Anna Talbot: Jewellery from fairy tales
Anna Talbot (b. 1978) is an Oslo-based jewellery designer. “My jewellery is inspired by fairy tales, nursery rhymes, songs and stories. Wolves, deer, trees, forests and Little Red Riding Hood are all central elements in my universe, but they don’t necessarily stick to their traditional places. I want to tell a story through characters, colours and materials, and I want people to keep inventing new tales inspired by my jewellery. My jewellery is like a 3-D pop-up, composed of elements in anodised aluminium, wood veneer, brass, gilding metal and silver. I use strong colours and varied surfaces to illustrate and create atmospheres. I work in layers to build up a three-dimensional piece. Some of my pieces are quite large, but with the materials I use they are still light enough to be worn. The size makes you aware of wearing the pieces at all times; they demand both space and attention. My jewellery can be hung on a wall or worn on a body. The piece becomes a picture you can carry with you.”
To understand better the roots and the environment of this emerging craft artist, TLmag paid a visit to Anna Talbot in her workshop in central Oslo. She shared some personal reflections on the evolution of the Norwegian handmade jewellery scene.
TLmag: You are of both Norwegian and British origin; how do you feel as an artist-jeweller in Norway, where you are now living and working ?
Anna Talbot: In a recent debate with Konrad Mehus, the ‘patron’ of the silver jewellery movement in Norway, he said to me “I hate aluminium !” I answered him right away: “Be careful ! Ornamentation is fine, but I belong to the ‘new school’, not the silver one, even though my jewels are also narrative, like yours.” Ornamentation does not mean decoration but, in my eyes and those of other jewellers of my generation I work with, such as Elise Hatlø, “pretty things are right and have to be appreciated for what they are”. I am projecting you into my before-waking dreams: that’s part of the magic, which is also born from the making. The way my ‘pop-up’ jewellery looks reflects the process, the material and the technology I am using. Anodised aluminium is a technique I learnt in the UK and have applied on all my recent pieces with a series of colour combinations which make them more delicate and storytelling.
TLmag: What are your sources of inspiration ?
A.T.: Books from my childhood are the most beautiful sources of the fairy tales I freely interpret. I like reading and inventing a twisted version of stories from the brothers Grimm or Charles Perrault. Astrid Lindgren from Sweden is another, and in Norway, I have been much inspired by the books illustrated by the 19th century neo-romantic and naive painter Theodor Kittelsen. He was the artist behind the Norwegian Folktales (Norske Folkeeventyr) of Norwegian folklore collectors Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe. I am also very connected to Bergen, with its tall mountains and wooden houses. Influenced by Germany, this Hansa town is popular for its beer and rainy climate. Bergen was named ‘the city among the seven mountains’ and is therefore ‘brewed in the rain’. I love this kind of atmosphere which makes us aware of who we are and to which country and identity we belong.