Solgaard & Dahl

Mar 05, 2020Julia Kahrs

The collaboration between Kaja Solgaard Dahl and Anne-Karine Solgaard began when the latter gave birth to the former in 1984. In her mother's workshop, Kaja Solgaard Dahl started making jewelery from nuts as early as the age of seven, and for the exhibition "8 Prints" mother and daughter have created a collection of unique jewelery objects under the title ARV. The stones are worked as small sculptures, hammered out from a larger piece and then shaped and polished. The objects are a meeting between two artistry, between mother and daughter, and at the same time reflect an exchange between heritage and knowledge, generations and kindred.

What kind of work do you make?
Kaja Solgaard Dahl: I create sculptural works and work in the boundaries between design, sculpture and craftsmanship. I work in collaboration with other creators and on assignments for companies with various products. But then I also have my life project which is fragrance sculptures where I explore how to incorporate fragrance into our lives and develop the objects that make it possible.
Anne-Karine Solgaard: Jewelery and objects.

What is your earliest memory related to art, or to creating something?
KSD: I have many early memories of making things, it has always been a part of me and my life. But an early memory I remember well is that I installed myself with a cardboard box as a work table on my mother's workshop floor. There I sat with paint and nuts, the nuts were to become wonderful jewellery. I was 7 years old then.
AKS: It has always been present. Don't have any exact memory back in time about it.

When in life did you first learn about your field of work? What brought you there?
KSD: I have learned art and craft and have been exposed to it all my life in various ways, but I didn't really learn what design is until I did my bachelor's in product design in Stockholm, when I was 24. And when I later took my master's in design for "luxury and craftsmanship" in Switzerland, I began to understand how I could put together and use all my experiences in an artistry.
AKS: In adulthood, perhaps a little randomly.

What is the best advice you have received?
KSD: My supervisor when I spent a semester at the Design Academy in Eindhoven gave good advice and said: "Kaja, make your weaknesses into your strengths" and I believe that if you manage to do this, you have not only developed as a creator, but may also become a happier person. when I came home a little rootless after 7 years abroad, Per Farstad said it very clearly to me when I asked him for advice: "Now you just have to create things!" Simple and as obvious as it gets, but also therefore easy to forget.

"My language is materials and from my mother I learned that all materials have potential. That's why I never see anything as "rubbish" or "leftovers", nothing is worthless."

What is your relationship with the various materials you work with?
KSD: My language is materials and I learned from my mother that all materials have potential. That's why I never see anything as "trash" or "leftovers", nothing is worthless. Context, concept and processing can highlight any subject.
AKS: The materials are mostly subordinate to the ideas and depend on what I'm "looking for."

"The materials are mostly subordinate to the ideas and depend on what I'm looking for."

Tell us a little about your workplace!
KSD: My workplace has been very varied. From cafes in different cities, to beaches in Cape Town to sitting in my parents' basement for two months in a quarry last summer. Since a year ago, I now have a permanent studio space in Oslo and there I have the opportunity to work more with my own craft and exploration of materials. Most of all, it is a small lab, where I test fragrances, work with ceramics, sketch and develop concepts. And it's nice to have colleagues to share a workplace with.
AKS: Has had a workshop in a private home for the past 30 years.

What is the most challenging thing about being your own boss?
KSD: It is so easy to get caught up in the generic challenges of everyday life and lose the big visions when practical private life, finances, health and work are part of one and the same thing. Therefore, it is extra important to make choices based on faith in what you are doing and not fear of failure.
AKS: Being your own boss as an artisan is the most challenging aspect of the economy.

What motivates you?
KSD: I am particularly motivated by the fact that the way I work is a way of exploring the world. This also includes collaborating with exciting craftsmen, artists, designers and contractors. Learning new things is incredibly motivating and I never get bored.
AKS: It is a process where one takes hold of the other.

Do you have any tricks or techniques that never fail if you need inspiration or to get out of routines?
KSD: Travelling, walking in the forest, reading books, going to art exhibitions, staying in large rooms with high ceilings.
AKS: Do something completely different.

Tell us a little about the items you are exhibiting in this year's exhibition.
KSD: The objects are a meeting between two forms of artistry, metal and sculpture. The objects are a meeting where the materials and two people meet with contrast and composition, an exchange of heritage and knowledge, an exchange between generations and kindred. We have cultivated contrasts, the mirror shine and purity of the silver in contrast to the roughness of the stone and its play of colors in black, brown, blue and grey. The stones are worked as small sculptures, hammered out of a larger sculpture, shaped and polished, the silver is sawn out, bent and polished. The result is unique jewelery objects. By working with my mother who has almost 40 years of crafting experience behind her, I hope to learn from her through these objects hence the title "Heirloom" In addition, jewelery is perhaps typical objects that will be an heirloom.
AKS: A collection consisting of jewelery made in the materials silver and Larvikitt. A "raw" and pure expression where the shiny silver and the untreated stone play together.

How did the collaboration get started?
KSD: Well it started when my partner Anne-Karine gave birth to me in 1984, and for many years I have been thinking about doing something with my mother. When I was little I collected "materials" for her on the beach, stones, shells, things that I found and thought she could use them to make jewellery. Now 30 years later, I have done the same, collected stones from which we make jewellery. Quite nice when ideas from childhood become real in adulthood.
AKS: Was asked by my daughter if we could do a mother/daughter collaboration.

What kind of imprint or representation of yourselves have you left in the works for this exhibition?
KSD: The stones are from a sculpture I cut in the summer of 2019. A 10-tonne sculpture in Larvikitt, pieces cut, sawn and drilled from this block are the starting point for the stones that have been processed and become small sculptures used in the jewellery. So a lot of muscle power lies behind these small pieces.
AKS: Has acted as a "helping hand" with practical crafts and techniques.

About Anne-Karine Solgaard & Kaja Solgaard Dahl

Anne-Karine Solgaard is a Norwegian craftswoman with almost 40 years of experience. Solgaard makes both jewelery and objects, with the main emphasis on sculptural jewellery. Reuse and experimentation with materials are often the starting point and focus of Solgaard's work. She likes to use unconventional materials that she takes out of their original environment and presents in a new context. Solgaard has participated in a number of exhibitions and has been purchased by, among others, the Norwegian Museum of Art and Industry and the Norwegian Culture Council.

Kaja Solgaard Dahl is an Oslo-based artist who works in the borderlands between craft and product design. Dahl works in various materials and techniques with a main focus on sensory experiences. In 2016, Dahl established Atelier Kaja Dahl, which in collaboration with other players creates products and concepts at the meeting point between craft and design, sculpture and production. Atelier Kaja Dahl specializes in fragrance design and has received a number of awards and nominations for its products. Dahl has a master's degree in Design for Luxury and Craftmanship from Ecal in Switzerland, a bachelor's degree in Product and Interior Design from Beckmans School of Design in Stockholm, a bachelor's degree in Marketing Communication from BI, as well as individual studies in art, sculpture and installation.

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