Swedish designer Jennie Rhönnstad founded the jewellery brand Bedazzled in 2011. Since then she has become known for making innovative handmade jewellery and has just released her fifth collection, La Petite Mort. We met up to discuss it.
Tell us a little about the new collection La Petite Mort.
– La petite mort is French and means the little death, Jennie says. The metal used in the collection is mainly steel, silver, and aluminium, and the stones used in the collection are pyrite, mountain crystals, and amethyst.
– I like to find new places where you can place jewellery, places you might not have seen before. As if they would have grown out of your body. The stones and the textures in the jewellery are supposed to be like extra shells that have grown out of decay, therefore the name The Little Death. At the same time I want the jewellery to be something beautiful and enjoyable, as if something beautiful can come out of decay and degeneration. In French la petite mort is also an euphemism for orgasm. I love word puns, she laughs.
In French la petite mort is also
an euphemism for orgasm
What is your inspiration for the collection La Petite Mort?
– The inspiration for the collection started out with the fact that I wanted to work with stones, a material that I haven’t worked with before. Secondly I wanted to make something big. I often get asked if it’s difficult to wear my jewellery. Even though I don’t think my jewellery is difficult to wear, the thought still came into my mind; how do I make something that is big and looks like stone, but that isn’t stone and is therefore also light?
– Since I had a lot of aluminium at the time it was only natural to start melting it down to see what happened. The changes in colour that came with melting it became really good and I went with it. That is how the necklace Cliffhanger got its rocky surface and became the first necklace of the collection.
– I think Cliffhanger and The Rock (a ring with a huge amethyst) are the two pieces that inspired the rest of the collection. The Rock is more an inspiration for, she hesitates, well, if you want to wear a rock on your finger don’t be afraid, just bloody supersize it!
Did you encounter any setbacks with the collection?
– I often assume that everything is going to turn to shit, she says laughing. I obviously get angry sometimes when things don’t go my way. I have learned to put it aside and do something else, and then I go home and sleep on it. It always works; I come up with a lot of things when I dream.
– Since I have a lot of things going on in my life I always feel pressured by time. And because I like to follow the press months and release a collection somewhere around September and another around April it gets stressful sometimes. But usually I know my limitations so if I think I can do something; I usually manage to do it. There might be a little power of the mind involved; if you decide that it is going to work it will work, she says.
How do you come up with ideas for your jewellery?
– It’s difficult to tell, but oddly enough ideas just kind of show up in my head, she says laughing.
– For example I’m really good at waking up at three in the morning to write down an idea. The next morning when I wake up and read what I wrote, she laughs, half the time I don’t even understand what I meant, but sometimes it really works.
Create the things that
you wish existed
– Even though I love to draw I don’t usually sit down and sketch to see if I come up with anything. Usually I get an idea, make a messy sketch of it, and then I just try and make it myself. When I try to make things I think it’s easier to find out what works and what doesn’t, than if I would just draw it. Especially when I make jewellery that is supposed to be on some place on the body that I haven’t made jewellery for before. I have to try it out in real life to really make sure it works to wear, she says.
Word puns are something that frequently returns in your collections, where does this appreciation of language come from?
– You can see that the jewellery in the web shop is all named, and even though not all of them are super funny, I do believe that a lot of people will smile when they read it.
– I just think that it’s so darn funny, she laughs. But I don’t think I was born with it. I noticed how much I appreciated word puns when I met my best friend Lovisa, who is from Gothenburg. She really opened up my eyes to the world of punning. It does not necessarily have to be a word pun though, but just small jokes or some other play on words.
– The rings that are shaped like animal heads from the collection Every Story Has a Tail and the necklace Pig, with a pig snout made of metal, is the only pieces that I’ve made where you can see the funny thing about them. Everything I make is supposed to be beautiful; I never make anything purely as a joke. Even if I love word puns I still want the joke to be beautiful.
– Being deep could be a good thing, but I like it when it is not too deep. I think that art as a profession and designing sometimes become too serious. I think that it is really about creating things that make people feel good and that others want to wear. Deep does not need to be so serious all the time either; you can always view things differently. I suppose there always is a kind of depth in my work too, I obviously take my work very seriously, but I add another dimension to make it funny. I like that I can be the one who stands for the deep with a touch of easygoing.
What do you like about being a designer?
– There is a quote: “Create the things that you wish existed“. That is how I think about creativity. When I get an idea for something that doesn’t exist I just get so happy when I succeed in creating that thing.
What don’t you like about being a designer?
– When things don’t go my way or when I’m sick I sometimes wish I had a nine to five job. At the same time that is a reason why I’m a designer, to not have a nine to five job.
– Right now I don’t have any difficulties creating things. I can even be stressed out about the fact that I might not have time to do all the things I want to do. I keep a lot of notes. I don’t think all of my ideas are great, or even good, but the ideas are still there. I have half of my next collection ready in my head at the moment.
Buy and view Bedazzled’s jewellery here.
Photos by Mathilda Österlund.