Jewellery design has always focused on recognisable forms and figures using traditional materials like silver and gold. The meaning of the designs rarely goes deeper than simple adornments or status symbols.
And then there’s Mala Siamptani whose work in the world of jewellery design holds a meaning much more significant than that of aesthetic baubles.
Born in Cyprus and living in the UK where she studied to be an artist, Mala Siamptani has a degree in 3D design and a Master’s in fashion artefact from the prestigious London College of Fashion. Before it all, she worked in fire performances and making dolls. At the moment, she is studying her second MA, this time, on Creative Thinking.
This finalist for last summer’s International Talent Support recognizes that she is a compulsive collector of ‘treasures’ that she finds in street markets and that she is fascinated by the power of symmetry and microbiology.
SO CATCHY!: How would you describe yourself?
MALA SIAMPTANI: Hardworking, stubborn, honest, trustworthy.
SC!: You have done a lot of things in your life (fire performer, doll maker). What made you want to design jewellery?
MS: I wanted to express my creative skills in this field because I see jewellery as a bridge between a maker and the owner of the piece. There are no simple channels when it comes to jewellery, as an independent practitioner, you need to be educated to the highest possible level, not just to understand about materials or making jewellery, but to learn the basic principles of the business.
SC!: What do you want to express / show with your work?
MS: The idea is to step out of the conventional jewellery/accessories context in order to develop a unique series of precious objects. Aim of it is to see what can be achieved with the combination of new technologies (CAD, CNC machining) and traditional mold making and casting techniques. For this collection I focus on the bilateral symmetry because the human body is considered to be part of this category. “Bi-” is a prefix meaning “two,” so a bilaterally symmetrical being is one whose body is capable of being split in two identical halves. But the symmetry applies only to the basic framing structure of the body and not necessarily the insides. Symmetry is a chosen subject because it stands out; it demands attention, which is what I try to incorporate into my pieces. It plays such an important role in a wide range of human activity. It has enjoyed a special place in both philosophy and theology. In this context, symmetry can be referred to as a great harmonizer and unifier
SC!: Where do you look for inspiration?
MS: The natural world is an information sourcebook of behavior, function, color and shape which can inspire visual design and invention. Through my work I attempt to examine organic forms, deriving from a research on microbiology. It appears to be a very interesting and exciting subject to explore; thus, my challenge is to base my research mainly on diseased cells: bacteria, fungi or cancer cells.
SC!: Why did you select bacteria, fungi or cancer cells as a main “subject” for your accessories?
MS: I choose this topic as I find really fascinating that these cells try to take over the organism by altering cellular genetic constitution, which results in continuing to divide when they should not thus becoming rogue cells.
SC!: What kind of materials and techniques do you normally use?
MS: My work is based around a number of tests in the workshop, which included rubber mold-making and try outs with fiber glass and polyester resins mixed with different pigments. I have tried to explore the possibility of combining mold-making techniques with CNC machining.
SC!: Explain us your creative process… how do you start to design a collection?
MS: Everything starts on a blank sheet of paper; symmetrical shapes combined with organic form and reflected. Then I transfer my designs in a 3D program for further development and insert them into the program of the CNC machine where the milling begins.
SC!: What kind of person would buy your pieces… define your target…
MS: Someone who understands the creative process behind the formation of this piece, who likes big statement pieces or is a statement kind of person himself.
SC!: Your favorite jewellery brand / designer is…
MS: Hr Giger with no question but In jewellery absolutely love the work of Mexican designer Jorge Manilla, whose materials and processes experimentation, never leave aside his extraordinary metalsmithing skills.
SC!: Blogs / Websites you normally read to get inspiration or just for fun…
SC!: Your goal for 2014 is…
MS: I would like to carry on working for the companies and designers I work for now and find some free time and carry on developing my new collection in the studio.
SC!: Your impossible dream is….
To move to the mountains, live in isolation and create! Not impossible though, I will make it a reality at some point!
Photographs courtesy of Matt Jackson and Charlotte Lucca
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla