skip to Main Content
Master Smyckekonst

Staffan Jonsson

Daily observations as jewelry

Text om detta projekt finns endast på engelska

Over the course of some years I have had a summer job as a cemetery gardener – this became the starting-point for this project. I was curious – what would it look like if I translated my thoughts and views from this restful yet gloomy and melancholy place into miniature jewelry-objects . It was clear to me I needed to find a way to make my objects that in their aesthetics  could transfer the atmosphere from the cemetery.  

Using my material-based knowledge and understanding of metal I decided on a technique called niello. Niello is a metal alloy I made by melting together silver, copper, led and sulphur. The result is a blackish grayish alloy that looks a bit like graphite. Traditionally Niello was used to fill in engravings to enhance contrast between the engraved image and the base-metal. However, it can also be used three-dimensionally. This is the way I use it. 

When applied niello is cloty and rough with a rich texture similar to thick oil-paint on canvas or casted iron. 

The work started with a spade and a bucket – two common objects from the cemetery. I wanted to let the work lead the way in this project so each piece is made in relation to the ones before as a group. I also kept a diary of sorts with notes and ideas that came from something I witnessed at work or when there. 

One important aspect of this work is the mechanisms and solutions to make them into jewelry. I knew I wanted every solution in my miniatures to refer to how the object exist in the life sized original. The solution was to look at how the objects are used and treated in life-size. For example, the shovel-pin is based on how shovels are often hung on garden shed-walls and the handle serves as pin on the bucket, from here the project grew.