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Rumpelstiltskin, upcycling & leather diamonds: The story of jewellery collection LEATHER LIVELONG

Rumpelstiltskin, the little imp from the Brothers Grimm’s fairytale, is one nasty bugger. Seeing the miller’s daughter locked up in the king’s tower with the impossible task to spin straw into gold, he comes in with a deal. He’ll help her if in return, he gets her firstborn child. How nasty! There, I said it again. But then, he does have this mad skill that could keep her potential future husband from beheading her after dawn. Hm. He actually CAN spin straw into gold.

ENGLISH | ▸ DEUTSCH (kommt bald!)

Illustration: Andrew Lang's The Blue Fairy Book, ca. 1889

Luckily, I don’t believe in fairytales these days. But I can’t help feel fascinated with the idea of turning something of an alleged low value into something desirable just like Rumpel did. For me, this fascination is at the core of my motivation to explore all the different faces materials can have. And I’m also very interested in why we perceive one thing as valuable but throw others away.

Photo credit: Kellywearstler

My idea of transforming a given matter is simpler, though, than it must have been in the days of kings and miller’s daughters: I take a material out of its established context and into one that is pure in its intend to celebrate beauty. I make jewellery out of it. And sometimes, this process inspires me to write mini modern-day fairytales myself. Like this one:


There once was a girl called Heather (name changed)

She facepalmed when she heard that leather

Was thrown away far and near.

To the factories she mailed: Send it here!

Rubbed her hands and began making plans.

‘Cause what they had believed to be stone,

She’d make into diamond inspired jewellery – as it is shown.

LEATHER-LIVELONG-Collection-picSee, the thought was: If little guys that don’t even exist, can turn straw into gold, why not turn leftover leather into diamonds in real life?

The result is my new collection “LEATHER LIVELONG”, which consists of one-of-a-kind pieces of jewellery using leather offcuts from industrial furniture productions. For some of the pendants, I refined details with one, two, three coats of water-based metallic pigment and hand-varnished them. The various shapes and patterns are inspired by the facetted cut of diamonds. Some call it upcycling, but in fact, the leather for this collection is absolutely new and unused as it was simply deselected for industrial purposes.

I hope you enjoyed “Rumpelstiltskin, upcycling & leather diamonds: The story of jewellery collection LEATHER LIVELONG” and it gave you an idea of the inspiration behind this new collection of mine. If you’d like to read more stories like this one and never miss a pic of the new items I make, also visit MATTER Design on Facebook. Thanks for reading!

Text: Ina Rüdiger, MATTER Design | Photo credits: Kelly Wreastler (golden trash bags), Ina Rüdiger (Leather Diamonds) | Illustration: Andrew Lang’s The Blue Fairy Book, ca. 1889 






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