Back

I think jewellery comes to life when you are able to see the person behind it and not a machine. Nanna Obel interviewed by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 28.11.2019
Nanna Obel Nanna Obel
Author:
Klimt02
Edited by:
Klimt02
Edited at:
Barcelona
Edited on:
2019
Nanna Obel. Brooch: Love Me, Touch Me Not, 2019. 14k gold, silver, enamel, photo, illustration, amber, ivory.. 4.5 x 2 x 11.5 cm. Photo by: Dorte Krogh. Nanna Obel
Brooch: Love Me, Touch Me Not, 2019
14k gold, silver, enamel, photo, illustration, amber, ivory.
4.5 x 2 x 11.5 cm
Photo by: Dorte Krogh
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
Wearability is not a key issue for me... Having said that, all my pieces are wearable because it adds an extra dimension to the jewellery, to see it on a body. The meeting between the wearer and the viewer is also important. If I can make the wearer and the viewer communicate, I have achieved a lot.
What's local and universal in your artistic work?
I often use quotes or words in my jewellery and always in English to be able to communicate with an international audience. The themes I bring up in my jewellery are universal: e.g women’s rights, gender equality, homosexuality etc. The local part of my work must be my use of materials. Things I have been influenced and inspired by on my path through life. I’m a collector of useful and not so useful things. They all make sense to me.


What do you expect when you show your work to the public (for example, with an exhibition)?
Nothing! But I hope for some reaction. That I make the audience/viewer or wearer think, talk and maybe laugh. That I make them reflect on the theme or narrative in my jewellery.


How important is the handmade for you in your development? What role does technics and technology play in your development?
I love to try new techniques. Maybe I learn to master them, maybe not. If not, I seek help from a professional, for example for casting, engraving or stone setting. But I try to do everything myself. It’s ok that every part of a piece is not 100% precise or perfect. I think jewellery comes to life when you are able to see the person behind it and not a machine.


When you start making a new piece what is your process? How much of it is a pre-formulated plan and how much do you let the material spontaneity lead you?
I plan my process and piece carefully before I begin making. I start with the theme or story. It’s often something that has been on my mind for some time. Then I try to illustrate it through images and quotes. I start sketching compositions, then move to paper and cardboard, cut and glue before the actual goldsmithing work begins. I need this process to be able to understand and plan the order of steps in the process.


Are there any other areas besides the jewels present in your work?
I’m originally educated as a graphic designer and have worked in that field for many years. I still do graphic assignments from time to time. Besides that, I’m part of a jewellery artist group of four. We work closely together on exhibition projects and have one dogme; We all have to agree unanimously on an idea. Or else we’ll have to drop it. Our working processes can be very time-consuming. But it’s good to be challenged and forced to explain ideas to my colleges.


How important is wearability in contemporary jewellery? And in your pieces?
Wearability is not a key issue for me. If jewellery touches me or simply make sense, it is not important if you can wear it. Having said that, all my pieces are wearable because it adds an extra dimension to the jewellery, to see it on a body. The meeting between the wearer and the viewer is also important. If I can make the wearer and the viewer communicate, I have achieved a lot.


The last work, book, film, city that moved me was...
The photo book Eyes as Big as Plates by a Finnish-Norwegian artist duo Riitta Ikonen and Karoline Hjorth. They photograph old people in nature. Characters literally inhabit the landscape wearing sculptures they create in collaboration with the artists. Fantastic photos, a mix of captivating portraits, fairytale and storytelling staged in the most beautiful landscapes.


What/who is the biggest influence in your career?
My grandparent’s passion for art. Robert Rauschenberg’s fantastic collages. Barbara Kruger’s powerful political graphic art. Ramon Puig Cuyàs wonderful compositions. Teachers and bosses, I have learned from in the past who were able to see my potential and push me in the right direction. Who trusted me and gave me room to grow.


Which piece or job gave you more satisfaction?
My latest brooch A Quiet Moment, because I can’t explain every element of it as I can with all my other pieces. It just feels right. To dare that is new and challenging to me.


What is your source to get information?
From newspapers, the internet, books, films, talking to colleagues, exhibitions, talks, and seminars.


Considering the experiences you have had over the years - if you could go back and give yourself a piece of advice for the start-up phase, what would that be?
If you love what you are doing, just keep on doing it and believe in it. Even if you don’t get any recognition. Listen to constructive criticism but always follow your gut feeling.


Can you describe your personality in 3 words, describe your work in 3 words.
That’s difficult! I’m more comfortable expressing myself visually. I try to be empathic, tolerant and humble. But in reality, I’m probably more sensitive, stubborn and hard-working. I would describe my work as loaded with stories, layers, and whimsical humor.
 
Nanna Obel. Brooch: A Quiet Moment, 2019. 14k gold, silver, enamel, photo, mahogany, driftwood, coral fossil, citrine.. 7 x 1,5 x 12 cm. Nanna Obel
Brooch: A Quiet Moment, 2019
14k gold, silver, enamel, photo, mahogany, driftwood, coral fossil, citrine.
7 x 1,5 x 12 cm
© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Appreciate APPRECIATE