Another in our series of interviews with SquarePeg tenants by volunteer Elena Sorensen
SquarePeg: Who or what first inspired you to create jewellery and why do you choose to work with non-traditional materials like glass?
Maija Frankovich: I find this question hard to answer because there are a lot of different factors. My father would take me to his friend’s house who was an art dealer, and he would have these huge metal sculptures I really loved by English sculptor, Kevin Norton. I was always impressed by the way the sheets of metal were joined together and the expressive movement of his work. I’m mostly inspired by larger scale art works like Bauhaus artist, Marianne Brandt’s tea pots than other jewellers and jewellery. My use of non-traditional materials came from a project I did at COFA where we had to choose a contemporary jeweller and make a work based on their style. I chose Blanche Tilden. Tilden works combine glass and metal and I like the way it references modern architecture in her work. Sometimes I think metal looks a bit boring by itself too.
SP: What propels you forward within your discipline?
MF: For me it’s really important to see people wearing my work which is why I like to do my Zuku line. It’s less gallery work and more everyday wearable pieces. I don’t think there’s much point having a piece get dusty in the gallery when people could be out there wearing it on their bodies.
SP: You work in a collaborative jewellery studio space, SquarePeg Studios. What is a day in the studio like for you and does working in a shared, creative environment influence your work?
MF: For me the best part about working at SquarePeg Studios is having people around me that are in similar points of their career to share resources, push each other to approach galleries and stockists. We push each other further in our practice because we support each other in that way.
SP: What does making look like for you? Do you have any rituals or habits that help your creative process?
MF: When I’m designing I like to play around with making shapes and mocking up designs. I never really draw – I hate drawing. I draw with wire and take photos of shapes I like.
SP: You have stated your creative process is sparked by an interesting observation or analysis of human behaviour. Tell us what role this plays within the development of your pieces.
MF: It basically functions as a kind of guide I can come back to. I like to imagine a personality to the piece. I imagine it as a person. That is more relevant to my gallery exhibition pieces.
SP: You have just finished a graduate residency program at SquarePeg. Has that experience changed your practice?
MF: It’s been really beneficial for my practice. It has allowed me to break out of the kind of conceptual thinking promoted at TAFE and University. I’m freed from working conceptually and can focus more on the commercial side, functionality and wearability.
SP: You recently had a stall at the Adorned market where you are selling your new line Zuku. How is the Zuku line different from your exhibition works?
MF: It has more of an emphasis on fashion and lets me collaborate with photographers and stylists I know and make it more of a fashion line.
SP: What advice do you have for students entering the field of jewellery?
MF: Be open about what jewellery can be. Don’t be restricted by the traditional definition of jewellery and make what you want to make not what the teacher wants you to make.