The perception of colour is an individual matter. Interview with Jolanta Gazda by Anna Wójcik-Korbas

Interview  /  Artists   AnnaWójcik
Published: 07.06.2023
Brooches from the exhibition, copper, silver, steel, amber, 2023.
Brooches from the exhibition, copper, silver, steel, amber, 2023

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Works presented in the exhibition refer to the duality of the nature of things, carrying an important message but also an emotional charge. Where does this attempt to transfer the social discussion on mental health to the language of jewellery come from?
Jewellery is a fully-fledged field of art. And as such, it has the right to express itself on any subject. To comment on and relate to various areas of life, including the most serious ones. Because why not?

I would like the exhibition I'm Fine! / Help Me! to be a pretext for reflecting on how differently we can perceive and interpret the reality around us events, emotions or other people's behaviour depending on our sensitivity, level of empathy, the mood of the moment, and life experiences.

Gazda Jolanta, Devotion necklace: Separation anxiety / Fidelity, Copper, silicon, steel, 2023. Photos: PB Group, Gallery of Art in Legnica archives

You have chosen to allow the exhibition viewers to have direct contact with your works. Visitors have the opportunity to touch the works and see them from different angles, which is rare for jewellery shows. Why did you decide to take this step?
I make my jewellery from metal using crochet. The effects of this technique give an illusion of softness and warmth to the touch and are organically associated in their visual perception with fabric, fur, and perhaps sometimes hair. It is only through direct contact with the object that the viewer can confront his or her 'visual' perceptions with reality the wire weaves are stiffer, harder, cool to the touch, and sometimes prickly. This discrepancy between our perception when just looking at the object and the actual haptic sensation fits perfectly in line with the theme of my exhibition.

Gazda Jolanta, Brooch: Social anxiety / Comfort zone, Copper, silver, steel, 2023. Photos: PB Group, Gallery of Art in Legnica archives

The technique you use in your work - crocheting with silver wire - is very laborious and requires a lot of patience. Is the act of making jewellery a method to calm down and find peace?
I often hear that my work is only for patient, calm people. I am neither calm nor patient. On the contrary, I am a highly sensitive person I over-react to different types of stimuli, which causes strong physical, mental and emotional reactions. I think this is the reason why I have chosen this working technique. Crocheting has therapeutic qualities for me.

The repetitiveness of the movements, the focus on not getting the eyelets wrong, it forces you to give yourself completely to the project. It absorbs you completely. It makes me completely isolated from the world around and focused solely on the "here and now". In a word, it is a crocheting training of mindfulness.

Gazda Jolanta, Devotion necklace: Separation anxiety / Fidelity, Copper, steel, amber, 2023. Photos: PB Group, Gallery of Art in Legnica archives

The exhibition "I'm fine / Help me" is the first to have seen colour in your jewellery. What brought about this change?
I guess because of the technique used to make my jewellery (crochet) I have so far eschewed colour to avoid associations with folk craft. I wanted to give my jewellery more bourgeois character, to bring it "out into the salons".
For this reason, in my previous work I limited myself to 3 colours: silver, gold and graphite oxidised silver. I liked the nobility, the subtlety of these combinations. Recently, my approach has changed dramatically, I am no longer afraid of references to folk art. On the contrary, I draw from it with pleasure and without restraint. I have added colour to my crochet technique, which is directly associated with the colourful cordons of my grandmother's doilies and I feel good about it. Colour is an ally in conveying feelings. I have used this relationship between colour and emotion to broaden the interpretation possibilities of the exhibition theme.
Two objects of the same form but in different colours evoke different emotions, and suggest different associations, different interpretations. The perception of colour is an individual matter, for some of us, abundance of warm colours brings to mind a volcanic eruption, and arouses anxiety, while for others it is associated with the setting sun, with calmness. In addition, the juxtaposition of different colours creates another field for dialogue with the viewer. Some combinations are harmonious, balanced, some contrasting, aggressive. Sometimes they irritate, sometimes they soothe.

Gazda Jolanta, Necklace: Parasitism / Symbiosis, Copper, silicon, steel, 2023. Photos: PB Group, Gallery of Art in Legnica archives

In your works we come across a material very characteristic of Polish jewellery makers - amber. Does it have a special meaning for you?
Amber fascinates me because of its rich colour range, from yellow, through milky and honey to dark oranges and reddish browns. It is surprisingly light and warm to the touch, which enhances the pleasure of handling it. Raw amber, covered with bark, is particularly important to me. I like its roughness and wildness combined with delicate weaves in my jewellery.

Instead, polished amber with a glassy, smooth surface looks beautiful in the company of darker, heavier lace. The great thing about amber is its softness and beautiful organic scent, which makes it very pleasant to work with.

Thank you for the conversation.

Gazda Jolanta, Brooch: Cage / Shelter, Copper, silver, steel, amber, 2023. Photos: PB Group, Gallery of Art in Legnica archives


About the Interviewee

Jolanta Gazda – born in 1974 in Ryki. She lives and works in Warsaw. She received her education at Wytwórnia Antidotum jewellery school in Warsaw. Since 2010 she has been designing author's jewellery. She has participated in group exhibitions, including the 19th Edition of the Artistic Jewellery Competition Presentations 2019, "Prosthetics" at the Museum of Contemporary Jewellery in Warsaw, at Milano Jewelry Week 2019 in Milan, as well as at Joya Barcelona Art Jewellery and Objects in 2019 and Cracow Fashion Square in 2019. In 2014, she was a guest at the Debuts exhibition series at Legnica's Under the Quail’s Basket Gallery with the exhibition 4Women. She is a member of the Klimt02 platform, the Association of Goldsmiths and the 4WOMEN design group.


About the author

Anna Wójcik-Korbas - coordinator of the Legnica Jewellery Festival SILVER. She works in the Gallery of Art in Legnica (Poland) since 2018. She graduated with a bachelor's degree in the history of art from the University of Silesia in Katowice (Poland). She's a member of the International Amber Association, and a member of the editorial team of the Amber Magazine.