Beauty, sensuality and violence; these three words describe the interesting work of Sofia Winberg to a T. The 27-year-old Swedish designer has surprised everyone with her jewellery and accessories that are more functional that traditional pieces.
Her rings, bags and harnesses are magnificent and her adventurous spirit and passion for the unknown helped guide her design of the objects, which you wear close to the body. The shapes and materials are beautiful and have hidden uses as well, be it for pleasure or for self-defence.
Sofia Winberg, photo by Jacob Robison
Sofia Winberg, recently graduated from the Royal College of Arts, is indeed a promising young designer who we are going to keep our eyes on in the future. So Catchy! Where Fashion Begins had the opportunity to talk with her the other day and this is what she had to say.
SO CATCHY!: Sofia, why did you decide to focus your studies on Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork and Jewellery?
SOFIA WINBERG: In the middle of my Bachelor studies I decided to go travelling in South America, my first stop was Buenos Aires. By coincidence I meet a British girl who was training under a goldsmith, Isaac Katz, and by curiosity I went along. I also joined a group of women who went to classes by Marina Mollini Weels and ended up staying for months. Through this journey metal and jewellery became the medium for me to express my interests in humanity, emotions and the body. I finished my Bachelors with a degree in History of Art, did an internship at a London-based accessories brand, followed by work as a coordinator for a jewellery gallery in Stockholm. The gallery had its metal workshop in the backyard for me to enjoy during late nights and weekends. A Masters in metal and jewellery at Royal college of Art felt like a natural next step.
SC!: Tell us about Anatomy Series (2009) and Metal Trilogy (2012) ( I am not sure if this was its real name). Meaning, aim, materials, techniques. To sum up, How did do you them and what did you want to express with them?
SW: In the Anatomy Series I was looking at body parts through a social context. I was focusing on ideals of beauty, the portrayal of women and the perception of power. The latter was shown in the elbow-piece. It enhances the wearer’s authority by his/her body language, to let the arm hang versus an active pose where the sharp blade shows.
Metal Trilogy is actually an extension of a ring I made in Buenos Aires. The ring was rectangular with sharp edges. When living in Buenos Aires I had to cross a railway line to get to my home. There were a lot of things going on over that crossing and that ring made me feel secure. It became my knuckleduster ring.
Metal Trilogy Ring – CNC-milling & Plating – Silver & gold-plated brass – Photo: Julia Hoff
SC!: We are quite surprised about your new collection tLHSbtURY (“to leave home seduced by the unknown relentlessly yearning”). Could you explain us this sentence with your own words your aim? What do you want to express with them?
SW: I have always had a wanderlust embedded in me, a longing to leave the secure and known because of an attraction to something, possibly undefined. It has been my motivation, especially when travelling. Still, travelling alone can be frightening and by the tLHSbtURY- collection I aimed to make pieces that would empower the wearer for this type of journeys. The pieces express strength with robust and simple shapes, some of them (the bags and the rings) also carry violent elements. The trajectories I often encounter in my work are sensuality, violence, duality, freedom, restlessness, and power.
SC!: The pieces are quite fascinating, artistic, a mixture between art and objects. You made even harnesses.
SW: The Harness refers to rituals, sensuality and movement. It consists of three straps that are attached by letting the straps run through each other. This is impossible for the wearer to do herself. The wearer needs to be dressed by someone before leaving home. I find a beauty of this ritual, to be in an intimate secure place and have someone helping you before taking off to meet the surrounding world. The body piece marks sensual zones as waist, hips, bum and breasts. When walking the back straps will follow the movement of the wearer’s steps. The idea of being on the move and being moved is what inspired me to start making bags. Being on the move implies a different mode of care, therefore the shape of the bags suggest that they are held close to the body as well as them being marked by the obsession of closing. For this I developed a fastening; the flap of the bag is secured by sliding a wedge in silver or granite through the leather. The sharp wedge can be used both in a defensive as well as contentious manner. The same goes for the rings that function as encoded weapons. I made fertile and pregnant shells in Bone China strong enough to be durable but thin enough to be deliberately broken in case of danger, this to disguise dangerously sharp points underneath. The other porcelain pieces share the juxtaposition sensuality/violence, one of them being a dildo and a whip and the necklace referring to both a phallus and a bullet.
Phallus-necklace – Slip-casting Bone China, Silversmithing – Silver, Bone China Porcelain
SC!: We see you worked with Vegetable tanned Leather. and porcelain. Did you use vegetable tanned leather to make your pieces? Why these materials?
SW: I was experimenting with a lot of materials and particularly leather. I realized that vegetable-tanned leather allowed for a broad spectrum of alterations in comparison to chrome-tanned leather. In my graduation collection I chose to leave the veg-tan leather untouched since I wanted it to react by itself to its environment and its owner. I was also interested in porcelain and once again I was captured by the qualities of the material. I find it very sensual to touch both in the making and when finalized. The characteristics were suitable for the dildo/whip and the Phallus-Necklace. Further, the fragility of porcelain was essential for the rings and I spent a lot of time experimenting with thicknesses to make it durable but breakable if necessary.
SC!: Define your work with a few words.
SW: My work is tactile, personal, sensual, violent and honest.
SC!: Are you working now or are you looking for a job?
SW: Both, I am working for myself and looking for a job.
SC!: What would you like to do in the near future?
SW: I am really excited to get absorbed in new work and projects. For example I want to start the making of a new collection of bags with innovative functions.
Quintuple Wedge Bag – Leatherwork, Silversmithing – Veg-tan Leather, Silver
SC!: What´s the future of Jewellery and accessories in your opinion?
SW: The boundaries of what jewellery is are getting blurred. To me, a piece of jewellery will always be an object bounded to the body by its function and to the human by its concept.
SC!: You can´t stop wearing…
SW: Specific pieces of jewellery become my talismans until it is time to switch to something else. At the moment I am wearing a set of three.
SC!: You can´t live without…
SW: Passion, creativity and space.
Wedge Necklace – Silversmithing – Silver
SC!: Your favourite Jewellery Designer is…
SW: Mi-Ah Rödiger.
SC!: Your next challenge is…
SW: To establish my own accessories brand.
SC!: A place to live….
SW: Is not one but two, London and Stockholm. The cities are somewhat each other’s opposites; Stockholm is smooth and easy whereas London is high in contrast with much of everything in all directions. Stockholm is a place to recharge whereas London gives pulse and motivation.
SC!: A place to lose yourself and look for inspiration…
I lose myself in my mind and with a pen and paper. I look for inspiration in emotions and earlier experiences.
SC!: Where do you sell your pieces?
SW: The pieces are available up on request firstname.lastname@example.org
SC!: What´s the best that happened to you in your life?
SW: One of them is studying at RCA and being able to fully explore creative concepts, techniques and materials.
Layout & translation by Michael Padilla
Header photo from Anatomy Series (2009) by Julia Hoff.
Want to see more? Scroll down!
tLHSbtURY Collection (2014)
Photos: Dominic Tschudin
Model: Eva Rodríguez
Garment: Marta Jakubowski
RingsSlip-casting Bone China, 3D modelling, Casting Metal, Gold-smithing
Single, Double & Quintuple Wedge-bagsLeatherwork – Veg-tan Leather, Black Granite
Wedge-NecklaceSilversmithing – Silver
Phallus-NecklaceSlip-casting Bone China, Silversmithing – Silver, Bone China Porcelain
ObjectSlip-casting Bone China, Silversmithing – Silver, Bone China Porcelain, and Horsehair
Three Straps HarnessLeatherwork – Veg-tan Leather