Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sophia Georgiopoulou – Artist Interview

Hello, and welcome! We have another artist interview this week, with the lovely Sophia Georgiopoulou. Please have a read! thanks so much for sharing today with us Sophia!

How would you describe what you do as an artist?
I am a goldsmith who makes precious adornments in gold, silver, pearls and gemstones. I am fascinated by the way metal, especially gold, transforms itself through the use of traditional fabrication techniques and the skills of the goldsmith into an object of art, delight and beauty.
Incrementi Brooch ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

What inspires your designs?
My designs are primarily inspired by the Roman, Hellenistic and Byzantine past of the Near East, adapted to a more modern aesthetic. Since my classicist education has always drawn me to the ornate, intricately wrought gold jewelry that prevailed for centuries in the Mediterranean basin and the Near East, my work focuses on a reinterpretation of these timeless forms. My work seeks to create a bridge between the beauty of the ancient cultural heritage in this area of the world and modern life.

Occasionally, I will be haunted by a shape from the world of nature, a found object, a play of light or a word that will need to be transformed and expressed into a piece of jewelry. Sometimes I do a detailed drawing of the piece I want to fabricate, at others I take the gemstone or pearl and build around it.
Alexandria Gold Earrings ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

Leaf Gold Earrings ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

How long have you been involved in this type of making?
Until 2004, “making” jewelry (assembling elements together) was just one of my hobbies together with painting, drawing and embroidering. In 2004, I decided that I needed to learn how to fabricate clasps because the ready-made ones I used in my creations were not very interesting. In October 2004, I took my first metals class and I have never looked back. I became attracted to fabrication straight from the raw materials and I am still trying to hone my skills in that area. I left my job as a college professor and apprenticed for five years next to a wonderful goldsmith, teacher and mentor. In November 2010, I opened my website: www.kosmimata.com
Amaseia Flower Ring ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

Where are you located?
I live in Athens, Greece, surrounded by monuments that are the remnants of the great civilizations of the Mediterranean basin. The city is full of museums that contain wonderful treasures of sculpture, painting, metal, jewelry, pottery, glass and fabrics. The monuments and the treasures in the museums are marvelous sources of inspiration for every artist, and especially a goldsmith.
In November 2011, I will relocate permanently to Seattle, Washington.
Constantinople Rings ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

Do you have a website or etsy store?
Yes, I do!
Kosmimata Website: http://www.kosmimata.com
Etsy Shop: http://www.kosmimata.etsy.com
Nicaea Gold and Silver Star Brooches ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

What other ways do you market your work?
Currently I only sell online and by commission.
Raised Cross Earrings ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

Do you teach? 

I do not teach yet, although in my past career as a college professor I taught for 18 consecutive years right after graduate school. Perhaps in the future, when I have mastered the techniques I am interested in exploring, I will consider it. I think imparting traditional skills to the younger generations of goldsmiths is as important as fashioning an integral body of work that reflects one’s vision of adornment.
Scimitar Pearl Earrings ©Sophia Georgiopoulou
Scimitar Pearl Pendant ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

Any sage advice for newcomers that you would like to share?
It would be beneficial for newcomers in the field to envision themselves as links in the chain of the jewelry-making tradition. If they are about to reshape tradition in the name of innovation, they should be well-versed in the very thing they will be reshaping. The constant refinement of their traditional jewelry skills, the development of their creative impulses,  the shunning of the lures of the innovation-for-the-sake-of-innovation muse and the formulation of their individual artistic voices should be the focus of their endeavors early on.

Jewelry made with knowledge, skill and imagination is not only an inextricable part of the artist who creates it; it is also a small, strong link in the chain of the jewelry-making tradition. This chain links the individual work to both time past and  time future and strongly defines it; at the same time, through the work’s differences/similarities to the other links in the chain, its artistic autonomy is enhanced.
Calyx II Ring ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

Where do you envision your work going in the next year?
I believe that jewelry, even in the commercialized production world of today, is best made by the human hand without the interference of elaborate technological aids. The simple tool of the jeweler on the metal and the deep knowledge of the traditional, timeless jewelry techniques are capable of creating pieces of unparalleled beauty that last through the ages.

In the next year, I want to complete the two collections I am currently working on;  they will represent my explorations in metal and the technique of granulation.
Florilegium Brooch ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

Anything Else you'd like to share?
yes - New work by Kosmimata can be found online at:

Website: http://www.kosmimata.com
Etsy Shop: http://www.kosmimata.etsy.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/SGeorgiopoulou
Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kosmimata/
Crafthaus: http://crafthaus.ning.com/profile/SophiaGeorgiopoulou
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Kosmimata-by-Sophia-Georgiopoulou
Byzantine Rosette Brooch ©Sophia Georgiopoulou
Byzantine Rosette Brooch ©Sophia Georgiopoulou

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