Studio visit to Christine Mossige

Jun 28, 2018Julia Kahrs

Christine Mossige is one of the participants in this year's exhibition. Mossige is a jeweler and provides two different jewelery series for Norway Designs NÅ Vol. 5 IDENTITY. We went on a studio visit and got an insight into Mossige's unique jewelery universe.

Under Stationsveien on Holmen, Christine Mossige lives together with her sister and artist Cecilie Mossige. Half a year ago, they opened a joint production and exhibition space for art and jewellery. We are shown around a bright and pleasant room that combines a rough and rustic workshop with stylish glass fittings, a contrast that reflects many of Mossige's own works. The jewelery shows great diversity and alternates between rough, basic structures and fine surfaces.

" It was really a bit of a coincidence that I ended up as a goldsmith," says Mossige, "I studied art history in Oslo and got a summer job at Expo Arte Smykkedesign. There I was advised to train as a goldsmith, and was offered an apprenticeship before I had finished my education. I also got in touch with someone who helped me find a good school, and the choice finally fell on the Alchimia Contemporary Jewelry School in Florence, Italy. After two years as an apprentice, I got a journeyman's certificate and a permanent job at Expo Arte Smikkedesign, where I worked until I started for myself half a year ago."

While we study the charming workshop that could just as easily have been cut out of another time, Mossige tells us that she bought the entire workshop from Expo Arte Smykkedesign when it closed down. All offal and tools are thus reused, and since the equipment has no expiry date, it works just as well in the new premises as in the old ones.

In addition to making its own jewelery and collections, Mossige accepts commissions from customers.
I have several customers who come with old jewellery, gold and stones, which they want to take care of and give a new life through redesign. There is a lot of emotion attached to inherited jewellery. For some, wearing the jewelery of, for example, a deceased relative can symbolize having that person with them wherever they go. And there are many possibilities with second-hand jewellery. Other customers come in and want a specially designed piece of jewellery.”

"I like to work with the contrast between clean lines and rough surfaces."

While many people use computer programs to draw products, Mossige prefers to draw everything by hand. She makes sketches of all the products before she gets started, and when developing her own products she likes to use a mixture of sketches and prototypes, a working method that reflects Mossige's philosophy of being in close dialogue with what she makes. When it comes to choosing materials, Mossige mostly works in metal, and since she often starts with one piece of metal, she prefers silver or gold. She has a strong interest in all types of stones and is fascinated by the contrast between the fine, perfect and the rough and basic in both metals and stones.
"I like to work with the contrast between clean lines and rough surfaces," she says.

Many of her pieces of jewelery reflect elements from nature. For the NOW exhibition, Mossige presents the two jewelery series "Ginko" and "Krystalliseret", and it is nature that links the jewelery together. Ginko is a series of jewelery inspired by the Ginko Biloba tree. The leaves of the Ginko tree are a kind of hybrid between needles and leaves, they are thick, solid and ribbed with a distinctive structure. The jewelery reflects elements from the leaves and highlights its own shape and surface structure. Crystallized is a small series of jewelery in which crystal structures are reproduced in gilded silver. At the micro level, metals, like stones, are built up of crystal structures. Mossige is fascinated by the fact that crystal structures are found in so many places in nature, and is attracted to the beauty of the structure itself.

"When I'm not inspired by nature, I'm inspired by clean, architectural lines"

"Ideas often come suddenly, often from something I see in nature. When I'm not drawing inspiration from nature, I'm inspired by clean, architectural lines. It also means a lot to me that what I make is genuine and of good quality, in contrast to the use-and-throw mentality that often arises in connection with mass production.”

Nor are the ideas the problem, but rather the time. Mossige's sketchbook is full of ideas waiting to be put into practice.
"It is entirely liberating to be your own boss, but the biggest challenge is to sort the time correctly. Even though I have found some of my thing, there is still a lot I want to test out and experiment with further.”

"Being your own boss is extremely liberating, but the biggest challenge is managing your time."

Christine Mossige shares a studio with her sister, who is also an artist. Cecilie Mossige is painting in the other half of the studio. When asked if there are many artists in the family, since both sisters are artists, Christine basically answers no, before the sister points out that they had both a hatter, a tailor and several people who painted in the family, including the mother, grandfather and an uncle. Later it emerges that Christine has sewn several of her own clothes, just like her mother, which they have always done. Although the parents were academics, it seems that the craft tradition rests heavily in the family, perhaps so heavily that they hardly noticed that creativity and art had a natural place in their upbringing. Mossige says that the parents were always happy to make things themselves, build and sew, and that this may have been a contributing factor to why both sisters have become so creative. Sharing a studio with a creative sister gives rise to new ideas and potential collaborative projects, and as we leave the sisters, we get the impression that there is much good to come from the small workshop under Stasjonsveien on Holmen.

Read more about the Ginko and Krystallisert collections here

Photo: Linn Ellevseth Text: Julia Kahrs

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