Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Meet the Designer :: Malin de Koning

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less,
breathe more, talk less, say more, hate less, love more,
and all good things will be yours.” 
~Swedish Proverb

Allow me to introduce a familiar name from the ABS challenges: our friend Malin de Koning from Sweden.
Tahiti - Ceramic flower pendant by ClassicBead
How long have you been making jewelry? What got you started doing this? Have you taken classes or are you self-taught? 
It depends on how you look at it really. I guess I started making jewelry at a very young age in one sense, because I have always been doing artistic and crafty (crafts?) things. Whether sewing, drawing or putting pretty beads on a string. But that aside I would say I started for real in 2008. It was a year of many turn-around-life events. The two main ones being me getting the diagnosis for MS in May, and then my father passing away only a few months later. He has been such an important person for me my whole life, and I miss him so much. And I keep thinking he is still inspiring me greatly. For his funeral I found myself having to make a special necklace. And that sort of started it.

I have a professional background and formal training in design and art (MFA degree in Industrial Design). I also studied Art History. Unfortunately I am not able to work professionally any longer due to the MS. I realize I use a lot of my knowledge and experience from my previous training and career's when I create my pieces. But basically I am mostly self taught in the actual jewelry making. I see something I like, a detail or a way of doing something, and then I try to do something similar myself. Or I get an idea of how I want something to look, and then I have to work out how to do it, which sometimes turns out to be a struggle, but most often a pleasant one. I've taken only a few classes. I mostly combine reading and looking at pictures with the trial and error method way of learning. 

Pastel Passion - wrap bracelet with ceramic art beads from Elaine Ray, Gaea and SpanksyDesigns
You have been a regular at the Art Bead Scene for some time. You create inventive and dreamy interpretations of the monthly art inspiration. Do you have a favorite artist or a favorite piece that you have made for Art Bead Scene? Are there any pieces of art you wish that we would use for our inspiration?

Thank you! Oh yes, I do love Art Bead Scene and its challenges. There are always such inspiring pictures chosen by you runners of the scene. At the moment I am very happy with my necklace "Tahiti", for the March challenge.  

I had this vision of the coral rondelle beads sitting side ways equally distributed all around it. The solution of how to solve that wasn't obvious to me, and it took me a few tries to figure out how to make it look just the way I wanted. I am so happy I didn't give up on that ground idea, even if I almost did at one point.

Another reason why I really like the challenges is that it so very inspiring to see everyone else's contributions, their interpretations. The whole concept of the challenges is so awesome really.

For my favorite artist, I'd say my favorite period in art is the 1900's until now. Colorful and/or bold expressionism, the Cobra group, Emil Nolde, Corneille, Matisse. Pop art, Andy Warhol, Oivind Fahlstrom (Swedish). Just to mention a few. I am already very pleased with the inspiration pieces you are picking. They are just right for me. If anything I have been thinking that it would be nice with an architectural inspiration at some time. How about for instance Santiago Calatrava, Frank Lloyd Wright or Oscar Niemeyer? The three-dimensional and spacial aspect of it could be very exciting. The relationship and communication between the forms of mass/body and empty space. Or sculptures. Maybe something by Henry Moore or Saint Phalle-Tinguely. Or music, or fashion, or events or …

Going to the Art Gallery - Black ceramic disk Round Rabbit, small round ceramic bead by Gae
You are also one of our international friends. Where do you live? What is special about living where you are? 
Yes, I am Swedish and I live in the countryside just outside Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. I used to live right in the city center before. We moved here when we got our first child about 9 years ago. This is a small and very peaceful community, a perfect place for kids to grow up in. And if you are into horses you should definitely move here. There are horses everywhere in the fields around here. It takes about 45 minutes to get in to the center of Stockholm, where Mark, my husband works. So we sort of get the best of both worlds.

I just love living in Sweden in general. It is a great country in so many ways. I love the changing of the seasons and the nature is very beautiful. We are a nature-loving nation. Access to nature is more or less considered to be a human right by the Swedes. Our social well-fare system and the infrastructure is something we are very proud of. Equality between men and women is high. It is generally safe and politically stable. Sounds like I am bragging a bit. What I want to say is that I feel so very fortunate to live here.

The Scandinavian design tradition, blond, stripped down and functional, is also something I am very happy to have in my genes. I might take it for granted as I have always lived in the middle of it. But of course it has influenced me a lot.

