Once a week, when the sun is out, Ingela Klemetz Farago cycles the 10-minute journey from her apartment in central Stockholm to the city’s Royal Gardens. A tall, striking woman with ice-blond hair, bright red lips, and two sweeping arcs of neat white dots painted across her high cheek bones, she folds herself onto a tree stump and scours the forest floor for pieces of decaying bark. “I found my special spot,” she laughs. “I love trees, they contain so much energy.”
Several years ago, Ingela idly painted some of her spoils in gold, silver and cobalt blue, mounted them on clips and began wearing them as earrings. A trip to New York left her beset with enquiries: Where were the earrings from? How much did they cost? She decided to make some more, for friends. Before too long, she had a brand, Ingy Stockholm, its inception sealed via minimalist photographs by her husband, Peter. Now, the one-off styles have launched on Matchesfashion.com.
“They’re almost like art pieces,” says Ingela, of her tree-bark earrings, which are as light as corks but pack an extraordinary visual punch. “I have them displayed in my home on shelves and dressers. They look like intergalactic meteorites, objects from outer space.” She sees her role as that of a conduit between shoppers and the natural world. “To handpick every piece of debris carefully and bring them to a new context, hand-painting a piece of wood that has grown for 600 years, spent perhaps 50 on the ground – it’s a natural, ecological way to showcase the beauty of nature,” she says. “I want people to understand the beauty that is all around us as well as the importance of preserving it.”
Ingela has always had an appreciation for fresh air and forests. A former model and musician, her album covers have featured her profile in forests. The earrings are another string to her bow. “I think everything should have a second life,” she smiles.