Hedvig Sommerfeldt

Jun 04, 2018Julia Kahrs

Hedvig Sommerfeldt believes that her background as an athlete is part of the reason why she was so fascinated by the corpus technique. She presents Norway Designs NÅ Vol. 5 IDENTITY with three objects in silver that make you want to take care of them. The hammered surface gives associations to skin and wrinkles, and expresses the passage of time. "Fragility and strength" is the title of Sommerfeldt's work.

What kind of work do you create?
I make jewelery and objects using a several-thousand-year-old forging technique called corpus technique. It is a cold forging in which a flat sheet of metal is shaped into a volume using a hammer and anvil.

What is your earliest memory related to art, or creating something?
I think my earliest memory of creating something was through playing the piano. I have an older sister who was an apprentice when I was five or six years old. I used to copy her piano lessons and play by ear. I loved making music, trying to find the right notes and finding harmonies. I still play.

What did you want to be as a child?
Clothing designer or archaeologist.

Did you grow up in a creative environment?
No! In my family, we played sports, especially athletics. I invested in athletics for quite some time and am, among other things, the Norwegian champion in the triple jump. In addition, I studied in the USA with a full sports scholarship. I think that's why I was so fascinated by the corpus technique. I can still be forceful, give myself to a task and follow the process all the way, from start to finish. Work for a long time with a product, refine it and not lose interest. I am also used to it and have been trained for it through athletics.

When in life did you first learn about your field of work? What brought you there?
It wasn't until I studied art history as an elective subject at upper secondary school (I was a general subject) that I opened my eyes to art and the stories behind it. This led to me going to Mølla Art School in Moss for two years, taking an art history undergraduate course at the University of Bergen, and then the Art Academy in Oslo. Being able to shape something on a smaller scale, to work with my hands, to be involved in the whole process and to create something personal attracted me.

What does success mean to you?
Success in this setting is being successful as an artist/designer. And to be able to live off it one beautiful day.

What is your relationship with your material?
I forge in silver and gold because they are primarily good materials to work with. They are also noble, which elevates the forms I forge. The slightly simple, old-fashioned way of making the objects against the exclusive materials is a nice combination. The silver's color spectrum is incredibly beautiful, from chalk white to black. Gold is almost magical and can be forged so thin that a bowl can stand and tremble. These are qualities I value. I am concerned with the fragility that is expressed. The forms seem fragile, but at the same time they are strong. Creating something that can surprise the user/viewer is also another interesting aspect.

Tell us a little about your workplace!
Currently under renovation! But I have moved out into another room in the house and am fine there so far.

Which object is your favorite among all that you have made?
I don't think I have a favorite...

What is the most challenging thing about being your own boss?
To always have faith in what you do.

Do you have any tricks or techniques that never fail if you need inspiration or to break out of routines?
Set some small goals so that you can get started!

What is your relationship with Norway Designs?
I like the concept and the products that are there. It is great fun that the focus is on Nordic art and design.

What expectations do you have for Norway Designs NÅ Vol. 5?
I am so happy to be part of this exhibition, and hope that it can help expose me even better as an artist.

Tell us a little about the items you are exhibiting in this year's exhibition.
I have three objects with me, all of which are silver. Two of them have a wide range of colours, which come naturally when the white-boiled "skin" or surface of the metal is allowed to stand for a while in the room. In time, it will become a spectrum of colors. Like our skin, which changes over time, the colors of the silver will tell about the passing of time.

Which identity do material and technique help to express?
A hammered surface can give associations to skin and wrinkles. The oxidized surface can also express the passage of time and a description of time. Two of the objects are thin and I think that can make the viewer be careful with them, to take care of them.

Is there one or more identities that are reflected through your work?
Perhaps fragility and strength.

You can read more about the project Norway Designs NOW here

Read more about "Fragility and strength.

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Jun 04, 2018