In conversation with Elso Collective

Image of bronze

Crafting Beauty and Healing Through Design

07 March 2024

In this feature, we introduce Elena Strohfeldt, the creative force and founder of Elso Collective. We explore the personal and artistic influences that have formed her distinctive brand, from her early passion for jewellery design to the transformative power of ceramics in her life and the latest “GOLD” Collection. 

Can you describe the journey that led up to the launch of Elso Jewellery, and how your passion for a fulfilling creative outlet eventually became Elso Collective? 

For as long as I can remember, I loved designing jewellery. I had art diaries full of designs over the years. And when I would shop, I couldn’t find what I wanted. Solid gold was too expensive, and gold-plated never lasted long enough, so I decided to create my own jewellery collection.  

Elso Jewellery was born from the desire to find minimal jewellery with a personality that was made in Australia from solid gold and silver, without breaking the bank.  

It evolved into Elso Collective when I found my way back to my painting practice and ultimately evolved to what it is today when I started teaching myself ceramics during the Melbourne lockdowns in 2020.  

The focus of Elso Collective has shifted solely towards ceramics. I was honestly surprised with how well they were received and how fast it has grown, so I have hit pause on my jewellery and my art for now. It feels like an organic change in my journey as an artist and business owner.  


As a creative individual who finds expression through ceramics, how do you transform your personal experiences and emotions into tangible artistic creations? 

My ceramics practice is very therapeutic for me. I use it to work through my emotions and my experiences. Each of my work is an extension of myself and what I've been through in life.  

My latest collection, titled “GOLD”, is inspired by my struggles with mental health and how ceramics continues to heal me. Each vase is named after a simple everyday activity like getting out of bed. To those who are struggling these activities can feel like a mountain to climb. They are decorated in gold to represent a gold medal for completing each activity. I want this collection to highlight that sometimes just getting through the day is a significant achievement.  

How does your commitment to conscious consumption influence your designs and production processes? 

My commitment to the environment educates every stage of my ceramics business. When making my pieces, I reserve all my excess clay so that I can rehydrate it and use for future projects. I am also quite ruthless when I select pieces to be fired so that I don’t waste electricity/gas. When packing my pieces, I use compostable packaging like bubble wrap and repurpose any packaging I have received.  

I believe that every little step we can take to help the environment matters and this influences many of my business decisions.  


What role does working with local family businesses play in Elso Collective? 

As a fellow small business, I love to support other small businesses. Whether I am sourcing materials or looking at businesses to collaborate with, I always try and find a small business I can support first before looking to the bigger ones.  


What aspects of Picasso's muses particularly inspire you in your artistic journey, and how do they influence your creative process and the works you produce? 

During my high school art studies, Picasso was a major source of inspiration. As I deliberated over naming the pieces in my first jewellery collection, his influential style naturally came to mind. Yet, I discovered that behind his genius were the often overlooked and underappreciated talents of remarkable women. As a female artist myself, I felt compelled to honour these women by naming each piece of the collection after them. 


What motivated Elso's partnership with i=change, and how does this collaboration align with your goals for social and environmental responsibility? 

I’ve always believed that success is best when shared with those less fortunate, as cliche as that sounds. When I came across i=change, I knew instantly I wanted to work with them. After meeting the founder, Jeremy Meltzer, and the team, I could tell it was an organisation that was built on trust, transparency and kindness - key pillars I wanted to build Elso Collective on.  

This collaboration aligns with my goals for social and environmental responsibility through the NGOs they support. I also love how accountable they are with each and every dollar that is donated.  


Looking ahead, what is your vision for Elso Collective in terms of its artistic contributions, collaborations, and influence? 

My dream is to continue making ceramics and for my business to grow. My significant goal this year is to purchase my very own kiln. This will allow me to be more creative with my ceramics and have more control over the process.  

I am also focusing more on art exhibitions in the future; I have found that creating collections motivates me to push myself as an artist.  

I am eager to keep sharing my ceramics practice, enabling others to experience the therapeutic benefits of working with clay. Definitely, more workshops are in the planning, aiming to broaden the reach and impact of this art form. 

To learn more, visit