Through the series Creativity Chronicles, we catch a behind-the-scenes glimpse behind the work and vision of the creatives that together shape the collective and what it represents.
Gioia Clavenzani and Ivano Ghinelli are the co-founders of JAD Jewellery. I took a peek into their creative process and uncovered what drives these two intrepid creativepreneurs, whose jewellery is inspired by and deeply connected with references to the natural world.
Tell us something about yourself, something not related to your project/design or business.
Ivano: We are a couple, besides being business partners. I love travelling, lonely places, the sea, the woods and the mountains. Modern and contemporary art as well.
Gioia: I deeply love the sea and travelling but I have a passion for archeology so, when travelling, we look for places where we can find both nature and interesting human “traces”.
When was the first time you had any idea about your project/design/company?
G.: It was in Italy; I was sharing my time between my psychotherapy studio and the partnership Ivano and I had with another goldsmith.
I: the partnership wasn’t working well. Our partner’s ideas about jewellery were more conventional than ours. We were more interested in contemporary jewellery so, when he decided to leave, we took over the partnership, completely renewed our workshop and really begun to work at our project.
Does your project/design/company have a significant name? If so, what is the meaning behind it and how did it come about?
G.: JAD stands for Jewellery Art and Design. We choose the name in Italy and it sounded great. Now I feel it’s a little megalomaniac and I prefer to use only JAD.
I.: the idea didn’t seem so megalomaniac, at the time. Not many people know that contemporary jewellery - at a certain level - is an artistic discipline by itself. With a lot of research on materials, design and concepts.
Then you must transfer the results in daily life and make jewels which are wearable. But when they have a concept behind, a meaning, people feel it.
Did you gain a formal education in creativity? What, do you feel, played an important role in your creativity?
I: No, but I almost breathe it. My father was a painter, a sculptor, and made models for the jewellery industry. My brother was a goldsmith. I began to work as a stone setter when I was 14, in Valenza, the Italian gold district and that was the beginning of my technical training.
G: Not as much as I would have liked. I switched to an art high school after three years of different studies. It was hard but I loved it, I had to recover a lot, all the artistic disciplines that I didn’t study the years before. I have always felt I would have learnt more and better if I would have had the right time for doing it.
Maybe this is the reason why, at University, I chose psychology and later became a psychotherapist. Then, fifteen years later I found myself owning a share of a small goldsmith workshop. Ivano and I met there and he taught me most of what I now know about goldsmithery.
Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I: Just looking around, anything can be inspiring. Of course, they are stimuli that we then elaborate in our own way. Usually one of us comes up with an idea and we both work on it to get to a satisfying final object or to a jewellery line.
G: If I look back to our main pieces, I have to say nature. They are raw, essential. The metal is evident, not just a material.
More recently I began to use extra-thin wires and not only solid metals. It brought me to work on jewels which are transparent and have less solid shapes. This was a whole new source of inspiration, the evanescence of our reality.
When you first started thinking about your project/design/company, did you think you would be in the place you are now? Is it where you hoped to be?
I: I couldn’t really imagine I would have been in Malta but, yes. I’m happy of where we are even if I think creativity is a journey, there still is so much I see for the future.
G: Yes, it’s completely different from what we expected then but, in some way the result is what we hoped. We moved four years ago, and we have probably achieved even more than we expected.
Have you won any awards, recognition, etc., for projects/designs?
I: One of our neckpieces has recently placed third at the Campari – 100 Negroni Art Competition. It is great as Campari is a brand well known for supporting the arts.
G: It sounds a bit vain, I know, also because I’m not a fan of social media, but I once discovered on Instagram that the MAD, the Museum of Art and Design of New York, liked some of our pieces that I love most. I felt like a kid on his birthday!
What has been the most highlighted event/milestone for you, so far?
G: Seeing that people recognise our work and understand it.
I: Yes, and being considered one of the best stone-setters on the island.
Do you still feel that same passion about your business as when you first started, or when you had the initial idea?
G: Yes, absolutely!
I: Even more. The more you go, the more you learn and discover. You see more possibilities.
What is the one thing that you want people to come away with when they see/use your design, purchase your product, or get to know of your company?
I: Recognising that there is something more in our products, that it is not another opportunity of just buying a nice object.
G: Yes, that there is a soul, an idea. In some way that they recognise our brand for something more than the visual appeal.