Every day up until the 24th, we will ask one of our international friends – journalists, designers, curators and other wonderful folks – to select something that relates to Iceland and/or Icelandic design and architecture, and to tell us, who they would like to give it to. Today, we’ll hear Thomas Pausz‘s lovely pick:

I am fascinated by amulets, shrines and totems that convey special powers to mundane materials.

When I spotted these earings made from fish bones at the great traditional Icelandic goldsmith Gullkistan on Frakkastigur their raw mystery attracted me. With hindsight I admire these qualities in other Icelandic design work…luckily for me it seems that the next generation is returning to the skeleton of design, unafraid to find beauty in crude materials: using fish skin as sand paper, boiling horns etc.

I am giving the earrings to my wife as an amulet to overcome her fears. I have actually never told her that the bones on the earrings are from cod because I know she has not eaten cod since finding worms in one as a child… but shouldn’t a decent amulet – or a decent gift – have a little element of danger? I’m in trouble now.

Merry christmas, and keep those bones!


Thomas Pausz is an adjunct professor in product design at the Iceland Academy of Arts. He set up an installation as part of DesignMarch 2010, and was thereby the first international participant in the history of the festival. You can see the project here.