Scan Magazine, Issue 118, November 2018

Page 56

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Christmas Gifts from Sweden – Our Top Picks

Through the rhythm of a beating hammer Wall scones, candlesticks, chandeliers and garlands… Malin Appelgren designs and crafts all of the above and more in her workshop in Österlen in southern Sweden, using nothing but her hands, her craft, brass and pewter – and, crucially, plenty of time. By Linnea Dunne  |  Photos: Torbjörn Lagerwall

In front of Malin Appelgren in her workshop is a photo of her maternal grandfather, Karl-Erik Torssell. He taught her everything she knows. “I used to hear the beating hammer, a certain rhythm all the time, like a heartbeat,” recalls Appelgren, who spent her childhood summers with her grandparents. “That rhythm stuck. There was a certain calm over it, and when I finally asked granddad to teach me, I already had the rhythm in my bones.” Her grandfather, however, was initially sceptical; he thought the work was too heavy and not for girls. “I guess it is physical, so it’s associated with men 56  |  Issue 118  |  November 2018

– but there’s a special technique, a way to use the weight of the hammer rather than pure muscle strength, just so you don’t injure yourself,” Appelgren interjects. “And I do work to stay fit, to make sure that I am able to keep working like this. I teach a number of yoga classes every week.” When, after endless nagging, her grandfather finally gave in, Appelgren was allowed to work with pewter but not brass – the latter was too hard. “I stole a piece of brass and went off and secretly made a wall scone, and it was terrible,” she says. “So I brought it back to admit my theft, apologised and gave it to grand-

dad. And he picked it up and studied it in detail, just like he does with every single scone he makes, and he said, ‘Malin, this is the most beautiful scone I’ve ever seen’. It was his way of giving me his approval, and that heritage means a lot to me.”

The importance of time A one-woman business, Appelgren makes around 800 products every year. To her, time is as crucial an ingredient as the materials and craft – quite the radical attitude in an era of economic growth as the be all end all. “It takes time to create this product, and I hope that those who buy it can feel the time that’s gone into it,” she explains. “People are always onto me to make more, to hire someone – but no, I don’t want to grow. I make 800 products a year, and when they’re gone they’re gone. It’s not about money; it’s perhaps more of a lifestyle thing.”