Persistence is worth its weight in gold

By the time Merete Mattson was ready to lock the door to her former goldsmith workshop, the village streetlights had often long since been turned off. But on clear nights, the moon often illuminated the fjord and her way home. This is what inspired her Luna Collection.

“If I am really lucky, I can see the Northern Lights too,” says Merete. Such magical moments inspire. And when she is inspired by a new idea, she becomes oblivious to time and place and works well into the night. The renowned jewellery designer from Hemnes has several collections to her name. But it also happens that she lets others decide the theme of her designs.

“It’s good to have these challenges, which force me out of my little bubble here in Hemnes. The commissions or competitions can be complex and extensive, and often the “prize” is participation in some prestigious exhibition,” she says.

For instance, Merete Mattson was one of twelve designers featured in Galleri Format in Oslo in 2018. She presented her Luna Collection during the national conference of the Norwegian Handicraft Association in Molde that same year. During the 400th anniversary of the Bergen Guild of Goldsmiths she was one of the ten exhibitors chosen. And in Brand New Copenhagen 2011, Mattson was on of the 20 Scandinavian jewellery designers invited to exhibit.

Even more prestigious: in 2015, Merete Mattson won the international competition with her design for Her Majesty Queen Sonja of Norway’s new tiara.

Years of persistence and hard work have been worth their weight in gold for Merete’s professional reputation as a designer.

“I now work mostly in silver, but also used shells, precious stones, leather and wool, and even recycled plastic from the nearby aquaculture industry. In fact, I once made a piece of jewellery out of just old fishing line and plastic bags. But I do use gold when it’s requested for commissioned pieces,” she adds with a laugh.

Mattson’s work may tend towards clean, elegant lines, but she will often include meaningful details from her nature surroundings, local history or culture heritage, almost hidden in her jewellery.

Other times, the entire object reflects those references. Examples of this are her collections Kamkake (a traditional local bread), Okstindan (a nearby mountain massif), Havmannen (“Merman”), Luna (moon, of course) and Bissie/Saiva (the Sámi and Norwegian names for a sacred mountain).

That said, waves and movement are recurring signature themes in Merete Mattson’s jewellery design.

“That just seems to happen by itself. Our lives and the sea consist of waves and, after all, I live and work right by the fjord.”