Article in brief: This article recounts the learning process of how to produce jewelry pieces by hand.
In the past, I saw jewelry in my personal and visual vocabulary as a wearable precious metal, beautified by shimmering stones and a polished finish. To me, it was something that could only be refined and elegant. This meaning got turned upside down when I enrolled in jewelry workshop recently.
The workshop’s mentor, Estella from Spain, works as a jewelry instructor at The Design Studio of Azza Fahmy in Cairo, which is led by none other than the renowned designer Azza Fahmy. The studio specializes in delivering educational courses in jewelry design.
Estella’s two-year stay in Cairo has enabled her to acquire an affinity for Um Kulthoum and all things retaining an arabesque essence. Alongside delegating assignments, Estella made sure of raising our awareness on the vast world of jewelry design. This is the part where the exposure to an endless variety of the way jewelry is interpreted and worn flipped my preconceived notions that I have carried all those years up to that point.
There was so much artistic virtue in what was presented to us, all elevated in value because of the conceptuality and craftsmanship put into the pieces, which are treated as micro sculptures. The first week Estella threw all kinds of conceptual design obstacles in our way, which seamlessly transformed from conceptual interpretations of the design obstacles at hand, into our own finished and final pieces.
Cue the commencement of continuous sawing and drilling sounds into our designated pieces of metal. After hours of translating our drawings into polished and tangible pieces, we mused the thought of being able to mass-produce our collections with the help of laser cutters, but then we agreed that if it’s not handmade then it would not be as valuable.
Moza Almatrooshi is an Emarati artist and designer. After attaining a BA from Zayed University Dubai in Interior Design in June 2013, Moza began her journey in trying to find a place in the creative industry in the UAE, starting with catching a plane to Italy to intern in the UAE Pavilion in the Venice Art Biennale 2013. Since then Moza has dabbled in several experiences such as architecture, design, event planning, art exhibitions, and writing for independent publications. Moza continues to journey through life, art, and design.
With mass production sweeping the globe, artisanal talents struggle to retain relevancy. This column celebrates the beauty and human value added to a product that is created with skilled hands.