Sjur Hassel, since childhood, had an extreme affection for mechanical objects and machines. The obsession runs in the family. His grandfather, a gifted auto-mechanic, restored cars by hand, using only a block and hammer. He was not only called upon to restore wrecked cars, but also build wooden furniture and chests, carving the details by hand. The talent didn’t rest there. Using only a stick-welder, he transformed his workshop into a blacksmith shop, making gates, lamps, sculptures, and hinges. Sjur’s father reminisces that he had magic hands,
“If a tool was not available or didn’t exist, grandfather made it.”
Sjur’s grandfather impressed, from an early age, that he could make something complicated from the simplest of tools. His mother also strongly influenced his life, working as a seamstress in the Royal Court in the Royal Palace of Norway. She repaired countless dresses and suits for both Queen Sonja and King Harald.
Part of carefully selected cadre with the highest qualifications and reputation, Sjur’s mother paid exceptional attention to the smallest details. She not only guided Sjur with handcrafted perfection but also imparted the importance of working with the customer until they are completely satisfied and not the other way around. Those values influence his work today in Sommarøy. His mother’s journeyman (craft certificate) hangs in front of his workbench next to his. Unlike other goldsmiths who build fully functional models, he extracts key elements, rearranging them into intriguing objects, inspiring introspection, and conversation. Educated at Plus-Skolen in Fredrikstad, he graduated in 1997 as a Goldsmith.
He believes that people follow trends, either in the conscious or subconscious. His interests are drawn together in a myriad of music, industrial objects, and nature’s mathematical symphony. Bold, yet worn out and strained surfaces, pique his interest. If something looks too manufactured, he returns to basics, hand filing the object until it tells a story. Sjur obsesses about texture, seeing it as a means of expression and a signature for his handicraft. Striving for a worn look – hammered, roughed up, or finely sanded, the bruised surfaces imply that the object is meant for use.
“I like to look at a piece of jewelry and admire every tiny detail. Thinking of the thoughts, time and energy used to make it” – person near and dear to Sjur – sharing his views.