After what seemed like an interminably long, dark winter, summer has finally arrived and with it, an emphasis on color, clarity, vibrancy, and, maybe most importantly, light. Here in New York, blacks, greys, and wool have been tossed to the back of the closet as sunglasses and sandals once again make their welcome debut. Dinner parties and movie dates have steadily been replaced by picnics and afternoons of aimless wandering. Given this seasonal transition, it seems fitting that Norwegian-born, New York-based jewelry designer, and creator of the Bjørg Jewellry brand, Bjørg Nordli-Mathisen would center her SS15 line–Hall of Mirrors–around an object that perfectly encapsulates the spirit of the season, with its ability to capture and reflect the new light and its history of inspiring wonder: the mirror.
Photo by Matias Rygh and Mathias Eriksen*
Known for her ability to seamlessly straddle organic form, raw material, and conceptual design, each piece in Bjørg Jewellry’s Hall of Mirrors is handmade and pairs contrasting materials like white diamonds and black spinel stones, while featuring repeating forms and a balance between positive and negative space. Concepts like duality and reflection play out through polished surfaces of metal and glass–sometimes turned inward to the wearer and sometimes turned outward, reflecting the world back at itself or allowing passersby to see the impermanent state of light and color.
“Duality,” Nordli-Mathisen says, “represents order, an organic order. We always say that we cannot top nature’s design, you are always seeking to get to its level. Everything is seemingly chaotic, organic, but under the microscope there are patterns, things are very well-organized and thoughtfully placed.” And while she didn’t grow up feeling necessarily outdoorsy, Nordli-Mathisen cites “the spectacular nature [in Norway] and the rough environment, with long, dark winters and short, bright summers” as having had an influence on her artistic sensibilities. And it shows.
Her pieces are all made with natural materials, with special favor given to rough stones and handcrafted metals. The end result is a wearable sculpture that feels as though it was simultaneously made in the future and in some fabled, pre-Christian nature culture.
A graduate of Oslo’s Strykejernet Art, Nordli-Mathisen originally worked in textile design before being inspired to try her hand at jewelry while on a trip to India, where the craftsmanship of the antique jewelry there struck her. “Those pieces were incredibly detailed and yet felt very handmade,” she says. “They also had been worn across a long period of time, but their marks and scratches were what gave them soul.” That ability that jewelry has to embrace longevity and change–to live–is what adds a level of depth to Bjørg Jewelry designs not found in most accessory lines.
And so, in true Bjørg Jewellry fashion, Hall of Mirrors offers the accessory connoisseur an experience that goes deeper than, “Does this necklace go with my outfit,” with pieces that instead provide the wearer with a sense of nearly mystical power. The mirror itself provides a unique form that, for Nordli-Mathisen, satisfies both function and philosophy. “It reflects the light, brightens and opens a room up,” she says. “There is also a mythical tension there; whether they make you think of Narcissus or introspection, a mirror lets you show yourself to you.” The small mirrors on pieces like “A Guided Dream” or “Double Wonder,” for example, have the ability to produce an awareness of the subjectivity of an experience in the wearer. By, “seeing something for a second time, the two images not always matching, you yourself have added to or subtracted from the experience,” she explains. Nordli-Mathisen also notes the power of reflection, or self-reflection, to show you things from different perspectives.
If that sounds deep for jewelry, that’s because it is. And that’s what makes it so great.
A quick glance at your wrist while wearing “A Guided Dream” could show you yourself, someone else, or the a snippet of the world from an angle you wouldn’t otherwise see, while a piece like “The Sphinx Illusion” might catch a passerby off-guard with a play of light or color. Those small disruptions in the every day lend the Hall of Mirrors collection an air of magic and wonder you probably never expected from your fingers, wrist, or neck. And after all, there is no other season that quite lends itself to spaciousness and small surprises like summer. So go forth; reflect wonder and have it reflected back at you.
* All photos by Matias Rygh and Mathias Eriksen. Concept and art direction: Bjørg Nordli-Mathisen, Christine Malnes, Matias Rygh and Mathias Eriksen.
Tags: Bjørg Jewelry, Bjørg Nordli-Mathisen, designer jewelry, Hall of Mirrors, jewelry design, New York City, norwegian design
Brooklyn-based writer and freelance culture hound Michael Braithwaite inherited an interest in design, objects, and personal style from her father and has a long-held love of the clean lines and color palates used by Nordic designers. When she's not writing, she enjoys spotting fashion and lifestyle trends and thinking about what they say about cultural shifts and interests. When she's not doing that, she's probably reading a book about ill-fated Polar expeditions of the early 20th Century.
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