Beyond the borders of countries, cultures, and time, she seeks the true human essence. The form into which she shapes it is tangible but still deeply symbolic. With Elvira, we talk about the intersection of myth and reality.
How would you describe yourself in one sentence?
I primarily consider myself to be a creator – a rational and organized perfectionist that turns into an intuitive, magical and irrational being during her creative process.
During your studies, you first focused on ceramics and later continued with jewelry. What has stayed in your work and what was added to it?
I completed my master’s degree, in which I mostly focused on grinding objects from semi-precious stones. Right after this, me and my partner Hector started a jewelry brand named ORAÏK. Because of this, my primary focus was on jewelry-making and everything that comes with it. Creating a brand that can support you as well as staying authentic and true to yourself takes your full attention and energy, especially within the first years. This is why I only come back to ceramics and other media occasionally. I try not to lose the connection to fine arts but it takes a lot of discipline to do so. I would love to integrate gemstones into my work in the foreseeable future. Not the classical small faceted stones that most of us are familiar with in the jewelry craft, but rather gemstones in the dimensions of small-scale sculptures.
You are a Ukrainian, who grew up in Slovakia and now lives in Ibiza. You think of yourself as “a citizen of the world“. Do you consider your artwork to be limitless or do you ground it in your heritage?
Observing the evolution of my work, I see myself tapping into sources of inspiration, which exist in strange and unknown depths that do not make sense to my conscious self. I do have Slavic ancestors and I did not visit any other parts outside of Europe until I was 29. However, I was always drawn to the art of primitive tribes and ancient civilizations. The forms and motives I was creating evoked art such as Maori drawings, woodcarving from Papua New Guinea, African or Japanese masks, Inuit ritual objects, or cave paintings.
I interpret it as a connection to the collective subconscious, drawing from the heritage of the unified human culture. To me, some symbols are beyond the borders of cultures, race or time. Some archetypal forms are at the very essence of human beings. The biggest connection that shows in my art is the one I have to Earth itself, to a planet that is the home to us all without any distinction.
You are captivated by personal mythology and you work with masks, amulets, and totems. Where do you draw this inspiration from and where does it guide you?
In my creative process, I let myself be guided by the material itself and the free flow of imagination. I try not to control the moment in any way – especially at the beginning when the visual-only starts to form. I am an observer rather than a director. When working with materials such as metal, ceramics, or stone, the moment of inspiration is pretty slim. You have to surrender yourself in order to capture an idea for the upcoming piece. The technical process of material realization comes after – this is much slower and lengthier.
Additionally to your own work, you co-own a jewelry brand named ORAÏK. Your products are expressive, robust, and mystical and they are made with gold and gemstones. How do you create such pieces and how does one wear them?
In our team of two, I am the one responsible for the creative side – because of this, the visual characteristics of ORAÏK fully represent my aesthetic identity. I design and shape our collection and model every jewelry piece from wax and enamel. On the other hand, Hector is technically focused – he casts the pieces and processes them in their metal form, sets in the gemstones, and does 3D programming. Our abilities and our ways of thinking complement each other. We like jewelry with a strong physical presence – a person wearing the jewel is aware of it and can sense its weight and shape. Our pieces serve as loyal companions, giving their owners inner strength and confidence.
Do you think craftsmanship is still alive in today’s world? Why is it important that it continues to be part of our lives?
Of course, many craft techniques are not as common as they used to be – some became redundant and were replaced by industrial manufacturing. To me, this is why craft is shifting from a purely practical level to a work of art. Hand-woven baskets, chairs, or plates are not produced out of necessity anymore. Rather, they are proof of the human need to showcase individuality and capture the beauty of patient, precise and imperfect hand-made work. The enormous value of it can be found in the presence of human touch, a unique approach to the making process, and a contemporary perspective in design. Craftsmanship symbolizes a new luxury.