Thursday, June 9, 2011

Featured Artist: Olenka

What got you started/interested in jewellery making?

There are a few clues in my childhood…I was always making and collecting things, I remember a pretty hard-core craft phase (pressed flower profusions and candle making mishaps) and these times surely cultivated my interest in creative processes. Even at primary school I was mostly interested in art lessons and loved succeeding at any project; I clearly remember in a senior class mastering the coping saw! I have a carpenter extraordinaire father and my mum works for a boutique jewellery store so in combination, I think that my becoming a maker was quite a natural cause don’t you think?

What inspired your new series of work?

This series called Arabeske is inspired by our travels to Turkey and the Middle East and namely the spirit of place that I found therein. I’m curious about the invisible weave of culture, stories, art, and beliefs that a place holds. Throughout my travels, I continually found myself mesmerised by the abundant ornamentation that was established in Middle Eastern Arts. I was as much inspired by the bountiful features and outstanding craftsmanship, as I was humbled by the faithful dedication to craft. My current Arabeske range aspires to share the enchanting world of emblem, arabesque and sacred geometry found in Turkish and Islamic tradition. Cultural awareness is important to my practice as an artist—as I delve into depicting texture and ornament, I am exploring ideas that interest me intellectually and spiritually.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

A fusion of flourish, arabesque and curlicues shapes. I enjoy saw piercing intricate motifs and decorating with semi-precious gemstones. I have been working with gemstones for many years and believe that they have talismanic significance.

Tell us a little about your studio life? In there much? Share it? Work alone?
I really look forward to my studio days! I get to see my lovely friend Jess, check out new exhibitions and pieces in the store, potter around the studio and enjoy walks around Balmain village. At the moment I can't spend as much time there as I would like, but I'm determined to change that in the near future. I love the new coral feature wall because it makes a cosy corner for me to nestle in at the bench. I find the best way to work is having a clean space for beading and decorating and a dirty space to saw and polish. I know I'm rather lucky to have two bench spaces to myself, but Jess knows she is welcome to share my tools anytime :)

What’s your earliest memorable piece of jewellery?
I have a little bluebird brooch that I'm pretty sure is as old as me. I also distinctly remember a gold bangle with a ballerina on it from my grandmother. I was told not to wear it to school and so of course I did...needless to say it was never seen again!

Whats next for Olenka and/or Arabeske?

Next up for me is an extra day in the studio and broadening the Arabeske range to include necklaces, rings and brooches. At the moment there is a lot of earring action happening so please stay tuned for the new pieces.

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