Interview with Maria Nilsdotter

Written by Michaela Widergren

It’s the 28th of August and it’s fashion week in Stockholm. I’m on my way to the event of Maria Nilsdotter, where the Spring / Summer 2013 collection “Lost World” will be presented.

It’s a busy time at the party, people are conversing and drinking wine while admiring the new collection worn by angel-like models and exposed in showcases like exotic installations.
Maria and I have a seat at a small table on the terrace, crowded by bloggers, PR-people and other fashionistas.

The first question I ask her is about the choice of material.
-Because I’m quite traditionally schooled, material and quality always comes first. I work mostly with precious metals. I love working with gold, it’s soft, yet strong and very worthwhile to work with, but silver is my main material and sometimes I also use bronze, which is a lasting and beautiful metal.

How much time does the process of creating a new collection take? And how important is the practical part?
Hmm when I do my jewelry I always start with research and sketching, after that I start creating models to try the ideas. Next I make the first original. It takes quite some time and a lot of puttering with details. It’s all a long process connected with everything around it. The practical part is important because I am able see the process from idea to reality. There are a lot of changes made when the jewelry takes form in 3D.

She tells me she feels contempt and is well aware of the dirty business connected to mining, and that it’s often hard to find well regulated distributors. She always buys her metals from relatively local distributors in Sweden and England; countries where the regulation and standards are high. Some of her pieces contain details of fur and leather, which are all vintage and hand colored.
It’s evident that her love for animals can be seen in both her aesthetics and her way of production. One animal, specifically the raven, is frequently recurrent in her pieces.

Tell me about your fascination with ravens and their symbolism? Which other animals do you incorporate into your jewelry and which animals do you avoid?
I like the raven because it’s such a powerful bird! If you ever see one you’ll be astonished by how big they are! They are just so interesting, for example: they often pare up to form lifelong relationships, then there are also interesting ravens in mythology such as Hugin and Munin.
I often find inspiration from mystical and scary animals, I like to combine them with precious metals and sparkling stones, it’s a fun and unexpected combination. I don’t think I would avoid working with any kind of animal. In school I made fun little animals like pigs, donkeys and monkeys :)

Which jewelry would you not leave your home without? And which is the most precious to you?
I always ware one of my silver claw rings on my pinky. One of my most important jewelry pieces is a big Zuni (Native American) Indian ring from Santa Fé, that I got as a gift from my husband.
I love how jewelry, because of its solidness can wander through generations, possessing a lot affection and stories.

The new collection for Spring / Summer 2013 is called Amaranth, inspired by the book with the same name. Amaranth is about an old lady during the 17th century who finds another world, a place that becomes her escape from reality - her own personal truth, her own lost world.
Maria read the book during her study at Central Saint Martin in London, and now it’s become one of what I think will be her most prized and recognized collections.

Will sagas and folklore be a continual inspiration for your designs?
It will always have a place in my heart, I’ve loved sagas and mythology since I was a little child, so I’m sure the fascination will last forever.

Her artistic vain can be also be seen in the scarves she makes for each collection. The garments are often covered with beautiful and enigmatic illustrations, incorporating everything from animals, insects, skeletons and female silhouettes.

You’re a brilliant illustrator, if you weren’t working with jewelry, would you be a painting artist?
Oh, thank you, I don’t see myself as an illustrator but I do enjoy drawing. I draw and sketch a lot during the design process and I think it’s fun to use my sketches for look books, etc.. If I didn’t work with jewelry I would definitely do something else creative, possibly painting.

Our time is running out and there are a lot of important people for Maria to meet. I feel grateful that she had time for our conversation, on probably one of her busiest days.

Lastly I ask, if there’s anything that journalist’s write about you, with which you disagree?
They often write that Madonna wore one of my head pieces during her Super Bowl performance. And actually she didn’t, her dancers did ;)

tank top NORRBACK

RALPH LAUREN sequin skirt


styling MEGHAN SCOTT / Magnolia

MICHAELA MYHRBERG hair & make up

model CLARA J/Stockholmsgruppen

SAMUEL ÖFVERSTEDT photo assistant

all jewelry by MARIA NILSDOTTER