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Interview with Dominika Durtan

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Interview with Dominika Durtan

Dominika Durtan
Artist and designer born in Poland, she is influenced by many ethnic cultures living in the north-east region of Poland called Masuria, where she was raised. The beauty of local nature has inspired many of her works. During her childhood she absorbed colors, shapes, smells and sounds of that region, which she expresses in her art. 
-What is the name of your brand and what's the meaning behind it?
I’m working on my signature pieces under my own name: Dominika Durtan (exhibited at the Artistar in 2019) as well as under an artistic alias: Izabela Chan (exhibited at Artistar in 2018). The second one is a combination of my middle name (Izabela) and my husband’s last name(Chan). Both “brands” are focused on sculptural jewellery but they represent different styles of design. I showcase more simplified forms under name Izabela and more complex designs under Dominika Durtan.
- Where do you take inspiration from when you start creating a new collection?
Inspiration is everywhere. But I must admit that even after hopscotching the world for few years (I was living and working on three different continents: Europe, Middle East and North America during last decade) I still like to come back to my roots in rural Poland. I grew up in a three generation household in a north east region of Poland. It’s a “region of thousand” lakes called Mazury. As a child I was surrounded by nature and manual crafts. My grandfather owned apiary with dozens of beehives, he was also a black smith and had a woodworking workshop. In those surroundings I picked up a respect for hard work and understanding of tools and various materials. Since early age I had an interest for sculpture and painting. I learned a lot about the folk artists and then continued my studies in the Academy of Fine Art in Lódz, where I acquired Master of Art diploma. I believe that those are the most influential stages in building my artistic sensitivity. I’m searching to express those combined experiences in my current work as a jeweller in training.
- What kind of work or material or technique do you prefer to use? 
When it comes to the materials I’m a traditionalist. I love them natural: wood, stone and of course metals. Amongst my preffereed I must list: ebony, nephrite jade, copper and, new favourite of mine, platinum. Since I personally work on my pieces it is important to me how they feel in my hands, how they behave when being processed. I’m also very much into the traditional techniques of melting metals and carving wood. One of my recent discoveries is lapidary art which I picked up during my trip to Sri Lanka’s city of gems: Ratnapura. I learned there faceting gems from the local sapphire polishers. It was an amazing experience which opened up another dimension in my practice.
- Three words with which you would describe the Artistar Jewels project.
Challenging, inspiring and exciting. As a “newbie” to the jewellery making I found my participation in the Artistar exhibition to be a great challenge. I had to overcome my hesitation of exhibiting my designs. In the end it turned out to be a solid milestone in my development. Each exhibition I participated in (2018 and 2019) thought me a valuable lesson and brought unexpected outcomes. After first exhibition my piece, done under creative alias Izabela Chan, was chosen to travel to Brussels and Athens. After second exhibition, I was contacted by a Parisian gallery. It’s absolutely exciting to embark on such a journey!
- Have you been fascinated by any particular creation you saw in the Artistar jewels 2019 edition? 
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to attend the exhibition this year in person. But I keep the Artistar book close and frequently browse through the marvelous designs of my fellow participants. I’m very happy to be amongst them!
- What were the opportunities that most pushed you to participate in the event? 
The international exposure was certainly the most drawing factor for me. The opportunities provided by participating galleries were very appealing. I love to challenge myself and with such an event I found it to be the most suitable testing ground of my jewellery creation.
- What do you think about the upcoming Milano Jewelry Week? Do you think Milano needed it?
I think it’s absolutely brilliant idea! The jewellery industry is rapidly changing with the new technologies and attitudes. The exponential growth of contemporary jewellery as a field of art is also significant. I think the Milano Jewelry Week has a chance to become great platform to communicate those tendencies to the wide audience. I’m looking forward to follow the future events. Good luck!

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