Let the Light In - Custom made focal from Tesori Trovati
What are your favorite materials to work with?Beads of all kinds with character and personality. Art beads, ceramic, glass, lampwork, nature materials, metal, oxidized metal, patinated metal, chain, silk, wood, plastic, trade beads, vintage, lucite, czech, polymer clay, seed beads - the list is endless. Above it all are of course the art beads. Most of my pieces include at least one art bead. I like to combine different and seemingly unrelated or unexpected materials and components and create something where you feel they are meant for each other. When I am not feeling all that well from my MS I like to do beadwork stitching with seed beads. One thing I recently realized is that I do not like too much of, or too many, shiny surfaces in my pieces.
Who are your favorite art bead artists? 
There are really so many, but I have noticed I always keep coming back to Heather Powers of HumbleBeads and Shannon LeVart of MissFickleMedia. I simply love their things, and they always kind of lift any piece I put them in. The list is long, but here are just a few more: Tracee Dock of ClassicBeads and ClassicElements, Marsha Neal, Claire Maunsell of StillPointWorks, Elaine Ray, Gaea, RoundRabbit, Green Girl, Barbara Lewis of PaintingWithFire, Kylie Parry, SwoonDimples, Jade scott, Amanda Davies, Genea, SueBeads, ZBeadz, Uvanomos …

Over time I have really become aware of the importance of using good, well made beads, findings and components in my jewelry. It makes all the difference. I love the way a piece of jewelry is kind of an unplanned collaboration between me and the bead artist. That is beautiful!

I recently had a very good experience from a custom made order of some art bead components. The result was amazing. I hope to do more of that in the future. (It would be my pleasure, Miss Malin!)
Where do you find your greatest inspirations? 

I find most of my jewelry inspiration in the international bead scene surrounding Art Bead Scene, in blogs I follow, on Etsy and flickr. But also everywhere and in anything really. People and conversations with them inspire me. Art, design, furniture, architecture and so on. Nature and gardening. In periods I look in jewelry magazines and books. Lorelei Eurto is a huge inspiration as a jewelry maker, simply because I love what she does. And she has a way of working with the components, to combine them, and to work with colors and proportions that I really like. It is both something I could almost do myself but then again just perfectly different to inspire me. And because she is so amazingly productive there are always new things to explore.

Visit with Malin de Koning online:
Beading by Malin de Koning  - where Malin takes us on her journey of inspiration!
Malin de Koning on Etsy - filled with lovely handcrafted jewelry filled with beautiful art beads!

Erin Prais-Hintz writes about all things that inspire her at Treasures Found::Inspiration Is Everywhere. Her jewelry designs are one-of-a-kind made one-at-a-time. She collects quotes and dust and invites you to send her your favorite (quote - not dust!) to


steufel said...

Great interview - I love Malin. Thanks for sharing! P.S. Erin, love you too:-)

Alice said...

Thanks for the great interview! I've admired Malin's work since I came across her blog a few months ago. I love her clean lines and fresh style. These pieces will never go out of style.

Heidi Post said...

Oh how wonderful to see Malin interviewed. I've loved her from the first time I read her blog. Her pieces are beautiful and inspiring, and I massively envy her collection of art beads!

Elysian Studios said...

I am so thrilled you highlighted Malin's work- she's an inspiration in so many ways!!

lunedreams said...

Gorgeous pieces!! I had not seen them before. Really remarkable. The one with Erin's focal is especially lovely.

How enjoyable to get to "know" Malin a little better! Her style is something I aspire to. (And I admire your country too, Malin! It says something about your culture that your country ranks at the top of the "happiness index"!)

Unknown said...

Malin has a Lovely touch! Congrats Malin!!

Holly said...

Malin's work is lovely! Thanks for an awesome interview :)

Barbara Lewis said...

What a wonderful way to get to know Malin a little better ... through a tribute to her and her work! I love Malin's use of color and the stringing she does using different cords and threads. Kudos to you, Malin!

BeadsMagic FREE Patterns said...

Thats stunning!

Gaea said...

Magic! Malin uses colors and textures so wonderfully!

Sally Anderson said...

Malin's work always looks so fresh and happy to me. And it has the unique ability to look sparkly modern and yet classic at the same time. I really love her work!

CreationsbyKari said...

I really love Malin's jewelry, and also really enjoyed reading this interview! Looking forward to her next creations!