https://www.instagram.com/thrjar.jewelry/If you are a committed follower of the dark arts, it’s extremely likely that you will have, at some point or other, stumbled across the work of respected Norwegian digital artist Daria Endresen. Her beautifully unnerving art has been captivating and feeding the hungry minds of art enthusiasts for several years, and has been exhibited in locations across the world.
But in recent months, Daria has been quietly working on a side project that takes a step away from her usual photographic approach. Thrjár Jewelry is an endeavour that embraces Daria’s deep-set passion for nature, and the culture of the great North.
I had the opportunity to work with Daria, and model her jewelry in the forests near my home here in Sweden, so have had one to one contact with her creations. I can tell you that they are all robust, distinct and gorgeously crafted, a far cry from most of the jewelry I encounter nowadays.
Daria was kind enough to provide me with an interview where she talks in-depth about the conception, growth and birth of Thrjár Jewelry.
The moment I caught sight of what you had created with Thrjár Jewelry, I was intrigued. It was clear as day that you had conjured up something really special, and fascinatingly different from your usual artistic direction. What was the initial motivation behind this side project?
I guess initially I just wanted to try something more tangible, more physical than photography and digital art – during my latest shoots, I discovered that I really enjoy creating props for my sets, and I entertained the thought of taking up sculpting for a while, but it was very vague and unclear; I had literally zero actual ideas on what to make and where to begin.
When I set my mind on jewelry and started sketching my first collection, it immediately felt natural, as if I’ve been doing it my whole life – I hope this feeling will linger.
How did it feel to shift from your role as a photographer/digital artist to a new position as a jewelry designer?
It was very motivating and inspiring at the same time. I’ve been doing photography for over 8 years and switching to something different felt truly refreshing. Besides, I figured I could try to connect the two, and continue with pictures in the context of my jewelry brand, which would allow me to carry on with both hobbies simultaneously.
After handling the jewelry myself, it became ever more apparent that this was a project which had been meticulously thought through and painstakingly crafted. How long did the creation process take – from initial idea to finished pieces ready for wear – and is there any part of the process that you would approach differently with future collections?
All in all, it took me about half a year from the moment the idea was planted in my mind and to holding the actual pieces in my hands. It was quite challenging as I am new to the field, and I’ve never been particularly good at business-related matters – but I truly enjoyed all the creative moments; inventing the concept, designing the jewels, building the website and working on the visual representation of the brand.
I will definitely try to take more control over the production process in the future – I have to say, I don’t enjoy depending on other people, and I am overly demanding, so it’s always easier to work on my own. Silver crafting is not something one can learn overnight but I am gradually getting there.
At what point in the creative process did the name Thrjár rear its head, and what made you decide that this was the ideal choice for your new creative journey?
Choosing the name wasn’t easy – I had lists of names, searching for various combinations in Old Norse, Norwegian and Icelandic, but none of those felt right. My boyfriend giggled at me because a lot of the titles ended up sounding like black metal bands (if you need one, hit me up!) – and, well, despite my love for this music genre, it was obviously not something I was after.
Eventually, one night, unable to sleep, I recalled one of my artworks, called “Thrjár” – it stands for plural feminine of “three” in Icelandic – and it was an immediate revelation; I realized that’s the name I wanted to keep. I like the visual part of it, and the way it sounds (here is a little guide for those who don’t speak Icelandic – http://forvo.com/word/þrjár/ ), and I think the meaning is a great match too; 3 is a special, magical (and my favourite) number, and in this case there’s also a feminine touch to it.
The past years saw you employed, for a time, at a jewelry store. What valuable knowledge did you gain from this position that you were then able to put to good use while making Thrjár Jewelry a reality?
First and foremost, connections – I am immensely grateful for all the help I received from my former boss, who has been very supportive and shared some invaluable advice concerning both the artistic and business parts of jewelry making. I’ve also had a lot of various brands and numerous clients to deal with, which is undoubtedly a very useful experience. Finally, it was my boss who gave me the idea to start with my own designs – who knows, perhaps without him and my time at his store I would never come up with the idea or dare try it.
