Q&A with a young jewellery designer Elena Gorbunova, the Pica Pica award winner at Legnica Silver Festival 2016.
Tell us about yourself, including what you do and how you got there.
Originally I come from very beautiful region on Volga river, from industrial Russian town Togliatti. It is barely famous for its jewellery tradition, although I was lucky to be accepted to a class created by enthusiastic artistic family of Nikolay and Galina Sharonov’s, Sharonovs’ School.
After graduation the Department of Jewellery Design and Artistic Metal in my home town I applied to Master program in Gemstone and Jewellery in Idar-Oberstein, Germany.
During my studies I spent one semester in Haute École des arts du Rhin, and when I finished my studies I was accepted as assistant of Ferran Iglesias in province of Barcelona.
At the moment I just set up my studio in Idar-Oberstein and work independently.
When did you first discover that you wanted to be a jewellery designer?
I remember that I was 16, and already understood that I won’t be brilliant in setting or advance techniques, but I was thrilled by eternal creative potential of this profession and by the opportunity to have real object.
What is your favorite piece you’ve ever created – and what made it so special?
I think I do not have a favorite piece, maybe the one which is worn at the moment by myself or by others.
Could you tell us more about your work “A Long Time without Rain”? We saw in it a very deep civilization context…
I made the pendant when I had my internship in Catalonia. It was winter (untypically warm for me!), and the beautiful nature was quite dry. The surrounding was willing a drop of water. And suddenly I realized how long ago I heard the sound of pouring rain and how much I miss it. I imagine quite well how fast dirt and dust can be collected in a city during dry season, and it is not nice substance to contact with. This piece is sort of stage or scene. It represents the picture of a town in potentially near future in case it will stay without water. I rather prefer to capsulate this dry environment. I wish that this post-apocalyptic attribute stays as a reminder of never happened future.
What about materials you used to make it? Where do they come from and why you
used these exactly?
The capsule is self-blown glass from glass workshop in Strasbourg. It is not a big thing for glass makers, but if I start to wander that it is shaped by my breath I feel stronger attachment to this object. That is why I found it related to this pendant. Pigment came from my assistance work: I used to work with it almost every day, and it is added to my container as an actor to a play, with a role of real dust. (The attempts to use real one were not satisfying)
Cubic tower inside is summary image of 90 degree icon. I think it conquered our visual culture, because this angle is everywhere. All together in a motion they are part of this mise en scène.
What materials describe your jewelry path in the best way?
The property of material that attracts me the most is plasticity. Wood or stone are not really additive substances, but I use them sometimes; I explore the approach of building whole image out of fragments and particles. Therefore it is more relevant for me to use glass, ceramics, plastic…
Can you tell us about your recent projects?
I took part in Russian contest for young jewellery designers in Saint-Petersburg Image and Form, and I can strongly recommend to go there next year to explore Russian culture, jewellery stage and beautiful people – in particular artists and museums´ community of this amazing City. This event has interesting program for participants during the days of jury’s work: visiting museums, chambers of treasure and lectures.
What are your plans for the coming year?
I am looking forward to explore another side of jewellery activities. Although developing my studio is the aim of the year and I am going to experience wished independency. I try to leave my illusions about what the “real life” can bring, but to not forget my dreams, which are my locomotive to go on. I am interested in curatorship, art strategies and bringing people together. At the moment I choose to be foreigner, trying to learn more about different aspects of living abroad. And I hope this position is useful for my plans. Also I look forward to go to Kaliningrad Amber Biennal that will take place in Russia in June-September for 7th time.
Another exciting thing is Project 1+1 created by designers from Russia Jura Bylkov and Ira Latkina. It is a great concept: to exchange the tryouts in between a pair of jewellery makers and to finish the pieces of each other. It will unite so many people, and I would be happy to support this project as much as I can.