Tuesday, September 8, 2009

BJÖRN WECKSTRÖM | LAPPONIA JEWELRY OY

Today we visit Finland's Oulu University Botanical Garden located at Linnanmaa Campus' north end.

The garden provides the school's biology department with living specimens for research and educational purposes, while also serving as a lovely recreation area. Finland is also the birthplace of featured jewelry designer Björn Weckström.

A prolific sculptor Weckström has created a myriad of forms in bronze, acrylic resin, and glass. He created his sculptures within an aura of eerily prophetic themes that include Greek mythology, the technology boom, and humanity's search for identity in the face of technological advances.

His sculptures are at once grotesquely poetic, strange, beautiful, and powerfully intriguing. Although his jewelry creations do not possess the same provocative quality, Weckström does bring the same organic lyricism to his jewelry designs.

At age 21, Weckström received a degree in goldsmithing from the Finnish Goldsmith School, and co-founded the company Lapponia Jewelry Oy seven years later.

After a customer gave him gold nuggets from an area in Finland known as Lapland, he became fascinated with gold's natural matte finish. With this in mind, he creates jewelry fashioned into elegant, organic forms accentuating the natural finish with minimal embellishment.

The pieces are free form in structure and some resemble randomly folded or crumpled strips of paper. It is amazing that he creates three-dimensional plaster molds for his jewelry, as they possess an uncanny, hand-sculpted appearance.

He takes the same approach with his sterling silver creations; opting to highlight the natural, matte finish instead of high polish, an accent he feels looks artificial.

His ultra-modern, futuristic style garnered much attention.  In 1976, a young Hollywood director contacted Weckström to purchase one of his necklaces to be worn by the female lead in a film he did not name.

The following year Weckström went to see the feature film Star Wars: A New Hope.  He was pleasantly surprised to see actor Carrie Fisher, as Princess Leia Organa, wearing his sterling silver design, called Planetoid Valleys, in the final scene.  Needless to say Weckström is thrilled to have been a part of a film that would become one of the most influential movies ever made.

A limited number of these necklaces were made; however, Weckström has since designed a similar item, Galactic Peaks, which is sold from his website. In an interesting bit of irony, long before receiving the call from George Lucas, a few of Weckström's early bronze sculptures resemble a courser, edgier version of the See-Threepio character.

Currently living in Italy, Weckström has added professor to his list of titles; regularly lecturing at universities in the United States, the Far East, Europe, and Mexico.


Since 1963, his extraordinary body of work has been featured in galleries across the globe including Sweden, Canada, London, the United States, Australia, Japan, France, Italy, and Finland.
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Photo 1 (top right): 18-Karat Yellow Gold Lord of Insects Necklace
Photo 2 (bottom left): Sterling Silver Ygol's Cuff
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