Jewelry Self-Portraits of Romanian Jewelry Week 3.0 Designers. Part I

Article  /  Artists   Exhibiting   Curating   AlexandraBujenita
Published: 03.10.2022
Alexandra Bujenita
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Romanian Jewelry Week 3.0 celebrates contemporary jewelry between the 5th and the 9th of October with exhibitions, conferences, jewelry workshops and fairs and over 190 Romanian and international designers which will exhibit thousands of jewelry pieces. Like every year, Romanian Jewelry Week offers jewelry lovers the opportunity to buy their favorite pieces during the Jewelry Fair  ROJW 3.0 on the 8th and 9th of October at the National Library of Romania.
The designers participating in Romanian Jewelry Week 3.0 shared with us what jewelry can be called a self-portrait and what its significance is.

Is there a self-portrait piece that speaks most about you?

Abbi Marie/ USA
'I’d Rather be the Dragon than the Damsel' is what feels the most “me” right now. It’s the last piece in a companion series to the one being shown in Romanian Jewelry Week that focuses on my own past battles with eating disorders. It captures my younger self that was more vulnerable and naive evolving into someone who can fend for herself. Despite the more serious backstory it also just shows my quirkier side… it’s a bunny-dragon. 

Abbi Marie

Andy Aelenei/ Romania
That would be a piece I’ve made almost a year ago, I think. It was inspired by the motifs on Poarta Sărutului, made by Constantin Brâncuşi. The piece is a representation of the androgynous myth and it’s made using circuit board fragments that are connected in the design but split in two by a texturized copper line. For me, that piece speaks about a very personal, so to say, pattern I had in life until now and that is not being able to stay together with the one I love and feel connected to. There always have been distance barriers or different ways in which we would see ourselves in the future. I haven’t had many chances to express myself in the jewelry I make but I’ll surely will.

Andy Aelenei

Arielle Brackett/ USA
Seven years ago, I made Defense Mechanism Two, which is a pair of brass knuckles with four fabric flowers attached. I made it out of hand-dyed raw silk, needle felted wool, and American porcupine quills. Each of the four fabric forms depicts a progressive floral cycle, starting as a bud and ending with the flower in full bloom. As a form of protection, I have always been someone who bottles my emotions, and as the resentment rises, the emotions metastasize until I explode. I relate the way I repress my emotions to the metamorphic changes that occur in flowers in the spring. They start out as small buds that grow and expand until the flower bursts open. 
As humans we implement unconscious defense mechanisms that help us cope with trauma, disagreements, hurt, anger and conflict. As young children we learn coping tactics that evolve further in adulthood, as a way to protect and defend ourselves. Denial, projection, rationalization and repression give us the emotional distance that we need from unwanted thoughts or feelings. These inadvertent tools sometimes provide a means for enduring life’s traumas. 

Arielle Brackett

Diana Vasile/ Romania
I think I'm picking this one because, more likely, is the most similar to my personality. A bit too much, a statement always, colourful, constantly with a small facet you haven't seen before and loud in the right environment. It's part of the Curioser collection, a collection I started right after the Pandemic and where I allowed myself to simply create. 
For me, like for some of us, blending in, doesn't feel right. There are times when we feel too tall for the moulds society carved for us, sometimes where we don't completely fill them, while others where we're not completely shaped right. But, daring to look beyond them pushes us to create our own individual shapes. One that stands straight and perfect in its colourful uniqueness. I chose to let myself get carried away by instinct in this collection.  I dared to "dream six impossible things before breakfast" and created a perfect merge between my opposing sides to showcase their contrasting facets.
Each gem demanded its own wildflower to impress the world. While playing with our notions of feminine and masculine, should or shouldn't, I carved strong metal structures in the fluid delicate shape of leaves to create large imposing flowers dedicated to protecting sharp but fragile natural gemstones. While not ideal, they chose to be perfect just as they are. Their energy is unmistakable.
Strong. Bold. Unique. Impossibly possible.  

Diana Vasile

Laura Moisa/ Romania
The self-portrait piece is a ring that I called 'Core'. It seems that it really captures all my shapes and moods.

Laura Moisa

Fabiana Fusco/ Italy
Nowadays probably is my migrants necklace. It represents my new beginning in the artisans' world after a long while. 

Fabiana Fusco

Levder Olena/ Ukraine
If you think about it, every work is our self-portrait, because we pass everything through ourselves and give it out in the material. I made a self-portrait in jewelry, sculpture, and ikebana. Leonardo da Vinci was a good psychologist, he said that if you want to learn more about yourself, take a self-portrait.
I have several self-portraits that show an inner state, they are different because they are affected by time and environment. Because the world changes and we change with it, but there are human values that are not subject to time.

Levder Olena

Patricia Iglesias/ Chile
The piece I called Shukaku is the name given to Picton Island by the Yaghan people before they came to colonise Mallaganes region. It was also the subject of a conflict between Chile and Argentina in 1978 when I was 10 years old. I have never forgotten the fear I felt at the possibility of losing loved ones.

