"Creative Studio" with Marina and Elena from Atelier "Siena": The imperfection of the human touch gives its own positive energy to every work

Pieces of jewelry from the "Siena" atelier / Photo: Private archive

"In recent years, a culture of wearing and using products that are handmade by local artisans and craftsmen has been created. Uniqueness and creativity are enjoyed more and more, instead of serial machine production," says Elena from the Siena atelier.

Creative skills are something that, over time, are built with a lot of love and attention. However, there is an unwritten rule that the talent for art is passed down from generation to generation.

Such is the story of Marina и Elena Jaksic, mother and daughter from Skopje, who opened it together atelier "sienna". We can often see their unique pieces of jewelry at numerous creative bazaars throughout Macedonia, where these two talented ladies always welcome interested buyers with a big smile.

Marina and Elena, when was your love for art and creative work born?

Marina: Ever since my school days I have had a love for creating and I paid a lot of attention to details, it was something that fulfilled me a lot. As I grew up, I found myself involved in many creative activities such as designing clothes, sewing, tailoring, making art paintings on canvas and glass and many other things. In 1987, I learned the secrets of painting from professors Djoko Matevski and Cane Jankulovski. I participated in many group and solo exhibitions with my paintings. But the crucial thing for me to start making jewelry was the visit to the filigree course at the Chamber of Crafts in 2015. Since then, a new creative world has opened up to me because the technique itself allows countless combinations.

Elena: I was born into an artistic family, where I was drawn into the world of creativity through play from an early age. Different materials, colors and techniques were part of my everyday life and I was constantly observing and learning something new. I found myself a lot in the game with colors, but also in the realistic drawing. Therefore, it was natural for me to enroll in the State High School for Art and Design "Lazar Lichenoski" in the department of painting, and then in the Faculty of Fine Arts. The very process of creating a work, from start to finish, is a challenge that I enjoy.

Photo: Private archive

How did you come up with the idea to open the Sienna atelier?

Elena: The creation of the Siena atelier happened very naturally and spontaneously. While I was studying the fourth year at the Faculty of Fine Arts, I started studying the technique of epoxy resin, and then from 2017 I started making jewelry in this technique as a hobby. From then on, the hobby grew into something more and I started creating under the name Atelier "Siena". The pieces of jewelry are hand-painted and then covered with epoxy resin, and with this I found the application of painting in everyday objects.

In 2022, together with my mother, who is a filigree artist, we decided to create a joint collection of silver jewelry. I used the experience of making jewelry from epoxy resin to make modern designs, which will be made in a traditional technique such as filigree. Marina, my mother, translated my designs into beautiful pieces of silver plate jewelry combined with filigree, engraving and semi-precious stones. She left her mark with her style of expression, where the imperfection of the human touch gives its own positive energy and tells a story.

Photo: Private archive

Filigree is a wonderful jewelry making technique, and you can find many such pieces in your atelier. What does the manufacturing process look like and how long does it take you to make, for example, some earrings?

Marina: The filigree is made of silver wire in different thicknesses. By joining the wire, various shapes are made, which are then filled with thinner, twisted pieces of wire. To combine it all in one product, a lighter is used. After burning, it is necessary to clean and polish the piece of jewelry well, and it gives a mint luster, which is characteristic of silver. The production time depends on the complexity of the jewelry and ranges from one to two days.

Photo: Private archive

Epoxy resin jewelry is increasingly popular among young people. Where do you find the inspiration for the patterns and do the buyers themselves have suggestions?

Elena: I mostly find inspiration in nature. I enjoy frequent walks in the mountains, where my new ideas are born. In addition to being inspired by the many types of plants, flowers, trees, animals and birds, nature walks in the fresh air clear the mind and crystallize ideas that I have already been working on for a long time. The most common motifs I use are animals, plants and insects that are found in our forests, but also in the city. But I always leave room for imagination and introduce something new in the designs, and I also like to experiment with geometric shapes. However, the idea is only a small and initial part of the whole process of making, and it changes and grows in each subsequent step. I do not make custom jewelry, but I do sometimes receive suggestions from buyers.

Photo: Private archive

Is there a creative technique you'd like to perfect in the future?

Marina: The creative technique I would like to perfect is setting cabochons in different shapes and styles, such as natural stones, crystals, zircons, pearls and more. That is why my next goal is to visit such a course.

Photo: Private archive

According to your experience, how much are handmade products appreciated in our country? And is it possible to live with creative work?

Elena: In Macedonia, handmade products are valued. In recent years, a culture of wearing and using products that are handmade by local artisans and craftsmen has been created. More and more, uniqueness and creativity are enjoyed, instead of mass machine production. It is difficult to say whether you can make a living from creative work because it depends on many factors, but with persistence and a great desire for work, you can certainly succeed and make a living from it.

Photo: Private archive

What is your advice to young creatives who would like to open their own business similar to Atelier Sienna?

Marina: I would recommend everyone who feels a desire to create and wants to create new things to follow their dream because luck follows the brave!

Marina and Elena will present two of her creations to two readers of "Sloboden Pechat".

If you liked their story and want to receive a unique piece of jewelry, sign up at the email address [email protected], marked "For a gift", where you will send us your personal data – name, surname, telephone number and residential address.

Good luck!

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