Interview with Iben Birch Bech

How did the idea of a collaborative / joint pop up shop emerge?

Mia and I already knew each other peripherally, but when we both participated in the Maker's Island business development workshop, we got more and more tuned onto each other. Then when Corona hit, and everybody held their breath, Mia and I decided to form a partnership. This happened simultaneously with the Danish art foundations newly established fund for crafts and design in which it was possible to apply for digital dissemination. Vi received a grant and together we formed a concept where a webshop would act as our joint space, but where a pop-up shop would also be conceived. Because our products are very palpable and tactile it is paramount to experience them IRL. 
When the opportunity arose to open the shop´n´shop within Mie Mølgaards wonderful store in Rønne, it made sense to focus our energy on this very task. 

The expectation of summer tourists visiting Bornholm again after Covid, and the resulting vivacity, made our decision to open the physical shop, before the webshop, all the more vital. We are extremely happy with this decision, and with the collaboration we've established with Mie Mølgaard.

What similarities are there between your respective works with glass and textile?

That is an interesting question, since the immediate focus is the huge contrast between the materials. But there are similarities. I talked earlier about the palpability and tactility aspect of our products. We both strive for people to be drawn to, get curious about, and compelled to touch and feel our products and artworks. We believe that everybody's mind needs a rest from all the screen time we are exposed to. We are both focused on highlighting details, and we work with quirky, unorthodox compositions that give our products and pieces an edge.
We're not busy following trends and will much rather focus on an artistic expression, that aims for fresh new visual tactile experiences and designs.

How do you find inspiration in each other's work?

In a way we both work separately in a personal bubble of projects, process and space, but we continually share inspiration, thoughts and ideas with each other on SoMe and through conversations. When we collaborate on an artwork or a product we're in dialogue in regard to the meeting of materials and how they relate to each other. We discuss and question how we can highlight quality aspects, details, concept, personality and artistic expression and so forth. We can venture, through this sparring, into eachothers procedures, knowledge, technique, thoughts and that can be a very rewarding and surprising source of inspiration.


How do you find your own inspiration?

I try to pursue the idea of moving within that wonderful comfort zone, where you know your materials and techniques, but I simultaneously step outside this zone to explore new techniques and materials. Outside the zone is where my mind is fed in a very different manner and where I find that I experiment in a more free, curious, and playful way. I definitely feel doubt when I'm outside my comfort zone, but from experience I also know that this is where I get especially inspired and gain the knowledge that will further my artistic expression. I love the notion that making mistakes is a positive thing, because you learn from that. Furthermore, I love to experience art, design and craftsmanship in actual exhibitions, at events and on travels. It's not at all the same online, even though that media also has its perks, and definately can give a kick towards new ideas and dreams.

What are your dreams for the future?

Ever since a very young age I was convinced that I would create something with my hands. I had very high expectations of myself, and strived really hard to obtain my goals and dreams. This might sound like a cliché, but when I became a mother, my values changed drastically, and I needed a quiet environment, so therefore we moved to Bornholm. When we arrived on the Island I realized that this might not be my resignation, moving from the hectic city life of Copenhagen, but rather a realization that I had lived through many of my dreams already and now embarked on new ones while simultaneously turning down the tempo. My dreams are now concentrated on focus, inner strength and establishing a life on this island where I can continue to develop my artistic works. I yearn to unfold ideas and I have a lot of those in the making. I dream of a big atelier where I have a better setup for my production and where I can also teach and give workshops from, in the future. Mia and I have, in this aspect, some common dreams that we`re working on realizing, so that our business ideas have an inspiring and fruitful starting point.