Even if you’re not familiar with the jewelry brand Vesper Moth, you’ve probably seen Annika, the busy hands behind the brand. She shows up frequently in Instagram and Tumblr posts from Mai Magi and Psychara, as those three seem to have formed a trifecta of Northern European witch-goths. It’s a pretty gorgeous sight, and doubly so when the trio are wearing pieces from Vesper Moth.
Annika has been fashion blogging under the name Manic Moth for some time, and when she launched her label she wanted to connect the new to the old. She kept hold of the “moth” in her name, and added “vesper,”; “Vesper means evening star in Latin (especially Venus) and I thought that it would fit my aesthetic perfectly. To me the name “Vesper Moth” sounds romantic and mysterious, which describes the style of my jewelry just perfectly.” If pushed, I’d define her aesthetic as “otherworldly.” Like many, I discovered Annika through Instagram. Her part-Viking, part-Elf, part-Witch wardrobe and makeup remains some of the most unique styling I’ve seen. She reminds me of Brian Froud’s Wood Woman piece, walking out from the northern German forest with branches tangling her hair.
Maybe it’s her ancient inspirations that give Annika’s work the feeling of being somehow outside our timeline. “I mostly get inspired by fantasy literature and Norse mythology. I love the tales of the Edda and I am just overall really interested in old pagan cultures and their symbols,” she says. “All my creative work is somehow connected. I would for example definitely say that my illustrations influenced my makeup looks, which then influenced my fashion aesthetic and my jewelry designs.”
Many Vesper Moth pieces incorporate raw crystal points or clusters. “I absolutely love to work with crystals, especially rock crystal. I feel most calm when working with clear quartz,” Annika says. “It’s also the crystal that I personally wear the most due to its relaxing qualities.” Several of her crystal pieces are understated, though still beautifully made, and often include either silver pentacles or organically designed clay work.
Tipping the scales in the opposite direction are her polymer clay skull necklaces. Bold and oversized, the phrase “statement necklace” can’t encompass these beauties. They’re clearly a fan favorite, as Vesper Moth’s Instagram page is flooded with happy customers wearing the sculpted cat and raven craniums on silver chains.
Of all the offerings at Vesper Moth, my favorite are the antler pendants, and they’re some of Annika’s favorite pieces to create. “Since every antler is such a unique piece, it’s always exciting to work with them and to create the designs of the polymer clay according to the naturally built furrows of the antlers,” she says. If the dark, deeply green part of the forest could make jewelry, it’d look like this: Antlers topped with raw crystals, rune carvings, and tiny mushrooms.
While the pieces that include real antlers are (clearly) not vegan, the materials are sourced ethically: “I actually get most of my antlers from my mum. She usually buys them at household clearances. My parents live in a tiny village that lies in a huge forest in northern Germany, so there are always people there who collect antlers,” Annika explains. “Sometimes I even get antlers from friends of mine who find them on their forest walks. The last piece that I got was a huge antler that a friend of mine had found in a Norwegian forest. So I would say that I recycle the antlers that otherwise would have been thrown away and alter them so that people can appreciate their beauty again.”
Of her use of runes, Annika says, “I personally believe that it can be very powerful to use symbols that people have already been using over thousand years ago. Even if people don’t believe in their powers I think that it’s still a beautiful gesture to carve (for example) the viking rune Raido into a piece as a protection for the wearer. It should help the wearer to find his way home and to be save on his travels.”
Enjoy your own safe travels, Annika– wherever they might take you.
All images by Vesper Moth.