Tore Svensson

Bowl, 2005
chased iron, partly gilt

This object belongs to an extensive and still growing group of chased iron
bowls that was begun by Tore Svensson in the early 1980s. Over the years
this series of bowls has grown into a rich body of work, addressing issues
regarding material, process, function, and beauty in the crafts. Needless to
say, skill is an essential facet in the making of these pieces. A novice to the craft of metalsmithing could not have made a bowl like this, or would not even have thought of trying. However, if technical skill is necessary here, it is not enough. Technical skill alone could not have made a work like this come into being.

Despite its tranquil appearance this bowl comprises a range of contrasts. Iron, generally thought of as a heavy material, here appears thin, weightless – not to say spiritual. And while the material is inexpensive, the amount of manual work demanded for the realisation of the piece makes it a distinctly exclusive object. Moreover, the vessel form implies a practical function, but the material – being sensitive to corrosion – is actually not well suited for keeping liquids or food. All in all, this is a puzzling object, simple but complex. It is a piece of metal resisting its weight, and a functional object resisting its use.

The gilt line that marks the edge of the bowl can be interpreted as a reference to alchemy, the turning of non-precious materials into gold. Albeit quiet, the bowl speaks of change and transformation and about man’s place in the world, as if sending the message that if a simple circular sheet of iron can be turned into an object like this, there are no limits for what can be done.

Love Jönsson

Tore Svensson (b. Sweden 1948) is a metalsmith. He lives in Gothenburg.

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