Patricia Iglesias

Patcharabhorn Lueraj/ Thailand
One moment in my life, I had an accident. My ring finger had broken. Remember the piece of jewelry made out when I had to go to the hospital for physical therapy 3 days a week. My finger could not bend as normal. The therapist would build up the muscle with different tools to do an exercise. One practice was bending fingers. This piece of jewelry is inspired by that moment, and the tools helped me to bend my finger. The practice continued for a year, but my finger has never healed. Yes, my ring finger will not bend again till my entire life. The accident was a significant shift in my life, and the broken finger was a scar reminding me of how I became who I am today.

Patcharabhorn Lueraj

Lily Kanellopoulou/ Greece
Working with the same material for a long time deepens your knowledge and sometimes drives you to unexpected discoveries. It was a moment of great pleasure when I managed to inlay a broken piece of dried leaf in my resin with the embossed lines continuing normally.

Lily Kanellopoulou

Lena Yastreb/ Ukraine
Okay, I got it now. But actually, it's not only one piece, they come and change each other from time to time, as I change myself. I'll show you the last two of them. For several years it was a bold golden asymmetrical ring with yellow natural sapphire which was my zodiacal symbol for my left forefinger only, and then I melt it when the time has come and created a new one, with a green tourmaline which represents me now... but for a long?

Lena Yastreb

Lauriane Sémat/ France
The pieces that I have been wearing for years are the half moons. I created them for me and they are completely unique pieces that I have never made identically. They are part of my personality.

Lauriane Sémat

Maria Paltin/ Romania
My latest collection- The Dignity Collection- is about power, about staying straight and overcoming any obstacles. It appeared in my mind when the war started and brave ucranian men and women stayed to fight. And in those moments I wondered, if put in that position, I would be paralyzed or I would react and fight for everything I love.  The spine is a symbol of courage and dignity and my hope for a better world.

Maria Paltin

Maria Dima/ Romania
Actually, there are many, but let’s say that I have a preferred one. It is named Puio-pestele, a wood statue with bird winds and claws. A reinterpretation of the old concept of Bird Godess. 

Maria Dima

Marina Simeonova/ Bulgaria
As in painting, I believe all kinds of art pieces are in some way a self–portrait of the artist. It is the same with jewelry-each piece is a portrait of a different aspect of the artist’s personality, dreams, thoughts-basically a fruit of their energy. I see myself in all of my creations, but maybe two of my recent collections describe a wide spectre of my personality: TAUFR is the warrior and the wanderer that is thirsty for adventures and new horizons and AETHER is the one Me, that dreams for flowers and stares into mind and space. Which material have you not yet used is a temptation and a challenge for you?

Marina Simeonova

Margot Obbels/ Belgium
This is a mouthpiece that I made for a school assignment about gold. Gold has a high status, so I was interested in digging into the social standard of the material.  I started from the statement ‘Turn shit into gold’ cause you could literally turn a pile of shit into gold and people would still pay for it. For me, dental plaque is one of my biggest icks, for that reason I need to have clean teeth at all times. The work is also a personal piece since it only fits my mouth.

Margot Obbels

Natasa Litvin/ Ukraine/ Hungary
Intuitive nature, charismatic power, passion-driven, full of vivid imagination and ideas. The driving force is the expression of self-identity and value creation, all without compromising on different materials.

Natasa Litvin

Natalia Cellini/ Italy
Yes, there is. It’s one of the first pieces I made. In this jewel, my work was only to compose intact elements on which I didn’t intervene. It represents my way of thinking; it’s as if the syntactic watermark of a text could be allowed to emerge. Here I dared to x-ray the skeleton of my proceeding in the creation of an object but more broadly in an overall aesthetic experience. 

Natalia Cellini

Qi Han/ China
The self-portrait piece that means a lot to me is ‘Forget and Remember’, which is also my first jewellery project. It is a series of jewellery to commemorate my grandmother. Grandma accompanied me throughout my childhood. In my heart, she is a graceful and intelligent Chinese woman. The idea of designing jewellery for her is more like my own spiritual sustenance, discussing the concept of life and death, love and memory. The silver tube swings together with the overturning silver strip in the palm and the sand clock waggles, which represents the impermanence and natural rules about time. It seems that there is nothing on the left side but it sinks as my obsession with family affection increases its weight. Actually, I put my self-made hairpin in it.
In my childhood, grandma always looked at me at the entrance of the kindergarten. That window frame had fixed in my freeze-frame. The natural texture of the wood resembled a frame. So I combined the silver and wood, sprinkled the silver crumbs, and burned them, which represent love and time.

Qi Han

Vadym Logvynenko/ Ukraine
For sure it is the collection "The Way" which is about our life path, as a result of which we acquire value. Every item from the collection is customized and never repeated. So, for every owner, his peace is a kind of portrait.

Vadym Logvynenko

>> Read more about Romanian Jewelry Week Designers here.

About the author

Alexandra Bujenita
is the PR manager of Romanian Jewelry Week team, Art developer of Creative team of Imbold Cultural Foundation, Founder Delalu, PR account at Hello Menthol and Acuarela - Bucharest.