Medals is a humorous series of jewellery made from pure white acrylic with coloured bands. They address everyday heroes and heroines, taking as their inspiration classical medals featuring a cross-, crown- or star shape. Larsen was inspired to design these medals while still a student, intrigued with the prestige typically associated with distinctions and insignias. The medals were later reworked at the National Workshops for Arts and Crafts. Larsen’s medals can be used both as personal ornaments and for display in the home.
"Medaljer", Inger Margrethe Larsen,
Photo: © 2005 Danish Crafts / Jeppe Gudmundsen Holmgreen
Interview with Inger Margrethe Larsen
For Everyday Heroes and Heroines
Designer Inger Margrethe Larsen has always been fascinated with medals, in fact she feels that everybody should have one. This is the idea behind the amusing collection of finely worked plastic medals for lords and ladies, the housewives and the homeless and other heroes and heroines of everyday life.
By Kirsten Sørrig, Danish Crafts.
In 2003 the young designer Inger Margrethe Larsen received a medal from the Danish Queen Margrethe in recognition of her fine artisanship.
She was proud and happy, considering the whole thing a bit of a show, while recollecting with a smile the series of brooches she had designed the previous year. An amusing collection of medals for the little heroes and heroines of everyday, awarded according to the philosophy that everyone ought to have a medal, regardless of age, sex or merit.
“The funny side is usually very close to the serious one”, she says. “I’ve always been fascina-ted by the way medals function as encouragement, a pat on the shoulder, but at the same time I find their solemn symbolism a little strange. That’s why I consciously aimed for a humorous effect by twisting and en-larging my medals; I mean, when are you actually a hero or a heroine?” she asks.
“How hard should it be to get a medal? Is it at all reasonable to receive a medal for something which has been downright fun or simple? Or for the kind of jobs they don’t usually award medals for, like homeless people selling magazines on streetcorners. Don’t they deserve a medal for having the energy to stand there every single day?” she asks.
Larsen’s series of brooches is comprised of 36 different medals, all presented by Danish Crafts in Collection no. 9. These brooches have everything: pretty stripy bands of green, pink and yellow and familiar motifs; a crown, a star and a cross. The medal itself is a handsome size and made of white plastic. “Why do medals always have to be ranked into gold, silver and bronze medals?” she asks.
Larsen has pursued this way of playing with her materials ever since she was a student at the Royal College of Art in London, where she received her MA in 2002. Her work spans a broad range; she designs clothes, jewellery and accessories for men and women, such as clothes, where the jewellery forms an integral part, like a silver-plated shirt collar, or silver-plated cuffs.
At the moment she is working on a collection of boots made from soft, strong fish-skin, but has yet to find a manufacturer.
“I feel that some of the most inspiring fashion designers are the ones who distort and mag-nify things allowing us to see familiar objects from a new angle. If we can’t invent sliced bread, then at least we can turn it upside down, distort and colour it. It often does not take that much to shake our ideas and conventions”, she states.
Inger Margrethe Larsen, "Medals" / Acrylic jewellery / Photo: Edgar Oliveira
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