All images courtesy of Karin Ferner.
The artist and silversmith Karin Ferner lives in the Swedish World Heritage Site, Falun, in Dalarna. Naturally, her work takes inspiration from the unique cultural heritage of the area, from the thousand years of mining and associated activities at the Great Copper Mountain in Falun to the folk costumes and embroidery of the region. Ferner works with an unusual mix of new and found materials: textiles, paper and silver. The textiles she uses are always recycled and often found at local flea markets. We asked her about the development of her process.
When did you first start to incorporate textiles into your work?
I trained as a silversmith at Konstfackskolan, Stockholm from 1970-74 and I had my own workshop in Stockholm until 1981. I then moved to Dalarna and had my own workshop, studio, within the World Heritage Site, Falun, where I also live. For the first few years, I worked almost exclusively in silver. I designed and manufactured countless jewelry collections, including miniatures of chairs, sofas, corsets, sprats and more as necklaces. A large collection of jewelry, made from my youngest son’s children’s drawings with different animals; cats, hedgehogs, hares, moose etc. They were sold in the shop at the National Museum in Stockholm.
Image: Vest with metal buttons and a bird heart in brass. Photo: Ingela Sannesjö
My husband Rune worked, before retiring, at Dalarna’s Museum, a folk art museum. Among other things, he took care of the museum’s collections and magazines, which gave me access to Dalarna’s entire colorful, wonderful cultural heritage with textiles, paintings etc. My interest in folk art, which has always existed, has become a big part of my life. It has inspired and influenced me very much. I have ”recycled” color, shape, feeling and beauty. I have used old textiles and ribbons from flea markets and antique fairs in my jewelry. It’s like a conversation with older times.
Image: Jewelry by Karin Ferner, photographer Ingela Sannesjö.
How did you start working with the materials you use?
It was curiosity that made me, twenty years ago, test if my two favorite materials; textile and silver, could collaborate. After some experiments I managed to get the soft textile and the hard metal working together. Now new wonderful opportunities opened for me. I work mostly in silver and a combination of silver and textile. The textiles are mostly old. I work in a sort of dialog with old times. To my exhibitions I use material, often from flea markets, for making exciting jewellery and creations. I want that my works shall give joy, surprise, laugh and a feeling of beauty.
Watch a video of a recent virtual exhibition of Ferner's work (in Swedish):
For more information visit Karin on Instagram @karin.ferner