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Sharp Poetry | In Conversation with Vika Mayzel

Tuesday 3 January 2017

Jewellery Designer Vika Mayzel desires to connect the dialogue of jewellery and art in one seamless continuity. Eager to utilise her creativity from a very early age, Vika designed a collection of utmost simplicity, focusing on sharp lines, angular geometric shapes and architectural inspirations, with an addition of subtle textures to accentuate the characteristics of the individual pieces. When adorned on the body the contrast is prominent against the female form; bold against the delicate, cool against the warmth, her pieces are deliberately subtle yet you couldn't help but be drawn to something that is so fearlessly daring and against the tide of the current norm, it forces us to rethink about our generalised perception of beauty. 

Here I am delighted to speak with Vika about her early beginnings as a jewellery designer, what influences her body of work and her exciting new collection.

What inspired you to become a jewellery designer? 

I was a creative child. From the age of 7 my parents decided that I should go to the private drawing school which was run by two designers. I spent there 10 years and I think this was the place where I received my first basic knowledge in design, art and drawing as well. The years I spent there were really great. For another 4 years I have been studying the college of art, and after graduation I decided for the first time that I really need a profession that is more practical, and be a painter of classic landscapes is not for me. Maybe it was some kind of disappointment in the level of high education or maybe it was a call of a young man who is looking for something more.

Today, after graduation from Shenkar College I absolutely sure that jewelry design was exactly the thing which I was looking for.
It gives me a lot of options how to develop myself, grow up and explore the materials by my own hands. Moreover, with all that I can use also all my previous experience in drawing. It is very open and that is what I love in this profession. 

Your jewelry is described as geometric. What is it about geometry that encourages you to adopt that particular style? 
You know, I see geometry in everything which surrounds me. Maybe that is the reason for adopting that style. All the time I am looking for beautiful contrasts in my jewelry pieces, often using patina trying to underline some details. Sometimes it can be a bold edge of some ring or a smooth transition from width to tiny wire in some earring. It is all about the details and geometry is the best way for it.

You devoted 10 years to fine and pictorial art, how do you link this to your jewellery design?

Oh I link it every day and every time. All my pieces start with a handmade sketch, often made in a quick and influenced style with black pen.

That is the first interpretation of new ideas and projects. The interesting fact is that in most cases (80%) the final jewelry piece is absolutely different from the sketch...

How does your surrounding influence your work? Is there a city, country or place you're also inspired by?

 Surrounding life influences me all the time. I find a lot of inspiration in nature and architectural details: urban sculptures, windows, vintage lamp posts or some lock connections on the doors. I live now in Prague and there are so many interesting details to find…

Nevertheless, sometimes inspiration may come from some intuitive feeling of the city and not from some specific detail. For example, from my last trip to London, I made many quick graphic sketches with the panorama of the city, where new city meets the Old town. Skyscrapers made of glass and concrete waves with silhouette of St. Paul’s Cathedral… The similar feeling from Tel Aviv but with some taste of Bauhaus and Mediterranean Sea. 

People spend most of their lives in a work space. How would you describe your studio?

 My studio is currently at my home. The important thing for me is a huge window! I really enjoy working with a lot of day light. Most of the time my studio is messy and full of different stuff, materials which I am trying to connect with pieces of silver. However, I think it is fine for working process and creativity.

 My jewelry bench is constantly full of silver dust and maybe it is some kind of magic, which happens there. 

Tell us about your new collection Perception. How is it different from your previous collections?

I would call it series. “Perception” is a name of my new series of various unique statement necklaces. Each piece is one of the kind work .In this series I am striving to create evocative wearable objects, made mostly from sterling silver, horsehair and leather. All these pieces are about the materials: about their weight, bulk and tactile feelings that they evoke from its wearer. I am trying to explore such phenomenon as contrast, color, rhythm and connection between them.
 As usually, my base are classical silversmith techniques such as casting, hand hammering, soldering and chasing. In addition to that, materials used in these objects such as horsehair or leather are closely related with personal memories from my family archive. One can say that all those are traditional, but not new. However, I find a lot of power in these materials and connecting them together, trying to create a new and unique piece of art.

It is different from my previous pieces also because of its size, volume which they have. All of the pieces consist of more than one material as well. These pieces are for making a statement. 

Describe the creative and technical stages of making your jewelry collection. What is the hardest and most enjoyable part of the process?

 Process of creating my collection is not constructive and mostly has no exact plan. This means that I am not able to predict how many pieces will be in collection. When I already have an idea for new collection, I am starting with inspiration board in my sketchbook, which consists of images and my fast drawings. After that, I am doing some sketches of jewels for the beginning, promptly going to the bench, and starting to work with metal. I feel that this moment is principal for me, to start work and try to catch the idea, which is still fresh in my head and on the paper and transform it to 3d shape.

The enjoyable part of the process is starting with new collection, inspiration and curiosity about it.

The hardest is finish it for specific deadline.

Do you have your favorite piece? Which design do you wear most often?

I really obsessed to the rings so I wear and switch them all the time. I love to put many rings on hand and make different combinations. That is also how I am checking out if the ring is comfortable for wearing and if I feel that there is some problem I do the changes before putting this piece for sale. 

If you could adorn your work on a public figure (dead or alive) who would it be and why?

Tilda Swinton. I love her style. Some people see in my jewelry some Scandinavian features and maybe that is what I find in Tilda’s look.

Is there a brand you would love to collaborate with?
I would love to collaborate with some glass blowing artist. My dream is to create jewelry collection of big necklaces using glass forms with unique and even strange forms…And some fashion designer as well. Or maybe both of them together- that sounds amazing!

5 words to describe your jewelry.

Impressive, geometric, contemporary, bold, unique.

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