Thursday, November 7, 2013

Meet the designer – Alis Lalu Contemporary Jewelry

I knew that I’d like to make an interview with Alis since I’ve met her at the beginning of this summer, but the minute she showed me her newest creation a few weeks ago we both understood that the right moment for a lovely discussion about her work was getting closer.

Alis Lalu is a talented Romanian jewelry designer and her most recent collection is called “Adagio in G Minor”, having a violin as its centerpiece. She designed it for Autor 10, the largest contemporary jewelry fair in Romania which is going to take place at mid-November in Bucharest.

Ladies and gentlemen, please meet Alis Lalu!

GP: How many jewelry items does “Adagio in G Minor” collection have?
AL: I've designed the first violin 3 years ago and the idea of it has never left me ever since. It stayed with me until this new collection came to life. It now has 4 items and I’ll be working at 3 other more. But I’m sure it’s an open story, which will not end here.

The collection, as it looks at this moment, is consisted of a necklace, a pair of earrings – an oversized violin for one ear and a fiddle bow for the other – and 2 brooches.

It was not my purpose to replicate a violin as it is in reality, but rather to get inspired by its feminine and sensual shape. The juxtaposition of contrasts is the main idea of the necklace: a delicate and glossy finished violin put on a slightly industrial, more massive tubular chain. It conveys the fact that music brings together different generations and people regardless of age, sex, occupation or ethnicity.

Adagio in G minor Collection - Silver 925 and Ebony - Necklace

GP: By the way, how did you get the idea for this new collection of yours?
AL: Many things have inspired me. I've designed my first violin for a dear friend of mine 3 years ago, who was doing music. At that time, he asked me to make him a brooch. I was looking to come up with something representative for him, strongly connected with his passion for music. This is how I got the idea of a violin.
Moreover, from that very moment, I began to think of a collection of violins bearing in mind that Adagio in G minor is my favorite musical composition.

I first listened to it in a play at Bucharest National Theater and it haunted me ever since. It’s one of the compositions that make me cry. You could easily become slightly depressed by listening to it and, at the same time, it loads you with positive energy. There are ups and downs, just like life teaches us so many times.

I knew back then that this idea will come to life at the right moment. I didn't get to work immediately because I needed time to absorb the concept, to let it come to surface whenever it was right.
There is also another novelty within this collection – there is no ring in it, which is a big step forward for me. If you take a look at my previous collections, you’ll see that they’re mainly consisted of rings. It was not my purpose to do so. I simply turned to rings everything I saw in my mind as I visualized my creations that way.

Adagio in G minor Collection - Silver 925 and Ebony - Brooch

GP: Speaking about rings, you once said in an interview that your favorite jewelry item remains the ring, simply because “hands help us connect with others and build relationships”. Very nicely said! Which is your favorite ring?
AL: It is so difficult to choose only one. The feeling I get when finishing a piece of jewelry is similar to the mother-child relationship. You might think I overreact, but I don’t. It’s so hard for me to separate from my creations because I love them so much. On the other hand, I can’t keep them only for myself, I wanna show them to the world, to let them go and bring joy in someone else's life.

But if I must choose one, this would be a white gold ring with emerald, from the Duchess Brocart collection. The gemstone is mounted in yellow gold to emphasize the green color.

Duchess Brocart Collection - 14k White & Yellow Gold and Emerald - Ring

Why did I choose this ring instead of other? Just because I love the green color of emerald. I got this from my mother who’s in love with this hue too. I remember she had emerald jewelry when I was little and I was anxious to grow up and wear them. I did and now I’m making my own jewelry.
Duchess Brocart collection is inspired by the sumptuous jewels worn by Duchesses and also by their elegance and  the shape of their brocade dresses. What I did in this collection was to render the metal structure of brocade.

Duchess Collection - Silver 925 and Garnet - Necklace

GP: Tell me more, how do you get inspired?
AL: It's an ongoing process. What happens every day inspires me, maybe not even consciously. Let’s take “Adagio in G Minor” collection for example. There are many things that inspired me – maybe the disappointment that I missed “George Enescu” festival, the Romanians’ pride of having it, its success, a play, my favorite musical composition. All these put together are o source of inspiration. At the opposite, there are moments when you’re looking for the inspiration and either you fail to find it or it doesn't find you. In Pablo Picasso’s words I believe the most in these moments: “Inspiration exists, but it must find you working.” I then sit at my desk and let myself guided by the material I’m working with. I get inspired by it or, better said, by its limitations.

Adagio in G minor Collection - Silver 925 and Ebony - Earrings

GP: What does jewelry mean to you, as a designer and a woman?
AL: It means more than an accessory, that’s for sure. It brought change into my life. I began designing jewelry after 5 or 6 years spent in a corporation. It helped me find my way in life, at least at this point. Maybe tomorrow I’ll play drums, who knows. I’m joking, of course. J

Waves Collection - Silver rings

GP: You didn't tell me what jewelry means to you as a woman and you’re not getting away with it. Is there any difference between Alis wearing jewelry and Alis without any?
AL: Of course there is! I don’t wear jewelry as an accessory, but rather as a statement and an extension of my personality. I do not care if a ring, at least the one I’m wearing, is comfortable or in tune with my clothes. Quite the opposite. Sometimes I choose the ring first and decide after what I’ll wear that day. I’d like to think that women who appreciate my work are doing the same. It is also an extension of femininity after all. It’s true that men are also wearing jewelry but we could wear so much more.

Skyline Collection - Silver 925 and Tourmaline - Ring

GP: Tell me about your collections in just one word. OK, in a few words if it’s difficult to define them otherwise. J

Duchess Collection - Silver and Amethyst - Earrings
Duchess Collection - feminine
Skyline Collection – New York landscape 
Colors Collection – organic and playful 
Asymmetrical Collection – bold, angles
Shadows Collection – contrast
Biogenic Collection – first collection
Waves Collection – my childhood, sea waves
Adagio in G Minor – feminine, suave, music brings people together

GP: When did you realize that you want to be a jewelry designer?
AL: I've always been curious how jewelry is being made. I met David Sandu one day, who told me that I could learn how to make jewelry in only 2 weeks. I found his statement fascinating and I joined Assamblage Contemporary Jewelry School, without knowing exactly what is going to happen there. I trusted David and his work. I just knew after this course that I need to grab my tools and get to work. It was a process. I perceived it as a hobby at first, which is still valid today, only now I’m much more aware of it. 

Duchess Brocart Collection - Silver 925 and Agate - Ring

GP: What’s next?
AL: Autor 10 Contemporary Jewelry Fair in Bucharest, on 16th and 17th of November. It will be a special edition as Autor fair has reached its tenth edition, in which my colleagues and I will present statement jewelry.

This fair comes after another important event that recently took place at Galateca Gallery. I’m talking about Jewelry Design Fair, an event that I was very proud of. We celebrated the third anniversary of Assamblage School at the fair. This is the school I talked you about, which had me as a student 3 years ago and now hosts me as a professor, as I’ve been giving jewelry classes for almost one year and a half.

Biogenic Collection - Silver 925 and Coral - Ring

Thank you Alis for this lovely interview and I can’t wait to see your creations at Autor 10!

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