JagnaBirecka_11Listopada


I am not a contest freak. I only take part in competitions when they are not only challenging but also interesting to me and not far away from my artistic path. Designing something just to take part in one competition or another, then spending hours on making the piece, it all seems a huge waste of time to me. However, sometimes it happens that there is a competition with a theme so inspiring that I cannot help the urge to sit down and start working.

It seems I did fall for a competition theme a few weeks ago. When I saw the title “Our Polish Independence” I knew I had to come up with something. Actually, I knew I WOULD come up with something. And in fact, I have. I have come up with a necklace named “History Lesson”, the first piece in my life inspired by history. Making this piece was quite an experience, as my inspirations so far had been quite different.

Now I possibly should say how much effort and pain it has cost me to create the competition piece. The theme is kind of heavy, and translating it into the language of wearable (and very contemporary) jewelry doesn’t seem to be that easy. Well, the thing is, I am not going to say anything like that. The first stage of the project went by pretty much effortlessly, I was having great time looking for associations and connections. Later, when I got to thinking about the form, things became a little bit more complicated, but that part of the process didn’t hurt too much either. On the contrary, I was truly amusing myself designing graphical codes for certain historic events. And the fact that I had to dust the shelf with historic stuff in my head (I also threw a few new items there, by the way) has only added to the value of the project.


HistoryLesson1_blog


How has the “History Lesson” come about

On the content side is what I think ‘independence’ is. To me it is not about any particular events nor dates, it is not even about a process. In my eyes independence is an idea, so important and great that over the years it made so many people sacrifice so much, including their lives. Any efforts toward winning independence can possibly be judged in many different ways, especially if the judging takes place many years later, but the idea and the goal themselves should not be disputed at all. That’s my personal opinion, of course. Anyway, in my piece I decided to represent the idea by presenting some historic events that it had induced.

On the form side, I wanted to stick to my artistic code. My piece has to be clean, modern, as minimalistic as possible. Next to that, the piece’s message should be clear (more or less, that is. Depends on who is looking) but not intrusive. It should be symbolic but not too obvious. Elegant and sophisticated, so that it actually can be worn (and not only on the Independence Day). Not shocking, but then not too modest either. Stern, but a bit provoking at the same time. It should be possible to say more about the piece than just ‘It’s pretty’ (or that it’s not, actually). It should be making people want to touch it. It should look good not only around someone’s neck but also on a shelf (a nice stand required) or even on the wall (that means it has to be rather big).

When I got that far in my thinking the general idea of the necklace was ready. I started to work out the details of individual elements, and also to create the ones I had already designed. I had to change the concepts for a few beads while I was working but in general the character of the finished piece turned out exactly as I wanted it to be. I am really happy with this necklace, I must say. I think it’s one of my best pieces, actually. And I am especially happy with the fact that I managed to present quite a bit of the history of Poland in one piece of very modern and abstract jewelry.


 

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so, what exactly does all that mean?

There are 14 embellished beads in the piece, each of them being a symbol of an event, or a period, in the history of Poland. All of them have to do with struggles on Poland’s way to independence between the years 1791 and 1989.

So, the ideology is now all clear but I can imagine that still not everybody will be able to understand the meaning of all the elements. One of the reasons is the fact that instead of using popular symbols I decided to create my own codes. Another reason is quite obvious, not many people (except for the Poles) learn about the history of Poland. You will find all the explanations below and I hope you will find them interesting.


"History Lesson" necklace - explaining the symbols


HistoryLesson4_blog


 

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20 thoughts on “history of Poland in a (nutshell) necklace

  • November 11, 2015 at 11:23
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    What a wonderful piece of jewelry!
    It’s very interesting to read about the intense process of formation and get to know what the artists thoughts was during this process!

    Reply
    • November 12, 2015 at 15:33
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      Thanks, Karin 🙂
      I’m really glad you found the post interesting 🙂

      Reply
  • November 12, 2015 at 09:56
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    I am glad you had the urge to do something for this contest. And what a something!!!!!! You managed to have everything in this outstanding piece keeping your modern unique contemporary style.
    I am glad you are taking us through the thinking and making process along with the information which individual bead means what historical period. …. and I love the photos, especially #3.

    Reply
    • November 12, 2015 at 15:35
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      It is such a pleasure reading such comments as yours, Eva! Thank you so much!

      Reply
  • November 12, 2015 at 10:45
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    Wow. When I first saw the necklace it evoked both the “film noir” from Hollywood in the 40’s and something super futuristic at the same time. And now that I know all the thought process behind it, it completely makes sense. Well done!

    Reply
  • November 12, 2015 at 15:28
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    Beautiful necklace! I love this type of jewelry, that has much more sense than just a pretty thing hanging on your neck!
    I find it very interesting and it’s a cool way to learn something new! I hope you will win the contest Jagna!

    Reply
    • November 12, 2015 at 15:39
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      Yes, I also prefer when there is more to things than just being pretty. Such attitude has a downside, though… It is so much easier to make something just pretty, you know. One can be more productive 😉 But then, art is not about the quantity, is it?

      Reply
  • November 14, 2015 at 11:49
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    Quite fascinating idea!
    I think with competitions, it’s always when you like the theme that you participate. As teh theme challenges you to get out of your ways.
    I love the concept and all the explanations behind, and it’s a beautiful artwork.

    Reply
  • November 18, 2015 at 18:15
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    Simply put, it is perfect!

    Reply
  • November 18, 2015 at 21:07
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    Jagna, what a beautiful piece and a story behind its creation.

    Reply

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