TALKING WITH MÄRTA MATSSON - PART I
Earlier this month we Skyped with artist Märta Mattson, sipped coffee, shared Moomin stories and talked about what we love most: jewels, jewels, jewels.
This is Part One of our interview:
“ I grew up as a very typical swede. I have two brothers that are very close in age. We have a summerhouse where I used to go out to the woods with my mom and picked up skeletons (of animals), dead bees and all these things, so when I was a young girl I always thought I wanted to become biologist. I wanted to become a marine biologist and at the same time I was also very interested in art. I think when I was around twelve years old I wanted to become a goldsmith for some reason and at the same time I liked biology because I love animals, but then when I was in school I realized that I didn’t like the dissection part or the grossness of being a biologist. I continued studying science the whole time in school but as soon as I graduated I decided to become a jewellery maker instead. I guess at that point I didn’t know so much about contemporary jewellery. I thought I was gonna, you know, be more of like a goldsmith or something similar” - Märta admits candidly.
“First, I did an evening course just in silversmithing and then I did a two-year course in metal techniques outside of Goteborg, this was before university. I’ve been obsessed with traveling and exchange semesters, so during this two-year course I went abroad to Hawaii for a semester where I studied arts and jewellery.
Then I started in HDK (Högskolan för design och konsthantverk- School of Design and Arts) in Goteborg, which is one of universities where you can study contemporary jewellery.I did three years there, one semester in Tokyo (Hiko Mizuno College of Jewellery) and another semester in Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in America. After I graduated in 2008, I went straight to London to do my masters (Royal College of Arts), so my education is a little bit all over the place.”
"It was when I started in HDK, that the teachers there started showing me work by contemporary jewellery artists and then I kinda discovered this whole world that was more exciting to me than silversmithing stuff."
“Right now I live in Stockholm, where I moved after London. I was actually born in Stockholm but hadn’t lived here for 10 years. I decided I wanted to get a dog and I needed help, ‘cause I travel a lot. So I couldn’t get a dog if I lived in London, so I moved back very close to my brothers and my parents- now they help me a lot.”
“I don’t have a favorite place to live, neither London or Sweden or any other place. If I didn’t travel so much, I like the moving around part, I think wherever I would stay I would be a little bit bored. Everywhere I have lived, studied or worked I have seen myself living there, but I don’t know if for the rest of my life; I don’t have a long-term plan. For now Stockholm is good.”
"About this, somebody once asked me, after a year of being back in Stockholm, what I liked about Sweden as opposed to London and I told them that where I used to have my studio I would have deer passing by outside the window- it is simple- You don’t get that in London. I love the cities but the nature part is really important for me.
I’ve been quite lucky, I’ve had a lot of exhibitions, holding workshops and lectures since I started, so I have been able to live off contemporary jewellery. In Sweden there are plenty of scholarships, you can get good support from the government and if you are lucky, you can get money to support your career.
It is almost impossible, to make a living out of contemporary jewellery, but not impossible.” -Märta emphasizes- “Nothing is impossible."
“If you look at big names in the industry, they are also teachers or something. You work with a fashion brand; have a gallery or something like this. From my perspective, the biggest problem in contemporary jewellery is getting your work out there."
What do you do?
One thing about having a dog is that I get to talk to a lot of random people, which I love, and it always comes down to these questions:
- RP: What do you do?
- MM:I make jewellery
- RP: What kind of jewellery?
And because of the kind of jewelry I make the conversation becomes quite long and then they might ask:
- RP: What materials?
And I answer dead animals, so you might imagine the reaction to that. It usually can get really weird, very interesting and fun too. And it’s not the easiest conversation starter. In general I always try to have a business card with me because it’s so much easier to explain, it sounds super weird when I say what I do, so with the cards I say, --“Here is my card, go check it out.”
*(RP: Random People)
About CJ (Contemporary Jewellery)
“I like the fact that you can wear it and it becomes an extension of your personality. I like wearing these weird pieces myself and I guess conversation starters in a one way too.”
“As a kid, I went through my mother’s jewellery box and I was wearing all these things. I started doing jewellery out of wire, beads and stuff and I gave them to my family and friends. It has been something I have always been interested in; the way you can adorn yourself. And with contemporary jewellery, it has been so much more because it’s art that you can wear and somehow the scale of jewellery intrigues me. It doesn’t take me a year to finish a piece; I can handle it between one day or sometimes weeks, I guess I like small things as well.”
“I love wearing them; I swap a lot of pieces so I actually collect contemporary jewellery myself. I love wearing them in public because you always start conversations around them. It relates a lot to the work I have been developing for the past couple of years, that relate to psychology and conversation, so for me it is interesting to get people’s reactions. And this is where I find my inspiration.”
-In Part II of our interview with the Jewellery Artist Märta Mattsson, we go deep in reflection about her work, the contemporary jewellery scene and more.
Click HERE to read Part II
Text by Lorena Canales
Photographs sponsored by Märta Mattsson