We like Mala Siamptani, a lot. In fact, we interviewed her a few months back and since then, we’ve been obsessively following her work. From time to time, Mala drops us a line to tell us about something she finds new or interesting or to introduce us to creative types that have caught her eye. Her taste is impeccable and because of it we’ve met Joan Taltavull and more recently María Ninot.
She’s charming, yes, but she’s also a bottomless well of creativity and the mind behind pieces that, whether you like them or not, you must admit are unique and technically and esthetically perfect. Her favorite subject is microbiology, she’s interested in sick cells, bacteria, viruses and such, and she works this all into marvellous rings that imitate the process of putrefaction, among other things.
SC!: Congratulations on your new collection. Structural Decay is simply amazing and quite unusual. What techniques did you use in the production of these pieces?
MALA SIAMPTANI: These pieces were created by using a combination of mould making and casting techniques. Main materials are resin combined with metal and amber powders.
SC!: Once again, you use microbiology as a subject for your pieces. What are you trying to show us?
MS: The study of the form and functional characteristics of natural structures is what provided inspiration for my work. Inspired by the relationship between the natural world and bilateral symmetry, my idea is to step out of the conventional jewellery / accessories context in order to develop a unique series of precious objects. Examining organic forms, deriving from a vast amount of research on microbiology, my latest collection explores the effects of infectious agents such as bacteria, microorganisms, parasites or viruses. The rings demonstrate how the form gradually responds to the infection.
In most cases, microorganisms live in harmony with their hosts via mutual or commensal interactions. Diseases can emerge when existing parasites become pathogenic or when new pathogenic parasites enter a new host. This collection was an attempt to imitate the gradual destruction of a form when diseases emerge by developing an atypical casting technique.
SC!: Where does your intense interest in microbiology come from?
MS: The interest to look into decay and infected cells came about after a visit to a biology lab. I started asking how a subject that affects us physically and emotionally can somehow be captured and transformed into a precious object.
SC!: Tell us a bit about the techniques that you used in producing the rings, for example.
MS: For me it is important to make jewellery with a deeper meaning. I am interested in exploring materials and working on ideas in depth. With mould making and casting techniques every mark you make is reproduced perfectly and, paradoxically, the rings were about infection, disease, and not simply an exercise in plastics and metal. The appearance of each piece is largely determined by the process and materials I used. I am fascinated by techniques. When I see a visual effect, I want to know how to make it. In this case it was patination. I started playing around with chemicals and metals but, then, I choose to recreate this effect naturally. So the rings were left out in the rain (it does help living in London) for a couple of weeks and the rust effect slowly started to emerge.
My search for new materials and new combinations of materials will continue on future collections
SC!: What are you up to now?
MS: Right now I am in the process of settling into my new job as technical staff of a university here in London, assisting students / future designers with their projects. While in the mean time, I am continuing to develop future collaborations and projects.
SC!: Where can we see and buy your new pieces?
MS: My new webpage is on the way and an e-shop will be added to it.
Photos courtesy of Mala Siamptani
Translation and Layout by Michael Padilla