Anderson and Benedicte Sparstad (Mani Kamini). Their jewelry complimented each other well in terms of shapes, styles, and colors. Seeing the jewelry alongside the designers, in real life, added a lot of meaning to our project, seeing the connection between the works and personalities. Moreover, it was interesting to see the possible ways their works could intertwine: i.e., earrings from Benedicte, a necklace from Vlad, and a bracelet from Alvilde.
Moving into the Oslo Design Fair, which occupied several large halls, I immediately saw Linn Sigrid Bratland (LSB). She is one of our inaugural members, working with us since the beginning. However, this was our first time meeting in person. Moreover, I could finally see all of her collections in real life and their entirety: Lauv, Nettverk, Maskerade, Rom, Fugl, Basis, and Fundament.
Combing rings from LSB’s Fugl and Nettverk collections.
Before the show, I had only seen a few pieces, behind glass displays, at local jewelry shops. Basis and Rom stood out with bright but sophisticated colors, stimulating the retina. The contrast between her collections is rather unusual. Some are following very traditional patterns while others are more edgy, making bold statements in ways never seen before. I previewed her latest work; The Marianne J collection is a collaboration between LSB and Eder Zinho Alves (French fashion designer). The handmade pieces combine gold, Sterling silver, and enamel, appealing to the modern and sophisticated woman with the heart of a warrior.
Hence, having the designer and the pieces present, lent much insight into the jewelry’s own personality – something that would be difficult to gather over the internet. While we were talking, Linn Sigrid combined two rings from different collections Fugl (bird) and Nettverk (network), demonstrating the interchangeability between her diverse collections. That simple gesture demonstrates the importance of seeing jewelry from a wide angle as well as the focused one, paying attention to the details.
Rounding up the show and fair, I spoke with and viewed works from Inge Hillestad, Ulrikke Vogt and June Rasch-Olsen of Opro (fine Norwegian enamel jewelry). I also had the opportunity to meet Danish designer Kirsten Bak of Baks Jewelry (pictured above in the beforementioned order). Each of them has a story, interesting and diverse, which we hope to cover soon.
In essence, this seemingly small and low-key jewelry show opened up a new doorway, adding a new dimension to our mostly digital concept.