Fatigue and Chronic Illness

Jenny E.:

I don’t normally reblog, but this could be translated into living with chronic pain…. Like I have done for many years, and what I have previously done research on. Brilliant post.

Originally posted on So Bad Ass:

I was talking to another j pouch-ee yesterday and she said something that struck me as so true.

You wake up and think you could take over the world. Then you try to get up and your body says “no way, you are 90”

You see, one of the hardest things about chronic illness is the fatigue. Fatigue isn’t being tired. It’s an exhaustion that is bone deep, a feeling that your body is giving up on you. It’s feeling that every fibre of your being is suddenly being affected by gravity more than anything else.

It was the idea of your brain and body being disconnected in some way that really made me think. I wake up most mornings with my head filled with ideas, plans and lists of things to do that day. In my head I am powerful and could rule the world!!! But no one told…

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Hooked on Thai silk

By Jenny Ekberg
My grandmother Sonja Hahn-Ekberg (post coming soon!) was a world-renown textile artist. Her medium was Thai silk thread, and she taught me and my best friend Isabell to make bracelets using her technique. I remember us giggling, posing for the camera with our creations; one of the best afternoons of my fleeting teenage hood.

I have had Thai silk scraps sitting around for ages, and suddenly I had an urge to try it. I bundled the scraps into my backpack and headed to the beach. At night, by candlelight, I pulled them out.

After 5 minutes, dangerously close to the flame, I was hooked. I know now that I will never stop. My first test strip is a far cry from the shimmering silk sheets my grandmother created, but I will get there. I can feel it in my blood, pumping in my fingertips.

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Our new gallery page

We have had a few people telling us that they found it hard to find photos of our jewellery in our blog. Therefore, we have now made a gallery page where you can see examples of our jewellery made by Jenny Ekberg. We will update the page when we make new collections. You can access the page through the “our collections” tab in the black menu above, or via this blog post.
Hopefully it will now be easier to find our work in the maze of the World Wide Web.
Thank you,
Jenny and team.

Please click on the images to get to the galleries.

Posted in gemstone, metal clay, Our jewellery, silver, stenciling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kabul in my heart

Kabul in my heart
By Jenny Ekberg
When I say “Kabul”, my four-year-old daughter squeals with excitement. She remembers the exhibition we went to (Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul); the the Grecian-styled statues, the tiles in thousand shades of blue, the buttery high carat gold. I think of a city of war, injustice, poverty and suffering, where patches of brilliant architecture, art and colours shine through dust. I think about people of strength, courage, survival instinct and complexity.

Kabul picture 2

No, I haven’t been there, I have only watched TV, movies, documentaries, art exhibitions and, above all, met lots of Afghans; all of whom have been amazing in their own right, some tough as nails, some very intellectual and witty, some bound by traditions, some trendy or glamorous, some just incredibly warm and hospitable. They have all made a huge impression on me, in particular their ability to move on, to not dwell on a sometimes unbelievably traumatizing past.

Kabul picture 3

I made this fine silver heart inspired by the people of Kabul. The architectural outside is crumbling but iridescent, and the inside is coated with that high-carat gold I have only really seen in old Afghan jewellery. It has a hidden compartment containing a piece of Afghan fabric holding incense. It is not straight, it has imperfections, but I think that it is my favourite piece of jewellery that I have made myself. It goes with my vintage tribal jewellery and my Free People clothes, and it smells great. I love it.

Kabul picture 4

Material: Fine silver with 22 K gold filling, cloth, incense.
Technique: Metal clay (PMC3), stenciling with slip, liver of sulphur/ammonia patina, cold joined.
Who is it for: Myself, and my daughter Zoë when she is older and maybe wants to borrow it.
Kabul picture 5
If you are a jewellery artisan and wants to know more about how I made this necklace, please contact me. I am happy to share all my “secrets”!

Image credits: Afghanistaninphotostumblr.com, National Museum of Afghanistan, Queensland Museum, Wikipedia, James St John, Brisbane.

Posted in Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Art, central asia, Kabul, metal clay, Our jewellery, silver, stenciling, world | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Saira Hunjan – the girl with the golden needle

IMAGE1She is known for her intricate, henna-like Indian-inspired goddess designs and for tattooing Kate Moss’s butt. She is also my favourite tattoo artist and if I had the money I would put myself on her two-year waiting list right now.
So who is Saira Hunjan?

She is from London, of Indian heritage and has been in the world of ink since she was 14 and did work experience in a tattoo parlour. With 10 years work experience, degrees from Central Saint Martins and Camberwell College of Arts and a bunch of A-lister tattoos (the Primrose hill crowd) on her resume, Saira Hunjan is definitely one of the Big Names right now. She has been featured in Vogue and the Guardian, and has been involved in collaborations resulting in her art now also being printed on clothing and stamped in leather. Saira has said in interviews she is inspired by art from Mexico and India, religious art, goddesses, death and gypsy art, resulting in intricate, detailed designs that celebrate feminine beauty. I am absolutely blown away by her designs, what more can I say. The art speaks for itself.

You can see more of Saira Hunjan’s tattoo art on her website and her tumblr page ,

Images from Saira Hunjan’s website, The Guardian, SOMA magazine, Travelingbirds and Tigerdust blogs.

