Laia Ribas Valls

Laia Ribas Valls is a contemporary jewellery artist living and working in Sweden. Her work focuses on making body related objects like cutlery and jewellery. She is interested in studying the relation between the user and the objects at an intimate level.

If you had access to all the powers, how would you improve the world?
I would use my powers to create a more empathetic, kind and equal world.

What are the biggest sustainability challenges in your work and how are you addressing them?
Working with any materials you wonder how have they been sourced, what’s the impact their processing has on the environment and how does the production of a new object will effect the world. When I make a new series I always try to recycle and reuse materials, use second hand findings, etc. so my production has less of an effect on the environment.

Which conscious lifestyle choices are you making? And are you considering any new ones?
Use reusable when possible. For instance glass food containers, instead of plastic ones. Period cup and reusable pads, instead of regular pads and tampons. Recycling waste. And trying to reduce my food waste.

What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
I have rebelled against many things in life and in my work. I think we are far from living in a fair and equal society. Therefore, we should strive towards building a more fair and equal world. Sometimes this strive is envisioned as a rebellion. I believe rebelling is good and necessary to create positive changes.

Do you think cutlery can still be improved? If yes, in what way?
Yes. I am not fully up to speed in the subject, but I know there are some design projects working to improve cutlery. For instance, there is a design studio that has created cutlery for people with Parkinson’s disease. The handle is modified so has an easier grip and helps reduce the shaking. I think in society there is a vast diversity that hasn’t always been fully considered on design and marketing terms. I believe these differences need to be addressed and be taken care of. Social design has been working on it and it has to keep on working on it. I also think that we, as object makers, should keep on working to improve our making and attend diversity.

What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser pieces?
For the Steinbeisser series I wanted to create a group of work that didn’t allow the user to sit at the table and proceed as usual. I wanted my spoons to disturb the usual situation, but not in a rude way, I wanted the pieces to be enjoyable, intriguing and fun.

Describe your work in 3 words!
Challenging. Playful. Surprising.

What kind of materials do you use and where do you get them from?
I use different materials for each project I get into. I am trained as a jeweller, so metal is often part of my work. I also love textiles and they’ve played a huge role in my making. And now I’m getting into wood and ceramics. I like to get my materials from a local source when possible. Right now I am starting to investigate local distributors that can offer ecological and recycled materials, even for metal.

What has been your favorite dinner experience?
My favorite dinner experience is every time I get to sit at a table with great food surrounded by friends and family. I come from a big family and I’ve grown to appreciate noisy crowds. They can be quite powerful in many ways. There’s an immense amount of information and knowledge being shared around a dinner table.

What excites you about tomorrow?
The uncertainty about what’s to come.