Mihaela Caravan’s contemporary jewelry work is an enchanted meditation around the mundane and the emotional landscape that surrounds big cities and their inhabitants. With components ranging from the exploration of vulnerability and hidden life of everyday objects, this new coming designer makes her debut in the art scene with statement design pieces that are transformative stories which exceed the sum of their parts.
Tell us a little about yourself, your background, studies and experiences.
I’ve been studying economics and have been a buyer for interior design for the last 10 years. I’ve always been passionate about art, design, sustainability and been having a different, unique and creative approach in my work.
I always wanted to implement my own ideas and make my own design but never had the time to do it. At the beginning of 2018, I enrolled in Assamblage Jewelry School where under David Sandu and Adreia Popescu’s supervision, I learned the basic techniques in Goldsmith.
I bought all the tools that I needed and started working independently. Shortly after this, I received very positive feedback, being selected for Remains of the Feast in Bucharest and later to Joya Barcelona.
These events gave me courage and starting with October 2018, 100% of my time and energy was dedicated to implement my ideas, develop concepts, work on a personal collection, new concepts and learn new techniques.
It is an amazing experience and I feel blessed to have the privilege and time to focus my time and energy on my passion.
Now, I am working on my website and I am looking forward to showing the world the results of my last 6 months of work.
What is the concept behind your designs?
I have 2 approaches in my work: an artistic approach resulting in statement pieces and a minimalist approach ending in wearable collections.
I like to keep the artistic approach very free an undisturbed of external factors. I use this approach to express emotions and deep thoughts or feelings. The concept variates according to the idea that I want to transmit.
The main purpose of this approach is to send a message, to make a small change or bring a thought on the viewer’s perspective.
For the wearable collection, the concept consists of simple, delicate minimalist design inspired by Japanese culture and architecture. I think that the jewelry we wear should have a symbiotic relationship with our body and it should represent a detail that you can only observe when you get closer to a person. I see jewelry as details that express a lot about a person.
I decided to make a wearable collection, as I found it very hard to find simple jewelry so I designed according to what I would wear. The message towards my customers is to enjoy simple things and to appreciate minimalism and good taste.
Where do you find inspiration? And what are your rituals to call the muses when they are not around?
I find inspiration in different places. I m very inspired by Berlin vibe and my day to day interaction with people, but most of my concepts and ideas are coming from introspection and epiphanies.
When I don’t have the inspiration, I just take a break, take a long walk, go to art galleries, ride my bike or meet friends. I feel very inspired in my cozy and intimate studio in the heart of Berlin. For me home, where I also have my studio, it is a safe and creative place. When stuck in the creative process, I like to listen to records with my childhood fairytales. They always give me an incredible feeling of peacefulness.
Flea markets are a great source of inspiration. This is the place where all the unwanted objects with a lot of history are showing off waiting to be saved. I love the smell, textures, colors, and mess of the flea markets. I always like to go alone to admire in silence the details of the market. My favorite one is Mauerpark.
Tell us about your latest collection. Do you have a favorite piece?
This collection gathers the sentiments we sometimes choose to not feel, in order to spare ourselves the discomfort of sitting with them: pain, fear, anger, grief, anxieties, and worries. But in choosing to avoid discomfort, we, instead, avoid the discovery of new possibilities in ourselves.
When we choose to be vulnerable, we make a conscious act of kindness and love towards ourselves. We don’t deny ourselves the intrinsic value of feeling whatever we may feel, no matter how inadequate, clumsy or difficult we think that may seem. We choose to graciously support and nurture ourselves, with awareness and plenitude, and in doing so we give ourselves the most precious heads-up: learning to experience and integrate our emotions fully.
Learning to be vulnerable was a daunting task when I began this journey both as an artist and a human. It’s still a challenging place, but in this challenge, I have learned many faces of empathy, gratitude, creativity and ultimately growth.
Vulnerability has set me free to embody differences and difficulties in my art. It has given me a safe space to manifest my peculiarities and transform challenging emotions into a work that carries both strength and sensibility. Because both are faces of the same coin, and both are perfectly natural. Both are enough and both are ok.
Maybe it sounds crazy, but I prefer not to pick a favorite piece, as I find it unfair towards the rest of the pieces. It is like picking a favorite kid 🙂
My last collection comes as a set of 9 pieces. They were born and travel together with the purpose of sharing a message.
What are the greatest issues for you as a jewelry designer? And how do you deal with them?
The greatest issue, and at the same time, a great win, for me, is evolution within the artistic process. I often find myself working for a week on a concept, and after a while, I have an idea that changes the entire perspective and approach to the concept and I have to start from 0.
It is like a little demon that doesn’t go away and it doesn’t let me have a moment of silence.
I’ve learned how to accept this feeling and enjoy the ride.
Who are your customers, how would you describe them? Do you imagine a woman that would wear your pieces before designing them?
The vast majority of my followers are art lovers or collectors.
I don’t necessarily think of a person when I work on an artistic concept. All I think of is finding ways to transmit and express a certain emotion and keep the flow in my work. My biggest satisfaction is when people recognize and empathizes with this emotion.
It takes different stages to create a final object, hence it is very hard to say goodbye to my pieces.
For my wearable collection, the customers are both men and women, usually design lovers, architects, and minimalists.
How do you see your brand in 5 years?
I wish that in 5 years, to keep this profound will of sharing emotions and deep thoughts through my work to as many people as possible.
AUTOR is an exclusive scene for contemporary jewelry, concepts and encounters. It is the space where both functional and conceptual approaches to wearing jewlery can be seen and touched. In each edition we are defining “the sweet spot” where design, art and emotions meet.
Join us on the 20-21 April 2019, at National Theatre Bucharest fo the 18th edition.