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From Junk Jewelry To Art Jewelry

From Junk Jewelry to Art Jewelry

June 2019

I am so happy. I never thought that I could devote my time, energy and passion to art the way I’m doing now. And not art in general, but “art jewelry”.  Here is a short story on my background and Tamagit’s origin:

 

I was born in Barcelona 44 years ago and I write since I’m able to write; this means, I write for 40 years now. Although my mother tongue is Catalan and my “father tongue” is Spanish, I also write in English… hopefully native speakers will forgive me for doing so… As a child, I used to keep a diary for a long time. I loved to write in it every day. In my diaries I confessed all my secrets, I wrote poems, songs, poetic texts about love and sadness. When I grew up and started studying literature at school and afterwards at college, I realised that apart from writing myself, I really loved to read into real writers or artists’ personal papers: Franz Kafka’s private or autobiographical texts, Virginia Woolf diaries, Katherine Mansfield and Susan Sontag personal writings, Frida Kahlo and Salvador Dalí 1st person private texts…. and a very long etcetera.

But why diaries or private writings? Well, I have an intimate connection to art and this is exactly the reason why I ended up (non-orthodoxically) loving and wanting to learn more and more about art jewelry.


Literature. Art. Intimate connection. But why jewels?

While living in The Netherlands every time I used to travel to remote places (and I did so widely), I usedto buy a piece of jewelry. It ranged from a big silver necklace from India, a deep blue plastic bracelet from Malawi, a huge weird turquoise ring from Nepal to an ethnic looking pendant from Panama, etc etc… After many years I managed to “collect” a big amount of junk that hardly had any material value but it had an immense emotional value as it connected me to people, places and moments I did not want to forget. And more importantly, every time I wore one of those jewels, I felt so powerful and different. No brands, no standard accessories. Those jewels always expected questions such as: “Wow! Where is that from? Or.. Where did you buy this? Or… what is it made of?” And then I could tell stories of my adventures adding to it a bit of fiction to make it even more extraordinary.

To me the most important thing of all this was that through buying and wearing jewelry I was able to stop the time and fix a moment, a face, an experience. It also invited me to reflect on other cultures and circumstances, on life and human beings’ existence, on MY own circumstances and transformations. Through jewelry I realised that I was writing my memories or autobiography.

 

After many years of living in Holland working in Higher education and travelling and collecting jewels among other activities, I experienced the toughest time of my life. I was just 31 years old back then and suddenly too many things happened to me. Or just “happened”. I decided to move back to Barcelona. But… what would I take “with me” apart from my countless intangible experiences? My son, of course, who is and will always be my big love. And what else? Well, I decided to take with me precious things: photographs, my antique pieces of furniture and objects, books, clothes and of course all my junk jewelry. In that precise moment I realised that all that cheap (and some not so cheap) pieces of jewelry meant too much to me. Those jewels had been shaping me as the woman I was beginning to be.

Back in Barcelona I tried and still trying very hard to find my place. And although I am absolutely in love with my city, I miss being from nowhere. My chaotic weird jewels are fragments of who I am…. I guess of who many of us are. And … in that evolution and self-re-cognition process I discovered the existence of a different type of jewelry called “art jewelry” (or contemporary jewelry or author jewelry). I discovered art jewelry precisely in my city, in Barcelona. In each piece of art jewelry I can connect my knowledge and passion for literature, philosophy, history, art, design, culture and my most inner feelings, too.

 

Karim Oukid, an extraordinary jeweller and professor at Escola Massana, was the first and most important person who encouraged me to follow this path of identity and self-discovery through art jewelry. I can say now that thanks to a short conversation I had with him over four years ago, I decided to start researching, reading and documenting myself about this “new type of jewelry” that connected me to my beautiful “junk” jewels but was pointing towards a new, more sophisticated and cultivated or mature “me”.  This “new“ art jewelry  allowed me to get to know artists who are critical and able to express concepts, emotions and thoughts trough wearableart. So slowly and safely this is how my love for “junk” jewelry started to slightly undergo an important transformation.

 

So how did I proceed? Well, in order to fix thoughts and start sharing my discoveries, at that time I started a wordpress blog which is now been transformed into a beautiful project called TAMAGIT (which means “identity” in tamazigh language; Karim’s native language).  I invite you to have a look at our website and share your thoughts with us.

 

In coming newsletters, we will be writing about artists, exhibitions, events… but we will do it in a personal way, in an intimate manner. Even though Tamagit now is not only “me”, we want it to be a personal and special project; an open exchange interface, a gallery of unique art jewels, a consulting and co-creation platform…. And all this and much more thanks to my old yet forever present “junk jewelry”.

 

Marta Tamagit

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