Name: Irina Pertseva
Website Link: http://blackcurrantjewelry.deviantart.com/
Where are you located? Toronto, Canada
Tell us a bit about yourself: I’ve grown up in St. Petersburg, Russia. All my childhood I was painting in an art studio but I never dared to go to Art College. I finished University, where I studied Geography and Cartography. I was fascinated by beauty of stones whose names we had to memorize and the tiny flowers under the microscope. Back then we learned how to draw maps and fonts by hand. When I met my husband, a professional artist, he became my art and design teacher. We lived for a few years in Germany, and several years in Czech Republic. Prague, where I lived for a while, reminds me of a jewelry collection itself. Czech people are amazing craftsmen. Now we have been living in Canada for several years. I was painting, drawing and doing other creative things all those years with exception of few dedicated totally to my children. I had personal exhibition in Germany and performed multiple commissions: paintings in my personal style, murals and copies; still life, landscape and portrait (normal size and miniature). In last years I studied decorative arts in studio in St. Petersburg and ceramics in Toronto. I’m also familiar with computer graphics (Adobe Photoshop, Corel Draw, Painter) but I think that stones and metals are more endurable than sequences of 0’s and 1’s on a hard drive, and the glow of glass is more appealing to me than a computer screen.
When and why did you begin creating your jewelry/art? I was experimenting a lot with wire in my childhood and even learned from science magazine how to make sophisticated chains from wire. The very first piece of jewelry I made in 2000 as a birthday present. However I started to make jewelry for sale only in 2007, when I bought a nice collection of beads and other materials on a garage sale. I borrowed books from library, learned some basics and went through many books on jewelry trying to find useful ideas. Everything was too simple and dull for me. I tried different styles but wasn’t satisfied. I didn’t see much contemporary jewelry then but a critical moment occurred when I saw some amazing jewelry work online done with wire wrapping. I was inspired to try wire wrapping myself. But I didn’t want to copy somebody else’s design and methods except the very basics. So I spent few weeks, trying to figure out my own ways of expression. It looks like I’ve succeeded.
What do you make? My desire to create a miniature sculpture dictates my choice: mostly necklaces and pendants – they give me more freedom of expression, but I would like to try bracelets and earrings sometime too.
What materials and methods do you use? I work with kinds of beads, gemstones and glass stones, fresh water pearls, Swarovsky crystals, non-tarnished silver, gunmetal, copper, bronze and brass wire and acrylic coated wire made of stainless steel or copper. I learned basic wire wrapping techniques from the internet and I also invented my own, probably one of a kind techniques. My grandmother taught me how to sew, knit, and needlepoint and in my wirework I use those techniques too. Usually I make plenty of fast sketches, and then choose very best of them and work on them more painstakingly. Each morning I go through my drawings to find out which one appeals to me most today. Then I choose color combination and materials. But real pieces look very different from the sketch and many nice ideas don’t work in a particular material. I’m always ready to return to last successful point in my work and redo all over again. However the pure esthetical idea is so strong sometimes that it dictates shape, materials and everything. In that case it’s less likely that I will redo anything in my work because I move forward more intuitively and make decisions on the way. I love wire wrapping because it gives freedom to try any new idea immediately and for the possibility for making significant changes even in a completed piece if I don’t like something in my design. I have changed my first wire wrapping piece four times and I was proud when it was accepted together with other finest pieces to a jewelry store. Fortunately I got more experienced with my methods and I don’t have to change my pieces that much any more. When design is finished I put my piece on display and look on it for hours, sometimes for days and check my work not only from esthetical but also from engineering point of view. Even my most sophisticated pieces should sit comfortably and nicely, not only on still mannequin but on live and moving person, they should survive reasonable amount of pressure and stretch, occasional fall, sometimes careless storage, transportation and few minutes in a small child’s hands.
Where do your design inspirations come from? My biggest inspiration comes from beauty of nature itself. But we need a material language to express our feelings. Some childhood experiences made a lasting impression on me. My mother has very nice Czech jewelry (brass and enamel with miniature paintings on it). My uncle was an archeologist and I, as a child, saw his catalogue of golden objects found in Scythian burial mounds. Also in my childhood I visited amazing exhibition of treasures from Tutankhamun tomb. And all those impressions influenced my taste. I love medieval paintings, The Fauves, Vermeer, Grunewald, Max Ernst, Alfonse Mucha, Gustav Klimt, and Micheal Pacher. Pollock has also influenced me a lot, as well our best friends – painters inspired by him too. Art Nouveau drawings give me a lot of inspiration even more than art nouveau jewelry itself. I love work of Kandinsky and very little known in western world but amazing russian painter Filonov. My husband is my permanent source of inspiration – he sets sort of standard, particular level for me. He taught me to look critically on my work. But the last push of inspiration to start a wire wrapping I get from jewelry I saw from artists on the Deviant Art website.
What is your best working environment/where is your studio? I work in silence of my home when the kids are in school. We always combined studio and living space at home and priority is usually given to the studio. Fortunately wire wrapping is not as messy as ceramics for example.
Price range: $20-200
Tell us a little about one of your favorite creations: “Elegance” That piece was created without any sketch, on pure inspiration. It combines my admiration for a beauty of floral forms, stone textures and the shine of silver.
Anything else you wish to add? I’m grateful for existence of websites such as World Artisan Gems and Deviant Art. I’m really cut off from the outer world now and they give me so much needed information, inspiration, encouragement and contact with other artists. And thank you very much for choosing me for an interview.