The Great Creators
Enhancing Our Community’s Cultural Landscape One Creative Project at a Time
(page 7 of 8)
Crafting the Curved Canvas
When I met Mette Gaardbo, I was swiftly swept away by a tide of intense, joyous creative energy. Her enthusiasm for art is palpable and her laser-sharp focus in the studio continues to yield a growing line of inimitable handcrafted jewelry.
The experience of seeing Gaardbo’s jewelry is one of being drawn into lovely miniature landscapes where delicately nuanced shapes and uniquely calibrated hues form hip flowers and appealing, intricate abstractions. She treats the rounded surfaces as curved canvases to produce imaginative wearable art.
Since early childhood, Gaardbo has been fascinated by flowers. She recalls apologizing to a neighbor at the age of three for plucking some out of their garden without permission. She studied to become a florist in Denmark (where it takes four years of schooling and internships to achieve this goal). She and her family were very happy with life in their prosperous homeland.
Six years ago, her husband was offered a good job in Bethlehem. Gaardbo gave up her rewarding work as a florist and the family relocated to the Lehigh Valley. Although she was content to live in America and raise her children, an overwhelming urge to reignite her artistic life grew within her.
She decided to study architecture and interior design at Northampton Community College and began making jewelry in her spare time. Gaardbo’s early projects involved cutting up recycled inner tubes and combining them with handmade beads. Her uncompromising standards propelled her to New York City for days at a time in search of the perfect colors on the perfect beads. The precise hues she envisioned had not been created—yet.
When her sister came to visit, Gaardbo quickly fixated on her Danish jewelry. The beads were exquisite, created using a technique called millefiori. This is a difficult, time-consuming process that requires great skill and patience. She experienced an aesthetic satori. Gaardbo saw this technique as her means to realize her dream jewelry. She dropped out of college and rigorously pursued her passion for making wearable art.
Remarkably, she started producing these beautiful pieces just over two years ago. Gaardbo’s masterful creations belie the short time she has been hard at work in the studio. They are certainly a testament to her ability to combine a unique flare for design, color and fine art in her creations.
Gaardbo’s designs appeal to women of all ages. Her creations are fresh, affordable and exude a refined, funky charm. Given the promising trajectory of her career, jewelry and art enthusiasts should invest in her pieces now. Gaardbo’s creations will age well and I suspect her early work will be sought-after collectables in years to come.