I just love chunky, modernist, almost brutalist Scandinavian jewellery and when I discovered the work of Björn Weckström it went straight into top spot on my wish list.
Weckström (born 1935) is a fine artist and sculptor but it is for his jewellery that he’s probably best known. His work is often inspired by ancient Greek mythology, nature and the landscapes of Lapland.
He’s a prolific maker – primarily for Finnish company, Lapponia – so examples of his work are readily available from outlets such as Bukowskis, eBay, Etsy. His pieces are mainly crafted from 18 carat gold, sterling silver, precious stones and pearls so they’re not going to be cheap. They’re individual, heirloom pieces – in my opinion, very much worth the investment.
A necklace entitled, ‘Planetoid Valleys’ and the ‘Darina’s Bracelet’, both designed by Weckström for Lapponia was worn by Princess Leia (Carrie Fisher) in the closing scene in 1977’s Star Wars film.
Weckström has said of his work and the wearer’s relationship to it:
A piece of jewelry is a miniature sculpture with the human body in the background. When I first began in the early 1960s, I wanted to turn jewelry design into small-scale form of art and raise its profile on a par with that of modern sculpting. Naturally matt gold soon became my trademark. Wearers of my jewelry relate personally to it. Some think jewelry is art, others think it is an intriguing complement to their personality or a fascinating conversation piece. Some think that it is quite simply beautiful.
Additional image credits:
1st Dibs | Artnet
We met Katrin Moye when she was exhibiting at The British Craft Trade Fair in Harrogate when we (and she) were just starting out about a decade ago. We can’t believe that we haven’t featured her work on our blog before.
We fell in love at first sight with her folk art, Scandinavian-inspired slipware ceramics. We wanted to stock her work but she told us that she was already booked up with orders for the next year!
She doesn’t have a huge output as all her work is handmade and, as you can see, the decorative detailing is painstaking. If you’re interested in buying her work some of her limited-edition prints can be bought on Made By Hand online or you can contact her via her Facebook page for orders or commissions.
She exhibits regularly (she’ll be at The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey in June) where she sells her work. In May, she begins an artist-in-residence programme at Nottingham Lakeside Arts where she’ll be running workshops.
Additional image credits:
Ainscough Contemporary Art |Made by Hand Online |
This week, we’re drawing your attention to the fantastic work of Teeside-born and Brighton-based Sean Sims. We first mentioned him in our Tuesday Huesday series way back in 2012 and he’s produced lots more great designs in the years since then.
His work ranges from children’s book illustrations, aircraft in-flight meal snack boxes, posters, greetings cards, gift wrap, magazine covers… even a jigsaw puzzle! Last autumn, he designed one of the 44 Snowdogs that were auctioned off on behalf of The Martlets Hospice.
His style is immediately recognisable – with hints of Alain Greé, Miroslav Sasek and Kenneth Townsend. No wonder we love his work!
You can get a range of his designs in his own webshop or on Not on the High Street.
Image credits: Agency Rush | King & Mcgaw | Yellow House
Erik Bruun is a Finnish graphic designer probably best known outside of Finland for his Hartwall Jaffa orange drink ads and Finnair travel posters.
However, it is other designs altogether for which he is most famous in his home country. In 1986, he produced the designs for the current Finnish Markka banknotes. He also designed a 2011 Sampo Bank payment card in collaboration with the Finnish Association for Nature Conservation.
He went to the Central School of Industrial Design in Helsinki where some of his tutors included Kaj Franck and Tapio Wirkkala.
In an interview with Mr Wolf Magazine, he said he was given advice by the latter:
One should be passionate and inspired when starting a job. If you are not, then don’t start. Without passion, nothing exceptional is born.
You can purchase reprints of many of his vintage designs on his website.
Here he is in a short film, putting the finishing touches on one of his Jaffa artworks…
Flickr | Pinterest
As you may know, we’re massive fans of children’s book illustrations. We have vintage books in our collection by Miroslav Sasek, Bill Charmatz and Alain Grée amongst others. One illustrator we’ve admired for a long time, but don’t actually own any of his books, is Brian Wildsmith.
Wildsmith (who died in the summer of 2016) was an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator with a large portfolio of work behind him. His books were playful but educational at the same time and covered subjects such as ABCs, birds and other animals, fables and bible stories.
In an interview for the Independent newspaper in 2010, Brian Wildsmith explained his ethos:
[Before ABC] the text was the most important thing and pictures would just accompany it, diagrammatically explaining what was going on in the words. But I could limit my text so the illustrations explained what actually happened. And not just the physical event of what was happening, but the vision of the people or the animals or the landscape around them. I was expressing in colour the wonder and beauty of the world in which we live, which had never happened before, and would have been difficult to explain in words for children.
Some of his books are still in production, however, if you’re like us and prefer vintage copies – despite them sometimes being ‘read worn’ – there are always examples available on Etsy and eBay. We’re after a 1st edition of his Animal Gallery which teaches lots of the collective nouns like ‘a corps of giraffes’, ‘an array of hedgehogs’, ‘a herd of seahorses’ and ‘a troop of kangaroos’.
Abe Books | Amazon | Hive
We normally feature ‘vintage’ designers in this series. However, that doesn’t mean that we don’t also appreciate contemporary design. One of our favourite designers currently producing is Tom Dixon.
He has worked with and for big names such as Habitat and Cappellini. But it is his own name designs for which he is now best known. I love, love, love all his metallic designs; from his lighting to desk accessories and coffee sets.
He has, in recent years, branched out into architecture including the re-design of Sea Containers House on the Southbank and one of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants.
His current designs are widely available from shops such as Heal’s, John Lewis, Selfridges and Amara. However, his out of production ‘vintage’ pieces often come up for sale on 1st Dibs and Etsy.
Have a watch of this short interview with Tom Dixon for Design Milk.
1st Dibs | Amara | Etsy