"metal + matter - a jewelry invitational" is a celebration of modern jewelry makers and an homage to our roots. Over the next 6 weeks, we'll get to know one of our featured artists through their own words and images.
The third line in our interview series is with Linnea Oliver, the maker behind Bird of Virtue. With her clean, modern aesthetic its easy to see why we cued in on her collection as soon as we saw it. The alternative materials she chooses, combined with the colors and textures make her work feel like tiny wearable (kinetic!) sculptures.
How would you describe what you make?
Nordic and Mid-Century Modern inspired jewelry.
What drew you to this medium and style of work?
My heritage is primary Swedish + Danish, and my family was deeply tied to their Scandinavian roots + heritage. I grew up around MCM furniture, sleek teak tables, rosewood bookcases + the likes, so it seems fitting that I followed along this design path in creating my own work. It wasn’t until my mid-30s when I started Bird of Virtue, did I realize what an influence my parent’s style had on me. Since starting seven years ago, my work has evolved from working only in wood, to combining acrylic + wood – which I feel is a modern, yin-yang of natural materials with man-made.
Can you tell us about your favorite piece in the current collection?
The Erika Earrings. My most recent collection was inspired by a trip I took to Denmark + Sweden with my mom a little bit ago. The design was based off a small bronze statue I saw while we were exploring Stockholm one day. It reminds me of that special time we spent together.
If you could collaborate with anyone (living or not), who would it be and why?
Alexander Calder. His mobiles and larger sculptures – the geometry and how each piece interacts with the other. I grew up in Chicago, so his Flamingo sculpture in the Loop is one of those iconic images of my childhood. I marvel at how one goes about creating in such a large scale – perhaps because it’s the exact opposite of how I personally am – obsessed with detail.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given?
Follow your heart and stay true to your own values.
Can you describe your favorite part of the process in your work?
It’s probably when it all comes together + actually works out (lol). I do a LOT of tweaking designs + many times requires a lot of revisions, so it’s always a great thing when I get that final piece completed.
When you are in the studio, what are you listening to?
In general, I don’t listen to anything! I actually have a degree in music, so I find that listening to music really distracts me, so I prefer to work in silence.
What is your most treasured handmade possession?
I have many handmade possessions, but my favorites are the ones that have been made by my parents, grandparents + relatives and handed down through the generations.