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INTERVIEW WITH Valentina Kalaydjian
This is the story of how an emotion became an illustration and later an amulet. How the delicacy of Valentina Kalaydjian materialized in one of Joidart’s jewels, and how the Mediterranean Sea and the north wind brought them to us.
N.: Could you briefly define yourself?
V.K.: Curious, sensitive and very emotional. I think I’m an impulsive, happy person who is enamoured of Cap de Creus and currently discovering the High Pyrenees.
N.: As a multidisciplinary artist, when did you find your connection with the world of jewellery?
V.K.: I worked at Joidart for a few years as a graphic designer and then as social media manager. During that time I learned a lot about the creative processes in the jewellery world, working alongside Cristina Julià, the company’s creative director. At her side, I gradually participated more and more in the brainstorming sessions, the photo shoots and, in a nutshell, I was integrated into a world in which art and design are transformed into a unique, special piece: an item of jewellery. Summer was approaching and one day Cristina suggested I turn some of my illustrations into a concept for a collection, with earrings, rings, bracelets and pendants. I’d never contributed to the creative process for any of the Joidart jewellery collections and that was my first experience, the link between my illustrations and a collection of real, tangible pieces of jewellery.
N.: Where does the idea for the Portlligat collection come from?
V.K.: The pieces for the Portlligat collection came from the concept of old seals; we drew inspiration from how letters used to be so delicately and beautifully sealed. Those precious details, the experience of melting a bit of wax to stamp some initials onto it. With the illustrations that I always draw, which are very finite and minimalist, we began to create the illustrated concept for the jewellery. I realised that olive trees are very important to me, because Portlligat and the coves of Cap de Creus are always accompanied by these trees that fascinate me so much, with their special greyish green and their strength and commitment against the Tramuntana wind.
N.: Tell us more about the design process for this collection. (Briefly, from the design to the final product.)
V.K.: Using the illustrations of the small branches of the olive tree, we steadily synthesised them until we were left with the graphic fragment that best suited the adaptation of the leaves to our “seal”. The artisans in the workshop at Joidart adapted the digitalised drawings into wax to create the moulds in which the materials were melted and this paved the way for the creation of the physical piece of jewellery, with shape and solidity. After that the pieces are given their corresponding gold bath.
N.: How did it feel to be designing a product?
V.K.: Well, the truth is I was thrilled to death. Every time I saw new tests, they looked amazing to me. I have to say that I didn’t wait to debut the definitive jewellery that went on sale, but I stuck with some initial prototypes, just from the joy it gave me to be able to put them on straight away! I’d never designed anything I could wear before; my work is normally seen or looked at online. I imagine that it’s the same for you, as soon as you can put on your sandals with your designs… it must be really exciting.
N.: What was your experience when it came to designing a piece that would most likely end up becoming an “amulet” for some woman?
V.K.: One of my friends, Clara, always wears the small pendant, the little medallion. And the truth is that it still surprises me whenever we see each other and I notice the olive tree, remembering all the tests and drawings prior to its final design. I feel sort of special, lucky to have had this opportunity and creative experience alongside very powerful and hard-working women; together, with the Joidart team, we gave shape to some pieces that are really special to me. The Portlligat collection is more than a set of ornamental pieces, they represent the love I feel for the town of Cadaqués and the memories I’ve lived in each season of the year up there, in one of my favourite places in this world. Gratitude.