Daniella Saraya is a silversmith and contemporary jewelry designer from Israel. Through her work, Daniella tries to answer conceptual and aesthetic questions about the field of jewelry, as well as explore and study the boundaries of jewelry’s function and essence.
At the Author 2015 Daniela received the Krama Award, a prize that consisted of a contemporary jewelry course in Athens at the Krama Institute, together with Poly Nikolopoulou and Yannis Siotis – directors and co-founders of the Krama Institute. We had a nice meeting with Daniella in Athens where she received and experienced her award for winning the Autor Krama Award at Athens Jewelry Week this year.
Dan Pierșinaru: Daniella, we are here in Athens. If you would have to choose one word that equals Athens, which one would be?
Daniella Saraya: (laughs) Layers.
D. P.: Bravo! You are now in Athens for two reasons: one is the Autor Krama Award which you have received when you were at AUTOR Fair 2015, and the second one is that you are participating at Athens Jewelry Week. Both are about jewelry, so if you had to choose two words about your experience at Krama and your experience in Athens Jewelry Week, which words would these be?
D. S.: Two words… New perspectives.
D. P.: New perspectives – very good two words. Being at Krama and working with Poly and Yannis has been a private experience because the three of you were developing a process together. If you’d have to say three words about this process – because you were three persons – which would these three words be?
D. S.: Well, it was very intimate, like you said, it was very open-minded and also I guess it was very friendly. So these are my three words.
D. P.: So, it’s intimate, open-minded and friendly. Perfect! You’ve been working with them for four days?
D. S.: Yes.
D. P.: So you’ve been thinking about your project for four days. After these four days you’ve probably come to a conclusion, and if you’d have to express your conclusion in four words, what would these four words be?
D. S.: I have five words: we are all the same!
D. P.: We are all the same! Bravo! From now on in our interview we can express more words, so what novelty did this experience bring in your artistic life and conscience? You’ve been here developing a very spontaneous project with Poly and Yannis, so what do you feel about all of this, what do you have in mind and in your heart?
D. S.: It’s like I said, it’s opened a whole new perspective. So, from the new place that I’ve been staying at, to the unfamiliar workshop I’ve been attending, with unfamiliar people I’ve been working with, I’ve found a new character of me, and from that to creating something new it was only a step.
D. P.: So if you would have to put everything that you said now in just one phrase, what would it sound like? Synthetize it…
D. S.: Hmm… Difficult…
D. P.: Try to listen to your feelings.
D. S.: I guess when you find yourself in a situation you don’t know, you have to act accordingly to the situation, and it leads you to do things that you wouldn’t do if you weren’t in this situation.
D. P.: I feel that you’ve been experiencing something new?
D. S.: It wasn’t my comfortable place here, everything was new for me. At home my hands know how to get things. In here it’s not comfortable and I have to do it differently.
D. P.: So being out of your comfort zone is something that you were looking for or it came as a surprise while attending the workshop?
D. S.: I didn’t know it would be like that, because I’m the same me, and my hands are the same, which is perfectly normal. But, it’s not something that you look for, because when you’re comfortable you don’t want to move. When things move you, you go to different contexts, and that always makes you do interesting things and discover new perspectives.
D. P.: I completely agree. So I like to think that this award that you received being at Autor challenged you to live a new experience and it took you out from your environment and – let’s say – from your bubble?
D. S.: I was looking forward to this because I was doing my stuff for a long time. For seven years I’ve been doing the same process with my work, so to shake it up and to really be outside my comfort zone was very enlightening.
D. P.: I think this is something that we all need, so if you have a message for the other winners of Krama Award at Autor, what would that message be, because they will also be present here to experience working with Poly and Yannis.
D. S.: I think my message to them is to come with really open mind and to not prepare themselves for anything, just to come clean and relaxed and be prepared for a new experience.
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”Are we living on the surface?
Daniella Saraya’s artistic statement as a result of her experience with Autor Krama Award
My first impression of Athens was very distant, there was a big gap between the historical stories I heard and my fantasies about the city, to the reality I found.
I didn’t understand the language, all the conversations around me become an abstract sound,
and all the written words seemed to me only as unfamiliar shapes. As much as I wanted to enter the city, I remained standing on the outside surface.
Slowly following the conversations with Yannis and Poly I began to dig in, they gave me the opportunity to look at the city from a different and thought-provoking perspective and to get out of my familiar and safe place.
The combination between their internal perspective as locals, and my external perspective as a stranger, allow us to reveal new layers of the place, reflected through multiple points of view. For me, the process resembled to an archaeological act, in which the initial thought- the surface layer- was broken, and opens the possibility of getting into the depth of things.
In relation to the city, that archaeological action was not only conceptual, but also physical. The unique opportunity of walking around Athens, see and touch the previous layers of life, history and culture that lie beneath us.
In this context, the thought about jewelry was also interesting. Like us, the jewelry supposedly lives on the surface of the body, creating a layer that separates between the wearer and the person standing in front of him. But like my experience in Athens, by looking at the jewelry, touching them and searching for hidden details, they also open another entrance, different one, into the emotional and intimate world of the person behind them.” – Daniella Saraya