Winners for the 2013 Grapevine Design Awards were announced on Friday last week. The prize for best product line went to .. Kria Jewelry!

Cod II by Kría Jewellery (Jóhanna Methúsalemsdóttir) is a collection of jewellery inspired by cod bones. An interesting, beautiful new take on cod—the staple fish that kept the nation alive for centuries—the connection to local culture is strong. While the collection is strongly rooted in the local tradition and the form, language is almost poetical; it speaks to wide audiences both across cultures and sexes and is an economically successful product.
The objects have great proportions and compositions and have an interesting relation to human body. Details are well considered and the use of two different metals, silver and brass, is clever. In addition to looking great, this also makes the items more affordable. Kría’s concept is strong and the story is good. The extended product, from marketing to packaging and distribution, is well done.

Here is a little Q&A with NYC-based Jóhanna Methúsalemsdóttir of Kria Jewelry:

How did Kría Jewelry start?

I discovered a Kría (Icelandic for arctic tern) bird skeleton nestled on a black lava beach east of Reykjavik where I am from, while I was pregnant with my second daughter. Being enveloped in nature in Iceland after having left for New York as a teenager years before gave me instant clarity – not only about where I was but where I may be going.

What is great (jewelry) design in your opinion? What do you aim at in your work?

I’ll refrain from defining what is great. I strive to evoke a sense of timelessness in my designs as it is reflected by the natural world, and I try to form a kinship between the jewelry I create and the person who will wear it. Over the millennia the intimate relationship people have had with what they choose to adorn themselves with has cultivated mysticism and ritual, and I hope my designs can continue that tradition.

The path to success is rarely direct – has something gone terribly wrong? Are there any funny stories from the Kría history that you could share?

Oh, things go wrong all the time. Perhaps it is not wrong if there is something to be gained in the process, but it can certainly be unpredictable. The important thing seems to be to stay true to your vision and aesthetic, to be loyal to those who have supported and inspired you, and to not allow yourself to be led astray by the process but rather be informed by it.

You are based in NYC. What’s your take on Icelandic design today?

I feel very positive about Icelandic design and proud of my heritage for it is integral to my work. There is a handful of very clever and talented designers and a lot of individual and reflective thinking. Fearlessness, when applied constructively, is a quality that suits innovation.

 What are your tips to DesignMarch and Icelandic design scene in general?

Do some studio visits so you can see how the designers really work. I am a big fan and friend of Aftur, Vík Prjónsdóttir, REY, Mundi, and Jet Korine among others. There is so much talent to go around!

Images courtesy of Elisabet Davids