Daria Lutskevich, contemporary jewelry designer from Minsk, in an AUTHOR interview – a story about perseverance and passion ⫸ If my life was a piece of jewelry it would be a statement floral pair of earrings, made out of the blackest bog oak ⫸ I think we have brilliant contemporary jewelry creators in Belarus. I wish we could organize some kind of a community to get each other’s support and feedback, to improve our work.
1. We find your work very elegant, soft and beautiful wearable pieces with a twist. How did you start making jewelry? When and why?
It all started in 2011, once I asked my dad to make a jewelry piece out of wood. It was an oak bangle. I did not know a thing about bog oak then. Later, I kept thinking about wooden jewelry and designs just popped in my head. Unfortunately, my dad was not really interested in making jewelry, so here my story actually begins… I started to learn the basics of woodworking myself. At that time, I was studying linguistics at the University in Minsk, so I could not dedicate myself to woodworking regularly (lack of time, lack of working tools and lack of a clear mindset on where and how far I wanted to go with this passion for jewelry design).
I would travel 300 km every other weekend to my native town to get to my parents’ wood-workshop. I learned techniques really slowly, not only for not having time, but also for not having proper equipment; of course, my dad helped a bit. It was also him who brought me my first bog oak sample. Once I saw it and felt it, I knew I wanted to work exclusively with this material. Its color, its texture and its history gave me the inspiration that drives me even now.
2. If your life was a piece of jewelry, how would it be?
If my life was a piece of jewelry it would be a statement floral pair of earrings, made out of the blackest bog oak. The material is hard, but floral shapes make it delicate – just like the contrast of ups and downs in life. The color is black, but it has shades and texture – like the simple things in life that can become complicated and vice versa. And for myself, as a strong supporter of the carpe diem concept, my life would definitely compare to a bog oak piece, as it is several thousand years old material that captures so many moments.
3. You are working with pieces of wood that have a long history. What is it like to give this material a new life? How do you connect with this powerful piece of nature?
I would say I divide my work into producing it and appreciating its existence. While developing a new piece, I am not really thinking of the historical value or the aesthetic one – I am just working on it, concentrating on the result and trying to technically achieve the very image of the piece I have in my mind. Once I have the final shape, I am ready to appreciate it, to appreciate its history. Besides the opportunity of working with this kind of “wearable history”, it feels really great giving people an opportunity to feel and wear it as well. Bog oak’s origin always captivated me – it has this black color after being under the surfaces of the water for centuries – nobody can make it the way nature made it.
4. We talked a lot about beauty, under the concept Beauty never sleeps, at the last edition of AUTOR. What is beauty for you? Where do you find beauty?
Beauty goes far beyond our material world and I think it is something close to happiness: is not what you see, but what you feel. I find beauty in everyday routine – in talking, touching, kissing, listening and creating. I think it’s important to eliminate the boundaries, the clichés of beauty and make it more personal.
5. How will you describe the contemporary Jewelry environment in Minsk, the city where you live and create?
I think we have brilliant contemporary jewelry creators in Minsk, but since individual artists represent the field, there is a lack of professional events and there are many things to improve. I have already thought of bringing some international contemporary jewelry projects to my country, as artists mostly participate in fashion events here or do not participate at all. I wish we could organize some kind of a community to get each other’s support and feedback, to improve our work.