Hello everybody. Today I’d like to introduce you to Dmitryi Polyakov, an amazing artist who makes unique jewelry, full of colours and details.
Dmitriy Polyakov, photo by Artem Portnoy
Tell us a bit about yourself Dmitriy. When did you know a career in making jewelry was for you?
In the early 90’s I came to USA from the Republic of Georgia. I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, where I studied Graphic Arts and Sculpture. In the USA, I worked in Mosaic Art and a variety of design disciplines. Now an artist with 23+ years of professional experience in decorative arts, design, advertising, graphic and web design. More than 5 years ago I decided to focus on jewelry design using old traditions and techniques of silver and gold Cloisonné enamel jewelry.
„Galaxy Collection” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov Galaxy Series Pendants Hand fabricated; Cloisonne Enamel, 925 Silver; Dimensions: 5cm (2 inches) in height
„Luminus Collection” Cloisonné enamel pendants in engraved silver encrusted with natural zircon stones. (Pendants height with the bail approximately: 2.8 – 4cm; pendant width up to: 3.5cm) All designs are one of a kind. Each jewelry piece was carefully handcrafted using the ancient, unique, and traditional Cloisonné enameling techniques.
Looks like when making jewelry, you begin with a basic design. I’ve seen that some of your works are based on some paintings. Where are these paintings from?
I draw inspiration from a wide range of art disciplines such as mosaics, stained glass and painting. I get inspired by color themes and patterns of paintings and graphic works by such renowned artists as Kandinsky, Klee and Miró.
„Vita Small Gilded” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov Cloisonné enamel pendant in gold-plated sterling silver. (pendant height: 3.5cm; pendant width: 2.5cm) One of a kind. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver Quirky and colorful design inspired by the wonderful world only visible under the microscope.
„Hummingbird Collection” An elegant design full of life and grace. Hummingbird is considered a powerful symbol of life and joy. Because hummingbirds do not simply flap their wings up and down, but instead move them in the pattern of the infinity symbol, or a figure eight, they are often thought to symbolize eternity and everlasting life. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver Dimensions: 4.2cm (1 1/2 inches) in length
Do you create the design by yourself or you also reproduce other’s drawings in your jewelry?
The idea was to transfer any figurative or decorative line drawing, painting or design into a colorful piece of jewelry using unique abilities of Cloisonné technique. I believe I’ve managed to breathe new life into this ancient technique, which provides the artist with a unique ability to reproduce any drawing or design in jewelry.
„Concentric NYC Collection” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov Presenting a new jewelry collection with a deceptively simple, yet colorfully arresting, design – inspired by the Vasily Kandinsky’s “Concentric Circles Colors Study” painting. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver
„Seven Pointed Star Pendant” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver
The designs on your pendants, earrings and bracelets are absolutely amazing. In fact this kind of jewelry makes you a lot different from others in your field. Tell us how you got to this great idea.
Thank you for your compliments. It all began as a way of capturing the spontaneous creative energy of children’s art.
I collaborated with kids and their parents to transfer unique children’s artworks into timeless family heirlooms. These custom made pieces embody children’s free imagination and unique vision. I developed new techniques to preserve children’s original art by translating their drawings into designs for handcrafted cloisonné enamel jewelry. These kinds of projects were executed under our custom design brand name Awked (Art With Kids) Design.
„MERMAID Rings” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov Awked design comp(top) Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver Gem diameter: 2cm (3/4 inches) Private collection / 2010
Cloisonné enameling process
„MY WHOLE FAMILY Pendant” for Matisyahu
When I became more comfortable with the technique, I started to work on our personal brand designs called DIMONUS, which eventually started to get noticed and receive design awards.
What materials do you use in making the jewelry and where do you work?
In short about our process…
Enamel (glass) is crushed to a powder somewhat finer than granulated sugar. Fine silver or 24K gold fine ribbons of wire are placed onto base surface and welded to hold their position. After the wires are fired in place thin layers of colored enamel are packed into each cell using a fine sable brush or special tools and then fired in a special oven called kiln at 1475 degrees Fahrenheit for 3 minutes. This process is repeated until the enamel or melted glass reaches the top of the wires. The beautiful depth in the enamel piece is created by blending and shading the enamels of differed transparencies and from the repeated firings. As many as 20 firings can go into each piece. Once the enameling process is complete, the enameled piece is polished and detailed.
