Meet Helle Lie Jakobsen, the Talented and Hard-Working Designer Who Makes the Coolest Earrings Out of Clay!

We had a chat with Helle Lie Jakobsen, a wonderful and talented weaver and earring-designer. She’s definitely one to follow these next years. Here, she talks about her “Play With Clay” earrings, her thought on moving to a mountain village five hours outside of Oslo, and her personal relationship with her clothes.

You are the designer behind ‘Play With Clay’. Can you tell us more about this and how the idea arose?

During the period I took the Master in Dress Design at the Academy of Art in Oslo, I worked a lot with tissues that are a time consuming craft technique. Although I’m passionate about weaving, the process. sometimes felt limiting and I felt the need for a freer work. Parallel to this, I visited as part of the Master's project, reminiscent of childhood. I went into the game and explored Polymer Clay or Cernit, as a form of plasticine you bake in the oven, an activity many can recognize from their own childhood. Play With Clay is a tribute to the imagination and curiosity of the unknown. Making earrings in this material gives me lots of energy because the result is always different, hence each pair is unique. In the last collection I have been inspired by the cosmic unknown. When Nasa released all rights to their photo library and made the photos public, questions arose about ownership of the outer space, which I find interesting.

Helle at the “lab”.

Helle at the “lab”.

How was a school day at KHIO (Oslo National Academy of the Arts) for you?
Interest and harrowing! There were two challenging school years, but in a good way. The environment was inspiring and the school has facilities to get lost in. Sometimes I thought that there are almost too many opportunities and that it is easy to blindly see everything one can and will do. A lot happened in the course of those two years!

How does a regular day look to you and what are your future plans for this project?
Lately I’ve had a lot on the program. I’ve juggled between teaching Design and Fashion line at Ringerike “Folkehøgskole” and producing earrings at home in my apartment in Oslo. I like to have parallel projects and feel I am most effective in that way. The next project on the board is to prepare a website where I find my previous work in addition to new projects, including news on the earring front. The website should be up and running during this winter.

Photo by Ida Fiskaa

Photo by Ida Fiskaa

Soon you will move to Folldal, a mountain village five hours outside Oslo, can you share your thoughts on this transition?
Yes, I have many thoughts about this! Together with my cohabitant, the plan is to take over his family's farm in the long term. In this takeover, there are many opportunities, but also a responsibility. We’ve many plans, and the time will tell where they lead us. First and foremost, it will be exciting to see how a life distanced from the city will affect my artistic work. In Folldal there are few people and much nature. I love to be out in nature and find much of my inspiration here. Living in a small place has its limitations in terms of accessibility, but fortunately I can be visible digitally and online, despite distance. I use the creativity in a small labor market where I partly have to create my own workplace. For a while, I will teach at a drug addiction treatment center - something new and rewarding!

Photoshoot with the photographer Ida Fiskaa

Photoshoot with the photographer Ida Fiskaa

What is your inspiration to design?
Curiosity is probably the one thing that inspires and drives me. For example, when I experiment with textiles, there is uncertainty in the process that creates the energy in the work. I thrive on the "lab", where I explore new materials and expressions. When I'm out in nature I often get new ideas, and I find it interesting to work with impressions and feelings related to this. Systems and lines occupy me, often as optical illusions with thread and color.

How do you see your project in five years?
Currently, I take one year at a time. I think it is important not to set long-term goals and rather be open to the fact that a lot can happen on the road. Something I see for myself is another calmness around my work and hopefully it spills over to what I create. Most likely, I will work project-based in Folldal with one foot in Oslo. Time will tell whether the dream of a farm studio in Folldal can be real.

Helle at the “lab”.

Helle at the “lab”.

What is the key garment you think everyone should have in the wardrobe?
I think it’'s important to have a personal relationship with the clothes you have in your closet, more than that some garments are more important than others. If you value your clothes, I think you are less likely to get tired and end up throwing them. Personally, I have many shirts in the closet, bought used and new in different quality and shape. The shirt is function and splendor in a wonderful mix and I like the shape has passed through the changing times of fashion.

How do you style yourself if you only have ten minutes before a party?
I always have bad time before a party, so this is recognizable! Danceable trousers, neutral uppers and large doubles - of course.

Photo by Ida Fiskaa

Photo by Ida Fiskaa

Your favourite:
Bar: I’m weak for a classic “rockebule”; now that Mono is closing, it has to be Revolver.
Clothing brand: Oslo’s many secondhand stores, like Ekko Shop, Fretex St.Hans Haugen/Grünerløkka, and the secondhand app, Tise.
Sunday outfit: A chunky knitted, large and long wool sweater from Cos.
Food: Bjølsen Sushi or anything my boyfriend brings home when he’s out hunting.
Drink: Bitterly! Grapefruit juice or a classic GT.

Photo by Ida Fiskaa

Photo by Ida Fiskaa

And lastly, where can Estér readers buy your work?
Instagram: @helleliejakobsen and at Ekko Shop on Grunerløkka. Website launches this winter!

All pictures are taken by Ida Fiskaa and Helle. Published with their permission.

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