Flora Vagi is a talented, young jewellery artist whose work was recently featured in Schmuck exhibition, in Munich. Despite her young age, she has already gathered an impressive collection of awards, including the "Cominelli Awards – Special Mention", Saló, Italy, the " Talente" – 1st Prize for Design, International Craft Fair, Munich, Germany and the "World Craft Council - Young Talent Prize", Mons, Belgium. We recently had the chance to meet with her, as she came to Athens for a seminar and a lecture at Anamma and she was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to chat with us, for an exclusive interview.
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Born in Hungary and working internationally, her work can be seen in museums, galleries and art fairs around the world. Her creative process leads to unexpected ways of using familiar materials. In a series of jewellery with old paper pages, she manages to maintain the structure of the books while expressing movement, lightness and fluidity. The works have a strong organic element so the viewer thinks of the delicate beauty of nature while keeping in mind that they are looking at something totally industrial.
In this following interview she shares with us her concepts, vision, experience, and some of her amazing work.
( Top image: "Ala Pervinca", brooch/ book pages, acrylic paint, cold enamel, 18 ct gold/ Winner of World Craft Council Award 2012)
"Big Black Seanemone", brooch, book pages, cold enamel, 18ct gold.
"Rose Seanemone" on a model. Photo: Gabor Arion Kudasz.
10 Questions for Flora Vagi
1 .Could you tell us a little about yourself? Who you are and what you do?
My name is Flora Vagi. I am an observer who filters life and I am also a jeweller who creates objects to wear and to have. I speak many languages both through my words and through my works.
2. At what point did you start making jewellery?
It was when my painting teacher in a life drawing class looked at my drawings and told me that since I like to focus and immerse myself in details, maybe, I could look into jewellery.
3.4. Are there certain themes present in your artwork? How do you work? Could you briefly talk about your inspiration and your creative process?
There are, but they are very broad. Nature and spontaneity are always present. Surfaces and structures play a crucial role and my aim is to create pieces that are visually on the borderline of something organic and something artificial/ manmade. However, I would say that in general my work is very intuitive. Materials are a great inspiration and I take lots and lots of photographs everywhere I go, pretty much of everything. I am inspired by fine art works just as much as I am inspired by my environment. I experiment a lot and leave space for surprise. I like to surprise, but also like to be surprised.
"Deep blue Seanemone", brooch/ book pages, cold enamel, silver, steel.
5. What about the choice of materials? You have presented beautiful jewellery collections made from wood or paper and old books. How did you start using these materials and what do you find intriguing about them?
So far, I always go natural. It is about physical attraction. I work with materials that please my senses. I love the smell, the touch, including the temperature of them too. This is one of the reasons I left behind the classical goldsmithing that focuses on working with metal.
6. Many contemporary jewellers rejected tradition in favor of radical practice. Could you comment on the relationship of tradition and contemporary jewelry?
To me it is of great value to have a classical goldsmith base. A jeweller not only learns the technique, but also a gets "McGyverish" knowledge in problem-solving and a well trained eye for detail.
7. Who are your heroes?
My personal heroes are mainly the masters I learned from, during my studies and some I met afterwards. They all are examples of excellence and an unerring eye for detail, of minds that can have a concrete impact on our vision of life, of artists with a distinctive intellectual quality present in their work. They are examples of people that have taught me things way beyond my profession. Some substantial names in order of appearance in my life are:
8. The role of the artist has changed over time. Nowadays, what do you see as the role of the contemporary artist?
I find it has become a rather complex, multifaceted “job”. It certainly seems not enough for an artist just to create. They often need to think and act as managers, social networkers, celebrities and many other roles, simply because most people seem to connect to these kinds of role models nowadays. However, art is still a field that should represent freedom for the individual. A space where one can do whatever she/he imagines or wants to express, whether it is on a canvas, a record, through words or other media.
9. The best piece of advice you’ve been given…
The advice that I haven't been given is to learn from as many people as you can and find a Mentor to look up to, because this person can be the reference point for the rest of your life, regardless of what it's profession is.
10. Finally, please recommend two or more artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.
The works of the following artists are rather distinctive and unique, each for different reasons. Some are very minimal, some tell a story, but one thing they all have in common is quality. I mixed jewellers and fine artists intentionally, hoping that those who are interested will focus on the artist and not on their medium.
I would like to point out, that these are of course just some of the names worth mentioning, there are obviously many more exceptional ones in both fields.
Top images: "Rosegold Seanemone", and "Red Seanemone", brooches / book pages, cold enamel, acrylic paint, 18 ct gold. "Red Seanemone": Winner of the World Craft Council Award, 2012.
"Blue Waves", brooch / book pages, acrylic paint, cold enamel, steel.
The following works are from the "Things happen in a garden" series. Her materials are wood and acrylic paint and it seems that the artist explores the layers of wood through her intricate paper works.
For more information you can visit her page: http://www.floravagi.net/
"Rosawhite", brooch, /wood, acrylic paint, steel.
"Enlight", brooch, /oak, cold enamel, steel, Winner of 2012 WCC Young Talent Award.
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