The primary inspiration for this first collection is runes and the stories attached to them. Has this fascination for the sacred alphabet of your forbears always been present, or is it only in recent years that you have developed an interest in exploring this part of your history?
I’ve been fascinated by runes and Viking history long before the eponymous series came out. It started with a year’s course in Northern Germanic languages in the university (I am primarily a linguist); my love for Old Norse was immediate and everlasting, and I have tons of books on the subject. I try to keep up with all the new publications and discoveries – I suppose if I was brave enough when younger, and not thinking too much about possible economic consequences, I would definitely specialize in Runology and probably end up in a dark cellar somewhere, surrounded by old manuscripts and trying to figure out the true meanings of runic inscriptions.
All of the pieces from your first collection are crafted from oxidized silver. What drew you to use this precious metal in particular, and do you envisage it being the staple material for future collections?
Silver has always been my favourite, and I am definitely a hoarder; I don’t think I have any other precious metals in my vast collection. I’m guessing the reason for this might be that I am naturally drawn to colder, less saturated colors in general, which makes silver a perfect match. Oxidizing turns it darker, giving it the ancient look and feel – I just love that! I am most certainly determined to continue working with silver in the future.
Nature has played an invaluable role in the concept and creation of Thrjár Jewelry. How would you, as a Norwegian woman, describe your relationship with the Nordic landscapes that surround you?
I know it will sound like an awful cliché, but I am overwhelmed by an enormous feeling of belonging each time I am in the wild. I’ve travelled a lot and have lived in several other countries, but there is nothing closer and more beautiful to me than Norway; this land is a huge source of inspiration. Being a reclusive person, I also find my calm and solace in being one-on-one with nature, and I love the fact that I have the opportunity to experience it while living in a city.
The lookbook you’ve created for this first collection is quite different to the photographic style your followers are familiar with, though it does have a connection to your most recent photo series. What were your intentions with the lookbook, and in what ways did you want it to connect with your latest art?
I was aiming for something dark, ancient and ritualistic; if I had to name a character who I’d imagine wearing my pieces, I’d go for völva – a Norse shamanic seeress. It also has a direct correlation to my latest photo series, which basically explores the mysticism beyond a ritual, particularly one of a sacrifice.
Visually, the look book turned out indeed quite different, but I am glad I got to delve in this direction.
You describe yourself as a typical hermit. How does your hermit lifestyle impact on your artistic life outside of your four walls? Do you need to prepare emotionally when working with models or attending exhibitions?
Working with models largely depends on the models. Some people are easy-going and simply comfortable to be around, however I almost never take chances and work with the ones I’ve known from before, to avoid any nervousness or anxiety. All in all, I have been blessed with some amazing, talented ladies who are enthusiastic about my ideas and courageous enough to do my biddings in the most uncomfortable conditions out there.
Exhibitions, on the other hand, are rather terrifying; most of the time I feel like hiding in the corner and pretending I’m not there. I really appreciate the people taking an interest in what I do, but interacting and explaining my work has been quite a challenge.
You’ve recently announced an exciting collaboration with the gifted photographer Natalia Drepina. Are you able to provide a glimpse as to what we can expect from this meeting of two great and unusual minds?
I am incredibly excited about this project. Natalia has been my muse for years and I adore her artistic vision, so I am both honoured and happy that she will do her own interpretation of Thrjár jewels. For now, the plan is to create another look book, and a video presentation set on the track that Natalia is composing herself. I can’t wait to see all of it come to life and I will certainly share it on my website and all the social platforms once it’s out there.
From my recent social media rounds, it’s clear that there’s a great many people eagerly awaiting the release of the collection. Where and when can we find Thrjar Jewellery for sale?
www.thrjar.com is finally up and running, with all the pieces from ErilaR collection available. You are also very welcome to join me on Instagram where I post all kinds of teasers, previews and Nordic-related content.
Thank you very much for the wonderful interview, Katie, and CVLT Nation for having me here – it’s been a huge pleasure 🙂