When creating your own objects, do you follow a distinct order or subjective, or is it a mix of thoughts about material, texture, colours, etc.?
I made my first wooden objects after a trip to Japan in 2008. The trip was very intense, and it was the first time I visited a culture that made such a significant impact on me. I was fascinated by how the Japanese people handle their objects prudently and attentively. It’s part of their culture and tradition to act with care for their design, nature and other people. Also, there’s a lot of tradition and social manners which I didn’t understand, and which filled me with wonder towards objects and the people.
When I came back to Copenhagen, I had my first residency at the National Workshops where I made a bench. But before making the bench, I made different wooden objects inspired by my trip to Japan. I had so many thoughts about shapes and the wonder of function that I had to create them, and then later, I used some of these forms in working with the bench.
Some of your own creations have an expression of functionality yet no apparent functional purpose. Could you elaborate on that?
I am very interested in the word function or use, and what it actually means. The apparent purpose, for example, is that you sit on a chair, but how you sit, why do you sit, how do you feel when you sit, is for me just as interesting. I am intrigued by the rational versus the irrational, and all the things you do in life that are irrational but gives joy, experience and depth. That’s also what I try to express in my objects and design; to provide space or show the more irrational aspects of life, in the interaction with objects.
You use brush hair in many of your works. Why and what does it represent to you?
A brush is a fundamental and straightforward functional object. Still, there is also a lot of tactility in a brush; all the delicate strands of hair that reflect the light and can gently brush your skin. So again, I see it as a way to open up to more irrational and tactile senses when you hold it in your hand and feel the hair and wonder how you can use it.
Do you have an underlining reflection about human beings relation to objects as a guideline to your work?
I am interested in human beings, how we live, and the choices we make in life. I love the idea of a simple life with a simple design. I focus on the tactility of materials and shapes that are both simple, self-explaining and sculptural. But most importantly, I focus on function. The simple life is not equal to an intellectual life or rational design. For me, the purpose is also about giving space to the sensitive, wondrous and irrational sides of being a human.
Some may remember the Astrid Lindgren stories about Pippi Longstocking and how she labels herself as a “thing-finder”. Is that what inspired you as a child or an adult, to start picking up items you find on your path?
The first object in my collection I found in the streets of New York 17 years ago. It just laid there in the street and looked like a small creature. Made of black plastic with a beautiful surface created by years of wear and tear. Since then, I have collected many objects, often when traveling. When you walk around a city, very often you don’t really see anything – you just move from one place to another. But finding things is for me about taking the time to sense my surroundings. To wander slowly and observe everything around me, and then things suddenly appear before you on the ground.
In your studio, I noticed how you have sorted all these objects in trays. At what point did you start to be systematic about your findings?
Actually, I don’t see myself as very systematic. I just have different boxes where I keep my findings. But I love to arrange them in small still life arrangements and juxtapose different shapes, colours and materials. Maybe I arrange it for a photo or put it on a shelf. I have also made different furniture for organising my collections, which are called Tool Boxes produced by A. Petersen here in Copenhagen. It’s a set of wooden trays arranged in a metal construction, where each tray can be pulled out, to arrange things in.
Do your findings play any direct role in your creative process, when you work with your own objects?
It is more about my love for shape and form. Working with form is about keeping your eyes and mind open and concentrated on seeing and being aware when the form is just right. With my findings, it is also about looking at the shape when I find it. Most of my findings are components of industrial design. A form that once was purely rational, but now have value in terms of having an unusual shape.
Is this the first time you are going public with your collection?
I exhibited some of my findings, which I call The Gold of the Streets, in A.Petersen 2 years ago in one of the Toolboxes trays.
Do you have any tips for aspiring thing-finders?
Be open and sense your surroundings, and then be aware of what you are actually looking for. My collection is to most people just scrap, but because I search for specific shapes that gives me a sense of wonder, it becomes something else, and more, to me.