This is the first in a series of new writings where young and established designers speak to designers of the future, sharing their knowledge and experience to be preciously kept for those to come (or in the making).
The first we’ve invited is Giulia Savino, an emerging and extremely imaginative (both in art and in its economy) jewelry maker from a tiny city near Turin. She already gained an important teaching experience in Cairo, where she was paramount in building a new institution from scratch, as the right hand of Spanish jewelry maker Estela Saez. Her latest collection, realized during Alchimia’s MFA program, is touring the country inside and outside of the jewelry sector. Her advice is precious. Enjoy, Alchimia
Short suggestions, thoughts that I repeat to myself every day:
1. Always look for opportunities and be open to new proposals. Be adaptable and curious. Experience is what makes us grow; the fact that jewellery can be realized everywhere is a privilege that brings in multiple possibilities.
In December 2012 I moved to Cairo to collaborate to the setting and opening of the first ever jewellery school in the Middle East: “The Design Studio by Azza Fahmy”. While there I worked as an assistant to the director Estela Saez and as a teacher. It was a totally fortuitous decision that revealed to be a great and powerful experience from which I learned a lot. At that time I had just completed the three-year BFA program at Alchimia, in Florence. Being part of this new adventure, which included taking care of various aspects of the jewellery world (from setting up a workshop to space maintenance, from the students’ relationships to the school’s curriculum organization) in a totally different country made me understand better my qualities and shortfalls.
2. Be aware of your way of working. Plan your short-term and long-term goals. Create your routine.
When starting to work as an independent designer and maker I realized how important it was to understand my own working process. During school we experiment a lot but it takes time and awareness to build up our own language and way of thinking. A state of confusion is what I felt when I started my Master Degree, but commitment and perseverance helped me to get out of it.
In our practice it’s essential to be the boss of ourselves and to find a certain balance, which will always be different for each one of us. During the organization of my first solo show I experienced the value of scheduling and reaching daily goals in order to keep the energy and motivation to go on.
3.Take advantage of your knowledge and qualities. With the little resources you have, wherever you are, you can invent your own path. Don’t play with time but start somewhere.
During school we receive and consume a lot of information, both technical and theoretical. I think that the important thing for us is finding our own road through the many possibilities that contemporary jewellery making can offer.
Since a couple of months I moved to Torino. It’s not an easy city to start a jewellery practice in, as there are not many people to share the work (and passion) with and there is no direct access to materials and tools. I don’t have a real workshop yet, because at the moment I can’t afford it, and there aren’t any shared labs here. First I felt a bit discouraged, but by keeping thinking about it only as a transition moment, I didn’t give up and I tried to take advantage of my skills and of the situation, focusing on my work and on my teaching experience: I’ve started organizing a series of five workshops about jewellery making techniques suitable for anyone without having specific tools.
4. Nobody is looking for you out there and your pieces won’t sell by themselves, unfortunately. Present and introduce you work.
Nowadays the possibility to sell your work are many and marketing is necessary (not a choice). Define your market and where you want to be.
We have to be ready to be multi-tasking, as we are not only jewellery makers, but need to also be (at least at the beginning) business conscious, have marketing skills, be smart in using social media, and have graphic basics. Every single day I try to overcome my limits in feeling uncomfortable when trying to be a marketing person, contacting people and selling my pieces.
It’s obvious that when a jewellery piece is finished we are only half way through the working process; packaging, photographing, advertisement, marketing research are part of the daily routine.
All the decisions we take are not for good, especially nowadays that things change so fast and new solutions come up all the time. But we have to define our market and what we want from our work.
5. Create your network: to share, to improve, to enjoy. Evaluate your work from different perspectives.
For me it’s important to buildup relations with people from different backgrounds, to share my work and get feedback. Having different points of view about our work can help us in developing further.
When I arrived here in Turin, I underestimated the time (as I’m not a patient person) you need to buildup a network of people and to be aware of what is happening. When you start in a new place you realize how difficult it can be, but it’s also a continuous discovery. I’m trying to meet other designers by joining art events and attending different talks hoping to be able to start new collaborations.
Recently for example I joined the Turin Fashion Week so I had the chance to show my work during a catwalk and to start a project with a local designer. Thanks to the participation to Grassimesse Fair in Leipzig I will take part to a private event in Munich.
Things happen but patience is necessary.
Actually I’m happy that my work is done half in the studio, half via interaction, as mine is really jewellery for people.
This article is also published in Alchimia main website.