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Fresh off the bench: amethyst cluster dream catcher necklace


By Jenny Ekberg

Just finished this necklace after tweaking, re-shaping and re-patinating for the millionth time; my version of the obligatory dream catcher necklace. I made it in fine silver using the same techniques as for my Kashgar ring, and with LOTS of effort and help from my husband managed to set this irregular cluster of amethyst crystal tips, as dark as the darkest violets in a springtime forest.

So, here are the facts:
Material? fine silver, amethysts, liver of sulphur patina
Inspiration? architecture in Kashgar, China
How long did it take? About 3 months (note that I can only work at the bench a stolen night here and there)
For who? Myself this time!

It is 00.30 so I better go to sleep. Outside the darkness is like black velvet and the poodles are howling at possums jumping on the roof like drunken ghosts.
Good night!

Posted in central asia, china, gemstone, kashgar, metal clay, Our jewellery, silver, stenciling, uyghur, world, xinjiang | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Soul in limbo: Memetjan Abla

post memetjan 1

At midnight, between the 7th and 8th of March, Uyghur artist Memetjan Abla (Abdullah) boarded Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur. He was on his way back to his wife and daughter in Beijing, after winning an award at the “Chinese Dream: Red and Green Painting” art exhibition and culutural exchange conference, held March 4 to 6 in the Malaysian city. As we now know, he never made it; the plane turned into fog somewhere mid air.

Who was Memetjan Abla? Or, who is he? I guess, that we must consider that he is gone, although it feels like he is still in limbo.
Slowly, a portrait starts to emerge of a passionate painter, who used oil as his medium. He was from Kashgar, where he taught art at middle school. His colleagues speak with distraught eyes of his passion and hard work; how he lived on 2-minute noodles while studying in Beijing, determined and focussed. In the photo, his eyes look just like that, serious, maybe even feverish.

His paintings convey to me what I think the soul of Kashgar would be like. I have never been to Xinjiang, but when I look at Memetjan’s paintings, I feel like I am standing there, on a roof in the old town, watching the strangeness of the changing city, along the Uyghur people in Outlook (above) who watch with distance the New People’s steel houses appearing like mushrooms after an autumn rain. It is something about the light and the colours that captivate me completely; the purple and yellow in Outlook, the January white in the winter market scene, the shimmering in the crumbling Kashgar old town houses.

What else do we know about Memetjan, who’s life just got put on some kind of hold just like that? He was 35, born in the same year as me; as a Generation Xer he would remember the Wind of Change, Chernobyl and the end of Apartheid. He might have listened to the same music as I did. He was talented, strongheaded, determined, fashinating, brilliant. About all the rest, all his thoughts, fears, emotions, dreams, I can say nothing. Just that his art will never die; his portraits of Kashgar and the Uyghur soul will never disappear, they are a mark in time, a barometer, an encyclopedium burning with iridescence.

But still.

It’s such a tragedy.


You can read about Memetjan Abla in this blog post by Beige Wind (The art of life in Chinese Central Asia), and find his art work on Memetjan Abla’s own web site here .

Image sources: Memetjan Abla’s website, Beijing Cream, CNN.


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Kashgar ring

Kashgar ring, made by me
I dream of one day going to Kashgar, hopefully with my family. I made this ring inspired by photos I have seen of the old town in Kashgar; beautiful, unique, colourful, threatened by demolition, but very much alive.

How did I make it? I made the ring from fine silver metal clay (PMC3), using a stenciling technique according to Kelly Russell’s instructions in the book PMC Technic (edited by Tim McCreight). I gave it a vibrant Liver of Sulphur-patina and set a large iridescent freshwater pearl in the centre.

Who did I make it for? My mum, for Christmas.


Kashgar image sources: MichelCaster.com, ibtimes.com, tripadvisor.com.

Posted in central asia, china, kashgar, metal clay, Our jewellery, silver, stenciling, uyghur, xinjiang | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Lucky horse shoes

fine silver bronze hs
By Jenny Ekberg
There is something about horse shoes. How can something so rustic feel so magical?
As a child in Sweden, I would watch in awe my practical, earthy grandparents Ida and Nils turn silent and supersticial when stumbling over a rusty horse shoe whilst digging in their garden. Inspired by old Central Asian Turkoman silver necklaces, and by jewellery artist Pamela Love (see my post about Pamela here), I suddenly got an urge to make my own spiked horse shoes. These are my first attempts; one in fine silver, one in bronze. Already, they are amongst my most worn pieces of jewellery; they are extremely versatile and do feel a little magical, actually.

Left: bronze horse shoe necklace with varigated silk cord. Right: Fine silver spiky horse shoe necklace, and real old horse shoe from India in my bedroom.

Left: bronze horse shoe necklace with varigated silk cord. Right: Fine silver spiky horse shoe necklace, and real old horse shoe from India in my bedroom.

Posted in central asia, decor, jewellery by others, Our jewellery, uzbekistan | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Just had to post this…

Zoeby Jenny Ekberg
My daughter Zoe, 3, was very excited about having this particular flower in her hair. She is just so cute in this picture that I simply couldn’t resist posting it.

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