For the Loop collection, Maria Black was inspired by her lifelong fascination of roller coasters. The speed, the loops, the thrill, the joy and the fear all wrapped up in one.
When does your fascination of roller coasters begin and what drives you towards them?
I can’t remember exactly when, but I denitely peaked in my 20’s when I would search out every roller coaster in every town I went to for holidays. I never really cared much for any other rides in the amusement parks I went to, but I would go straight to the biggest, scariest roller coaster - all the other ones seemed a bit pointless after that. It was the best thrill.
Describe that thrill
My first memory from going on a ride is from Bakken in the outskirts of Copenhagen with my Grandad and my younger sister. We went on the infamous old, wooden roller coaster, one of the oldest still existing. I was so small that when we went down hill, I would hover mid air as the bar wasn’t far enough down due to my Grandad’s legs. I felt like I was going to fall out. And it was such a thrill, I was scared and excited, I had never felt so much, so quickly. My sister is still traumatised by that experience and never goes on roller coasters anymore, but in all fairness she was super, super small, so she must have really feared for her life.
What kind of feelings do roller coasters give you?
When you see an outline for a funfair, they always have the Ferris wheel and the roller coaster on at some of the most characteristic elements. Especially the loops and curls of a roller coaster sends you right back to the taste, sweet smell and picture of a candy oss, the excitement and the sense that this day is not going to be like any other. It is special. I love simple things that provoke a feeling. An outline or a smell for instance. It’s very powerful to have these forgotten feelings brought on by something so simple.
Your new jewellery collection is classic and meant to last forever, whereas roller coasters represent speed, a fast, thrilling, exciting and momentary experience. How does that dynamic come about in The Loop collection?
I love working with the obvious and break it down into components so you can juxtapose them; the Loop collection is delicate because roller coasters are not. If you follow the lines of the Dream Catcher earring, you see the outline of a looped roller coaster in front of you, like the Demon in Tivoli. That is the obvious part, and the ashes of diamonds represent those shiny glimpses of sun you see between your hair as you are hurled around. The Sea Viper earring is named after a roller coaster I once rode on in Australia. To honour the name, I put a pearl delicately balancing on it. It looks just as fragile as I felt during the ride. In fact, most of the earrings in The Loop collection are named after roller coasters - they have the best names!
Your choice of materials - gold and diamonds - is distinctive and exclusive. What do these fine materials signal and how do they compliment The Loop collection?
Gold is warmth, it is the sun, it is the colour of the ring your grandmother wore. It is so decadent, enduring, it is a statement and, for better and worse, it has been man kind’s favourite currency since the crack of dawn. The white diamond is colder by contrast, but it also makes you sit up straight - it’s the stone that makes you press your nose firmly against the store window to get a closer look. It demands attention, just like a roller coaster. To me it was the perfect t for the dramatic shapes.
The Loop collection is delicate, exclusive and feminine, yet Maria Black jewellery also represents the urban, unisex and more masculine lines. How does that come about?
I am many people in one. I don’t like to be told I can only wear this, that I need to act or design a certain way. One day you will see me wearing streetwear and the next
I might fancy a dress. I’m more complicated than one style. Everyone is. We should embrace the notion of dressing up and experimenting a bit more. This also translates into my designs. I’m a masculine girl one day, a feminine dude the next, but I’m still me. My personal ity translates into the brand Maria Black, so it has all of that too. Our identity as a brand is diverse and we don’t like being put in a box. Boxes are limited to six walls and no blue skies - where is the fun in that? We are feminine, masculine, silly and classic at the same time, because we are complicated. We all are.