Printing on textiles is my main creative and artistic medium. Interview with Arijana Gadžijev by Klimt02

Interview  /  Artists
Published: 09.12.2021
Arijana Gadžijev Arijana Gadžijev
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Arijana Gadžijev. Necklace: Slovanka black 2, 2019. Printed woven fabric, metal eyelets. 20 x 4 x 37 cm. Photo by: Arijana Gadžijev. From series: Slovanka. Arijana Gadžijev
Necklace: Slovanka black 2, 2019
Printed woven fabric, metal eyelets
20 x 4 x 37 cm
Photo by: Arijana Gadžijev
From series: Slovanka
© By the author. Read Copyright.

My pattern designs are still quite organic and follow the look of minerals and cross-sections of gemstones, which I find so inspiring and beautiful. It's like the whole world of miniature layered landscapes is there, full of stars.
Tell us about your background. What were your first influences to be creative and become an artist and what has drawn you to contemporary jewellery?
I studied fashion and textile design at the Department of Textiles, Graphics and Design at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Ljubljana. As a student, I was initially more involved with fashion design. As an exchange student of fashion design at Designskolen Kolding in Denmark, I started experimenting more with prints, patterns, textures and with dyeing fabrics. Since then, the common thread in my clothing collections has always been printed patterns and illustrations. After a few clothing collections, I started designing home accessories. Ever since I can remember, I have always loved to draw and I somehow knew that I would go into the profession of a designer or artist. I have always been inspired by nature, folklore and storytelling. I have lived near the woods all my life and when I was little my grandmother would tell me stories she made up, so that kind of always lives on in me. But then you grow up and real-life stories become an inspiration too, along with art, music, movies and the contemporary lifestyle of the modern world, with all the consumerism that comes with it. With that in mind, I started making things on a smaller scale. I have always been a stickler for detail, admiring small, detailed works of art from different centuries and nations, folk art and decorative art. Some people say it's perfectionism, but I find freedom and relaxation in drawing details, it's total mindfulness, it frees me. So two years ago I immersed myself in the medium of so-called mini-textiles and decided to design Slovanka - printed textile jewellery for the body and home, based on a research of Slavic folk art, its floral patterns and motifs. Coming from a textile design background, I like to think of jewellery as soft and light. I also like the idea of a product being versatile: as a necklace with a pendant, other times as a brooch, and sometimes as a wall decoration. It becomes a personal item, regardless of gender or age.

How important is networking for you in your professional practice and what are your preferred tools for this? 
Networking is definitely an important part of professional practice and with major digital platforms we can share and network globally, we can discover and stay in touch, we can collaborate and expand our horizons. It is also a learning tool. Working as an assistant in a design faculty, I always have to be up to date with contemporary design, but I also learn a lot directly from my students and colleagues. Real human contact is important, and unfortunately, we have lost some of that since the pandemic. But on the other hand, technology keeps us connected on a daily basis.

Thinking about your career, what role do technology and the digital play in your artistic development & communication?
Honestly, I can not imagine working without it. Since printing on textiles is my main creative and artistic medium, the use of technology and digital is essential. I draw the patterns and motifs by hand first, but then I rework them with computer programmes. I also do the fabric cuts on the computer. Since I usually design the pattern and the shape of the product together or at least have it in mind, I can also use technology to simulate how a product will function in real life. Once I have completed my pattern design, the prints are digitally printed onto textile material. And of course, I could not imagine communication without technology and digital, as mentioned in the answer above.

How has your work changed over the past few years and what are you excited about these days?
As I mentioned before, I switched from fashion to textile design and now enjoy the mini textile world with textile jewellery as my artistic expression. After Slovanka, I have designed two more collections of printed textile jewellery and am currently working on the fourth, which I am very excited about. My pattern designs are still quite organic and follow the look of minerals and cross-sections of gemstones, which I find so inspiring and beautiful. It's like the whole world of miniature layered landscapes is there, full of stars. And in this detail of the "mini" world, you can see all the majesty of our vast universe.