One of my earliest memories as a kid growing up in the beautiful snowy landscape of my home country of Iceland, is Christmas with my family. For me, it is a time for family traditions, making memories and enjoying awesome food.
Whilst the snow fell outside, our family would prepare for the festive season with joy. I remember so distinctly my mum asking me to polish the silver cutlery, that only came out on special occasions, as I sat by our unusually large fireplace. Armed with polishing cream and a blue silver cloth, I dove into my special holiday job with the same fascination year in and year out – making the silver shine again and removing months of tarnish was a magical process! Meanwhile, my sister sat next to me making traditional Christmas ornaments out of paper. Being two years older than me, she was very precise and did this with great level of care. Once she was few ornaments in, I decided to give it a go.
The desire to do things differently was already growing within me – I wanted to make these ornaments but with new patterns. I started cutting out all sort of shapes and tried to weave them together but naturally my attempts were not even close to my sister’s in terms of precision or quality. Nevertheless, I was happy that I managed to make “my version” of the traditional Scandinavian Christmas ornament. And my love of Christmas continued to grow…
When my wife and I had our first child, a little daughter, I decided that I wanted to create Christmas ornaments for her to enjoy. But, again, I wanted to do something a little different. My first Christmas ornament attempt came to mind and I thought to myself – why not create traditional Scandinavian Christmas ornaments that would not be thrown away after a single use? What if I could craft these ornaments from real materials, whose lustre could be renewed like the silver cutlery of my childhood? What if my daughter could also discover the joy in polishing special occasion pieces at Christmas time? The seed was planted, and I set to work.
I created 3 traditional heart ornament designs, with hand-woven patterns and crafted these from sustainable sterling silver, brass and copper.
As I put the finishing touches on my daughter’s ornament, I decided to commemorate her first Christmas by engraving a special message on her heart. As I finished her special message, a client of mine paid me a visit. He dropped by with his wife’s gold necklace, which I had crafted the year before and requested it to be polished up in time for Christmas. He glanced at my bench, saw the ornaments and commissioned some for his family – one each for him, his wife and their 4 daughters.
A few weeks later he came to pick up his hearts and shared some bitter-sweet news. His father had passed away and so he wanted to commission one more heart to honour his father’s memory. He asked that the heart be engraved with his father’s initials and the years 1927-2016. He explained that he wanted his father to continue to be present every Christmas and what better way than for his father’s “heart” to hang on the Christmas tree every year? He then remarked, “I guess your ornaments will make our Christmas tree a family tree as well.”
This was an emotional start to my Christmas ornament collection, and I realised that it was already achieving what I intended for it to do – create memories, bring families together and be cherished every year.
I named the collection Jólason, which from Icelandic translates as “Son of Christmas,” and I invite you to click here
to view the collection.
With my very best Christmas wishes,