Five Go Mad

Sunday 25 July 2010

Q and A with Marte Frisnes

Marte Frisnes started out designing jewellery as a hobby. Marte creates simple and delicate pieces of jewellery which are all incredibly stylish. Her signature pieces are hand made and Frisne now dedicates herself to her craft full time. Her use of imperfectly cut, organic shapes and semiprecious stones makes her pieces fun and unique. Perfect for layering or wearing on their own, they are sure to add a hint of chic to any outfit. 

What is your first memory of being creative?
I spent large parts of my childhood on the beach looking for little bits of shells, stones, glass, old china and wood that I could put on a string or make into something. I always loved making things. Growing up on a small island as an only child means you have to develop your inner resources. 

How did your career in jewellery design start?
I was living in Oslo back then, after spending the summer in south of France where there was plenty of gorgeous costume jewellery in the shops. I was disappointed to return to Oslo to find the offer was very limited. It started with some simple beaded bracelets for friends and soon moved on, the demand was instant. It was never a business idea, more a hobby that developed into a livelihood.

What attracted you to jewellery?
I’m a very visual person so I am drawn to anything I find beautiful in any shape or form. Jewellery is a beautiful thing to make, not only for its aesthetic value, also the positive association they can carry for the owners. People contact regularly to say how much they love a certain piece of jewellery I made, which they were given for a special occasion or a special person.

Any advice for aspiring jewellery designers?
It's important to figure out what you are good at and what you like, then you can find your style and work within that range. Jewellery has a longer life span than clothes and can therefore be more like signature pieces.

What materials do you enjoy working with?
I love buying stones because of the individuality and beauty they have, and metals are great to work with because of the endless possibilities they offer. 

What techniques do you use to design your pieces?
Sometimes things happen by accident, other times I plan it out from a drawing or model, then source materials and make it.

Where does your inspiration come from for your designs?
I’m a scrapbook person, always collecting bits from exhibitions, magazines, fabrics, photos, etc to put in my books. I also do a lot of drawing and find ideas in nature and vintage jewellery.

Do you have a favourite piece yourself?
I obviously adore jewellery and like wearing all the designs. I have been layering lots of smaller, skinny necklaces for a while but at the moment I am really into wearing lots of bracelets together.

What is you best selling item?
It constantly changes, but I would say the large butterfly necklace.

Which of your creative contemporaries do you admire?
Creatively, I admire people who are good with colours like Keith Tyson in his Nature paintings and painter Peter Doig. It's great to see people appreciating their own strengths and making the most out of the opportunities that brings.

How did you hear about FiveGoMad?
Through a friend.

What does Quintessentially British mean to you?
Fun, quirky, individual with integrity. 

What do you enjoy doing when you aren’t working?
Spending time with my 2 year old daughter Stella and partner Oliver. I like having family and friends around, cooking a lovely meal with a glass of wine in hand. If I’m not at home I love to travel and trawl flea markets looking for bits and piece of inspiration or for our home.

Do you have a favourite haunt in London?
One can’t possibly have only one favourite place in London, there are so many great ones! I do love Portobello on Friday mornings, Brick Lane for vintage and Alfie’s Antiques. Felt is a great jewellery shop on Chelsea Green that has a mix of unusual and pretty pieces. For restaurants I love the West End; like Randall & Aubin for its simple food and relaxed atmosphere and Barrafina for its amazing tapas.  

What can we expect next from Marte Frisnes?
I am always looking for new elements to put into the designs and currently I am trying to incorporate fabrics and treads to the jewellery. Enamel is another element that would be great to work with to bring more colours into the designs. I have done more training this year to learn new skills which will come through going forward. 

Liz Appleby


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