„Red Sun Collection” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov An exotic flower or maybe the eye of the red sun hiding behind a spider’s net, this series is inspired by Joan Miró whose work has been interpreted as Surrealism, a sandbox for the subconscious mind and a re-creation of the childlike. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver
„Calaveras de Azúcar Collection” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov This pendant jewelry collection reflects the folk art style of big happy smiles with festive colorfulness and sparkly adornments and is inspired by the art of Calavera during Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). It represents a celebration of life and the memories of loved ones now gone. Let this amulet ward you against harm and serve as a bittersweet reminder of the finite and precious quality of life, which is all the more reason for finding joy in your everyday moments. All our wearable art pieces are one-of-a-kind, and handmade from scratch. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver
Do you have your own workshop?
I work in my design studio in New Jersey, with several of my associates in a few locations throughout the world.
What’s your favorite part of the job?
Conceptualizing and designing every new piece, and receiving positive feedback from my clients is pure happiness.
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned, and would pass along to others just getting in your field?
Don’t get into this industry unless you are passionate about it and you are sure that you have something to contribute.
„Awked’s SAD ME Pendant” was especially designed and handcrafted for Pasha Setrova – a model and an inspiring artist/sculptor. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver Dimensions: 5.5cm (2.16 inches) in height © Adaptation design by Dmitriy Polyakov © Photography by Yulya Osina-Fridman aka Yof
By the way, do you give master classes?
I would consider teaching a master design class to highly dedicated professionals.
What are your hobbies or non work-related activities?
Live model drawing and free hand sketching are my passion. My other hobbies are antique studying and collecting, biking and hiking with my wife and kids.
What are the biggest challenges jeweler artists have to face?
Generating fresh ideas which have never been used in jewelry before… Cross-discipline thinking, I believe, is the only thing that might produce interesting results.
Does everyone look better with jewelry? 🙂
Everyone looks better bedazzled!☺
„Goldfish Collection” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov Design full of powerful symbolism and high energy. The fish traditionally recognized for their ability of transforming the observer into otherworldly states of perception and goldfish in particular considered the symbol of wealth and prosperity, joined here in a circle which also embodies spiritual energy as well as unity and inclusion. Makes a great gift for the woman of your life, to symbolize your mutual love and unity. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver
„Butterfly Collection” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov A childlike and guileless design that speaks of innocence and dreams not tainted by pretentiousness and cynicism. Make this butterfly your guardian angel. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver
What is one thing that anyone can do to be their most beautiful selves?
Always smile, don’t be too serious about yourself or your craft, be yourself, and accessorize just with the items that you truly love.
What was the biggest success in your career?
I don’t think I’ve had my biggest success quite yet ☺ I guess the biggest success is to surround yourself with like-minded talented people, to create a product which people desire and love, and to turn your ideas into business success.
Do you have any exhibitions? Do you participate in any jewels fairs? If yes, where?
I keep abreast of new trends and designs in the jewelry industry. I have taken part in many private jewelry shows and fairs but prefer online showcases and competitions.
„Crane Song Pendant” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov A design filled with romance and magic. The Crane may conceivably be the oldest bird on earth; there is fossil proof that they existed over 60 million years ago. Greek and Roman myths tended to portray the dance of cranes as a love of joy and a celebration of life. The crane was usually considered to be a bird of Apollo, the Sun god, who heralded in spring and light. Throughout all of Asia, the crane has been a symbol of happiness and eternal youth. In Japanese, Chinese, and Korean tradition, cranes stand for good fortune and longevity because of its fabled life span of a thousand years. Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver Diameter: 5cm (2 inches)
„Evil Eye Bracelet” © Design by Dmitriy Polyakov Hand fabricated; Cloisonné Enamel, 925 Silver Section diameter: 2cm (3/4 inches)
Do you wear and | or buy handmade things? Why?
I love men’s jewelry but the only article I really need to wear is my wedding ring ☺ I support handmade craftsmen and have my favorite jewelry designers friends, whose jewelry I would love to wear.
Do you have a message for people who want to start a career in making jewels? Any tips or advices?
You have to come up with your own vision. It’s such a hard industry to flourish in unless you stand out. Also, in today’s high-tech world, it’s important to transfer the designer’s physical touch to a wearable personal jewelry. That’s why it’s my goal to make handmade jewelry that people feel especially attached to.
Thank you Dmitryi. I wish you all the best and may all your projects be successful.
Interview by Gaby Galamaga