ARTIST'S STATEMENTA lot of my jewelry is influenced by Russian filigree jewelry, either in its shape or technique or both.
From 1991 to 1992 I spent one year in Moscow (an exciting time — it was the year the Soviet Union disappeared from the map). I got the chance to study with a master of the traditional filigree technique. It was a great experience being introduced to the world of this rich and decorative style and to the technique which demands a lot of patience. (This was even more exciting for me, coming from Austria, where people are more into minimalist jewelry and very often old techniques like the filigree are not popular any more.)
The jewelry I produced under the supervision of my Russian teacher was technically demanding and visually a fantasy of the wildest oriental dreams: endlessly tacky, yet opulent. Back in Western Europe quite a few people didn't like this kind of jewelry. It was too overloaded for their minimalist taste. I started to develop techniques that could function as bridges between my Russian education (which I definitely didn't want to forget) and a simpler, more reduced kind of jewelry that was appreciated in Western Europe.
One of the first attempts to build one of these bridges was my "inside out" series in which the rich filigree is hidden on the inside of a ring or on the backside of an earring. I wanted the pieces to be discrete, yet interesting. The person who wears the jewelry knows what she or he has got (and so do their intimate friends who see the jewelry lying in front of the bathroom mirror at night). But there is no need to show off. I wanted to make humble pieces of jewelry, though precious and special to the owner.
Another bridge was the "wire" series. I used fine silver wire (100% silver) that is very soft. In the filigree technique it is used with great discipline to make tiny scrolls, leaves and flowers. I wanted to give in to the softness of the fine silver wire and let it flow around the finger. The result was a very organic series that reminds one of muscle strings, bundles of grass or segments of tree bark.
Up to this day my jewelry reflects my past experience in different ways and the filigree swirls are still "popping up" here and there. The long and thin wires that need to be pulled in order to produce the intricate twisted and flattended wire for the filigree also influenced me: Long stipes of leather, silver and gold wire and long textile tubes are part of my work. Sometimes I like to add a little spice to my pieces by adding a surprising detail here and there....
VELVET DA VINCI SHOWS
COUNTRY OF RESIDENCE
Austrian, Currently living in Pittsburgh
Academy of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria, 1988-1996
Academy of Applied Arts, Moscow, Russia, Specialization in Traditional Filigree Jewelry, 1991-1992
College of Arts and Crafts, Pforzheim, Germany, Video and Jewelry Departments, 1992-1994
Schmuck aus Berlin, Deux Poissons, Tokyo, Japan, 2010
Schmuck Wander, Galeria Medium, Bratislava, Slovakia / Stoss im Himmel, Wien, Austria 2009 through 2010
Touching warms the art, Museum of Contemporary Craft, Portland, Or, USA, 2008
Horror Vacui, 'friends of carlotta', Zürich, Switzerland, 2008
Jump, 'friends of carlotta', Zürich, Switzerland, 2006
soft - a textile approach to jewellery, Galeria Fila 5, Madrid, Spain, 2004
Re - view, Austrian Jewelry since 1900, Wako, Tokio, Japan (catalogue), 2003
Der Superschmuck - new jewelry from Austria, Velvet da Vinci, San Francisco, CA, USA, 2002
Die gedachte Linie 1+2, Austrian Cultural Institute, Bratislava, Slovakia; Blumberg gallery, Vienna, Austria (catalogue), 2001 to 2002
Materie 2000, Stoss im Himmel, Vienna, Austria, 2000
Kunst hautnah, Künstlerhaus Wien, Vienna, Austria (catalogue), 2000
Meele Alvadus - Mind Seductions, Museum of Applied Arts, Tallinn, Estonia, 1999
Schmücken, Reuchlinhaus, Pforzheim, Germany (catalogue), 1995
Costume designer, Der automatische Teufel, Sirene Operntheater, Vienna, Austria, 2000
Prop designer, Schönbrunn Puppet Theatre, Vienna, Austria, 1999
Jeweler, prototypes for Chrome Hearts, Los Angeles, USA, 1997 to 1998
Guest Lecturer, Gerrit Rietveld Academie, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2004
Jeweler, arts decoratifs Workshop, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2003 to 2004