“There is an awareness of the body when I design a piece. I like to create pieces that enhance a person’s strength and personality rather than distract from it.”
These are the words of Swedish born jewellery designer, Elin Hammarström. Launching her diffusion line, ELINH, earlier this year, Hammarström’s jewellery is about “raw simplicity”.
Hand-crafted using sterling silver, her work appeals to the modernist; that is, the woman who is after a chic, edgy piece using minimal materials.
Hammarström describes her first collection, ECHOES, as “a reflection of sound”.
“The way I see it, my designs are reflections of my past and present. They are echoes of memories, people, places and myself,” she muses.
Editor, Michelle Larin, interviewed Hammarström about her move to Australia, jewellery design and her first collection.
Q: Elin, tell me about you. Are you able to give me an insight into what it was like living in Sweden and why you moved to Australia?
A: I grew up in Stockholm, Sweden. Being raised there was wonderful and I always had a lot of opportunities, mostly due to Sweden’s close proximity to the rest of Europe. But I have always been curious and, for as long as I can remember, wanted to travel. So in 2008 I left my job to travel the world and, after visiting a few countries, ended up in Sydney. I didn’t plan to move here, but when I met my partner I decided to stay in Australia and study.
Q: Apart from jewellery design, what are some of your other interests?
A: I have always been interested in design and when I was really young I wanted to be an architect. Later, I grew a deeper interest in fashion. Fashion has always been a big part of my life and I think it always will be, as it goes hand-in-hand with jewellery.
I am also very interested in homewares and interior design. In addition to jewellery design, I have previously designed candleholders, eggcups, and other homeware products. It is something I would love to do more of in the future.
Q: What motivated you to study a Diploma in Jewellery and Object Design and then found your own jewellery label?
A: I have always loved jewellery, which is why I made the decision to pursue a diploma in Jewellery and Object Design at the Design Centre Enmore. It was probably the toughest thing I have ever done! I was unaware of how difficult jewellery making actually is; there are endless techniques to learn. But I love designing and creating and, after finishing my diploma, starting my own label felt like the natural step forward.
Q: Tell me about what you did before you founded your jewellery label.
A: When I finished school I started working in a jewellery store and that’s when I first fell in love with jewellery. For years I worked my way up in the fashion industry and scored a job in one of Stockholm’s leading Fashion PR agencies where they trained me in PR and marketing. I worked there until I left Sweden in 2008. That experience has helped me tremendously now I have started my own business.
Q: How does your Scandinavian background influence your work? What are other sources of inspiration for your work?
A: It influences my work a lot. I find I can’t really get away from my Scandinavian background when it comes to designing. It’s not a bad thing though; it’s who I am and I’m proud of that.
In general, however, I tend to draw inspiration from people. I find that strong women always inspire me.
Q: What do you love most about jewellery design?
A: It’s not a specific part, it’s the entire process I love. I love being able to transform an idea into a real piece; but there is nothing more I love than seeing people wear my designs.
Q: How do you conceptualise your jewellery designs?
A: Some of the pieces I create are inspired by the landscape of Stockholm’s archipelago and others are more abstract interpretations of the Scandinavian culture, people and way of life.
The pieces in my current collection are reflective and symmetrical, so for me “ECHOES” was the perfect name to capture the essence of this collection.
Q: How would you describe the style
of the pieces you design?
A: I would describe my design style as “raw simplicity”. My pieces are simple but with an edge. Some pieces are really raw and textured and have been oxidised to enhance that look. Others are highly polished, but the shape always indicates a subtle quirkiness.
Q: What types of materials are used in the creation of your jewellery and what is it about those materials that most appeals to you?
A: Through my education and working as a jewellery technician, I have learnt a lot about different metals and materials. I personally believe it’s important to use only the best quality material in creating jewellery.
I use 100% sterling silver because it's a nice material to work with. It is beautiful, versatile and high quality. If you look after silver jewellery it will last a lifetime. Apart from silver, I am also considering making some pieces in gold or platinum and I plan to include stones in my future work.
Q: What is the one piece of jewellery every girl should own?
A: A ring; or, actually, a few rings! I love designing rings and I love wearing them, especially stacking lots of them together.
Q: Describe your personal style?
A: My personal style is simple but edgy, just like my jewellery. I often wear Scandinavian labels and things that are a bit different.
Q: What influences your personal style?
A: Working in the fashion industry I have been exposed to a lot of different designers, which has helped me to really appreciate that less is more. In saying that, this also reflects in my jewellery and I only design pieces I want to wear myself.
Q: Who is your favourite fashion designer and why?
A: If I have to choose only one, I’d say Alexander McQueen. In my opinion, he wasn’t just a fashion designer, he was an artist. That is something I can truly relate to and respect. He was never afraid to push the boundaries and action things that had never been done before.
Q: End these sentences for me:
Jewellery is…a wonderful way to express yourself and your personality, without having to say a word.
Life is…amazing; you only live once so make the most of it and follow your dreams!
I am…who I am and I’ll always be true to myself.
Q: Where are you headed next with ELINH?
A: I have a lot going on at the moment. I have just launched an online shop, which makes it much easier and more convenient for my customers to purchase my designs.
I am also in the process of designing some new pieces. I have created plenty of rings already so I’m focusing on necklaces and earrings at the moment, which I haven’t done much of. It’s really new and exciting!
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