Ever heard of Carl Christian Fjeringstad? No? Well, you’re in for a treat. This Danish silversmith lived a life that could easily make for a captivating screenplay. His story is a fascinating mix of ambition, artistry, and serendipity.
Born on April 30, 1891, in Kristiansand, Fjeringstad actually hailed from the island of Christianso, off Denmark’s northern coastline. Picture a young lad with his eyes set on the vast expanse of the sea, taking life lessons from the ebb and flow of the tide.
Guess what? It was his father, a local harbour master, who first introduced him to the world of craftsmanship. A young Fjeringstad was often seen crafting adorable hearts and animals out of amber. Kinda poetic, right?
A Change of Scenery: Jutland
Fast forward to the 1910s, Fjeringstad found himself in Jutland, Denmark. It was the allure of the works of Georg Jensen that led him to this fascinating place by the North Sea.
Encounter with Georg Jensen
Imagine learning about an artist who simply blows your mind. That was Georg Jensen for Fjeringstad. He was so captivated that he moved to Copenhagen, hoping to collaborate with the genius himself.
A Door Closes
However, life had other plans. Upon arriving, Fjeringstad discovered that Jensen was unavailable. Even worse, he was turned away by a snooty workshop manager who questioned his origins. Ouch!
A New Start in Skagern
Not one to be easily defeated, Fjeringstad set up his own workshop in Skagern, located at Denmark’s northern tip. Talk about a bounce-back!
Within a year, this one-man show expanded to a full-blown business employing four people. They were mainly crafting jewellery for tourists from Sweden and Germany.
World War I and France’s Foreign Legion
Then came World War I. Fjeringstad took the patriotic route and served in France’s Foreign Legion, earning the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor. Talk about going above and beyond!
An Artistic Intersection in the Netherlands
A New Chapter in Paris with Christofle
By 1921, he was in Paris working for Orfèvrerie Christofle, his talents endorsed by van de Velde. A match made in artistic heaven, one could say.
Here, Fjeringstad got to showcase his brilliance, designing iconic pieces like Christofle’s Cygne gravy boat and an Art Deco tea set in 1933. Both were so fantastic they were reissued in 1983!
Legacy and Style Evolution
As years rolled on, Fjeringstad’s role at Christofle evolved. He became the head designer by 1940, incorporating more geometric shapes into his designs.
Signature Materials and Motifs
Throughout his career, Fjeringstad wasn’t just about metals. He played with materials like ivory, coral, and, of course, amber. He also frequently incorporated avian and aquatic motifs, a nod to his childhood days on Christianso.
In the grand tapestry of art and design, Carl Christian Fjeringstad is a name that stands out. From his modest beginnings to becoming a luminary in the world of silversmithing and design, his journey is nothing short of remarkable.
Allan. (1994). Fjerdingstad: A Franco-Danish Silversmith of the Twentieth Century. The Journal of Decorative and Propaganda Arts, 1875-1945, 20, 79–83. https://archive.org/details/journalofdecorat0000unse/page/78/mode/1up?q=%22Carl+Christian+Fjerdingstad%22