IN THE STUDIO WITH MIA LARSSON
Mia Larsson makes her unique, up-cycled jewelery by hand in her studio in Stockholm. We caught up with her to find out more about her inspiration and process.
Mia, your jewellery line is made entirely from recycled, up-cycled and compostable materials - why did you decide to take this approach?
I studied for a Master Degree in Arts at the Jewelry Department of Konstfack University of Arts and Crafts. In my exam work I focused on materials and the importance of how we look upon them based on theory and philosophy. Thoughts on how nature and material, and us humans are part of the same machinery. To quote Giles Deleuze ”nature is a giant machinery that eat shit and fucks, and we are part of the same machinery”. Nature is not something romantic in the background. Materials are linked to everything and have a multitude of different functions and meaning.
For the artists and makers it therefore should be a conscious choice and act of meaning in what material we choose. I chose seashells recycled from restaurants as my material because it is an organic, decomposable, intelligent ceramic waste material from the mussel that are high protein food with low carbon imprints. It is part of a meal in restaurants that brings people together. When up-cycled as jewelry it can be worn with symbolic value for sustainability and also become a gift to someone we care for. Jewelry is a unique expression in its possibility to symbolically link us together with people in love, friendship, heritage connect us to places show our beliefs, belongings, faith.
You source all of your materials locally, and make all of your jewellery by hand in your studio. Can you talk us through your process:
The shells used in my jewellery are all waste from meals that people have enjoyed together. I pick up sacks of these discarded oyster and mussel shells from local seafood restaurants in Stockholm. I only use shells that come from fisheries/restaurants that adhere to the Marine Stewardship Council and the ASC ensuring sustainable fishing and aquaculture practices are used.
I take the oysters, mussels home and clean in my bathtub. It is not always so romantic, especially with the mussel shells where there are often a nice mix of other leftovers with toasts, napkins and more.
No new materials are mined to make our jewellery. I get my silver from NSG - they take scrap metal containing gold and other precious metals and separate this by electrolysis, which leaves no environmental impact.
In my studio I cut, treat and polish the shells, and silversmith the metal to make rings, necklaces and earrings. It’s amazing how much potential and inspiration each shell brings, contains. It is still so inspiring for me to make all kinds of different jewellery. I am still so fascinated and it is also so amazing the the little soft oyster, creature is able to make this fantastic ceramic material around there little bodies all by themselves. True wonders of nature.
The last step is packaging, which is made from recycled material and locally sourced. I have carefully considered every aspect of the brand, and even the packing presents an opportunity to positively contribute to the world. The boxes are made in a locally sourced company who make boxes in small scale with old machines and recycled cardboard. My business card are also made from a small local company with old printing technique with machines from the fifties. And my jewelry bags are made by an inspiring and talented immigrant women's collective, www.yallatrappan.se.
And finally, you mentioned that your jewellery is compostable, so how do you suggest people dispose of your jewellery in the most eco-friendly way?
I hope that customers have a long and happy relationship with their jewellery. It’s important for me to create a long lasting product, so I also offer free repairs, and will replace shells if they get broken or dull looking. Customers can also be happy knowing that when they do wish to dispose of the jewellery it’s circular journey continues; oyster shells are completely decomposable, so once the silver is taken out to be re-used the shells will compost in the right environment.
Find out more about Mia Larsson and shop the collection HERE