Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Incarcerated bodies

This is an interview I did with St. Martins 2nd year jewellery designer Olga about her work for my magazine MsX. I feel like posting it here since we just have our site domain fee paid for 2 months. I'm sure Olga's gonna be big (she's already quite big to be honest). I interviewed 2 designers for the feature, part 2 will be posted soon (in case the length makes your eyes sore) x

(click to enlarge images)

Olga Noronha, 20

Jewellery design student from Central St. Martins.

The 20-year-old Portugal-born jewellery designer Olga Noronha definitely creates erotic jewellery. Her creations are never simply ornaments or to be adorned, but are art pieces that celebrate the marriage of sturdy mechanics and delicate bodies. When these bipolar elements meet, body jewellery can never be sexier.

Olga’s work appealed to me, as it’s so highly sexually suggestive. Her works remind me of harnesses, corsets and S&M masks, with cling film tightly wrapping thighs sharing an uncanny likeness of PVC black boots. The designer has been relentlessly examining the relationship between bodies and the surroundings, both in the wearer’s and the audience’s points of view, creating illusions and portraying imaginations through lines and panels in her designs.

Olga’s collection for St.Martins’ BA jewellery show is based on the optical effect suggested by the sequence of lines. By manipulating lines and shapes, the collection illustrates the relationship between the body and the container.

‘The collection interacts, provokes sensations and anxieties leading us to incarcerate thoughts and attitudes.’ Olga says.

Olga’s journey to becoming a jewellery designer as early as the age of 6 or 7. The designer-to-be was given a wooden jewellery box filled with compartments and pliers by a neighbour. As she began to manipulate various sorts of gems and beads with wires, her first collection was created. The collection, which she named as ‘prehistoric jewels’, seemed to be a proof of her talent in jewellery design when a selection of jewellery pieces got featured in Sandra Salamony’s book 1000 Jewellery Inspirations.

Spending her teenage years in a part time jewellery school in her hometown Porto, where she learnt most of the traditional and semi contemporary jewellery techniques. The aspiring designer set foot on London and became a jewellery design student in Central St. Martins known for its conceptual and boundary-pushing domain rather than the commercial field. Olga’s parents, both expected Olga to follow their path as a doctor in order to secure a guarantee wealthy future, but the designer’s interest in jewellery has leaded her to a completely different world.

More than simply ornaments, Olga’s jewellery creates connections between bodies and raw materials.

Strangely the body jewellery pieces seemed to be celebrating the freedom of exhibiting yourself with your most unnoticed part instead of disguising and constraining. Olga’s designs emphasize and create new shapes for body contours. Olga’s work enable the bodies to speak for themselves through the use of jewellery pieces instead of the opposite. Her body jewellery, which made of silver wire recalls Sean Leane’s body jewellery piece for Alexander McQueen’s Spring/Summer 2008 collection. Yet instead of shielding the body behind a geometric frame like a painting to be worshipped, Olga portrayed the power of body. The shape of the shoulder is signified as the metal wires flow up and down according to the wearer’s silhouette, it creates a mesh for the body whist demonstrating the power of the wearer.

Constantly challenging and exploring the relationship of interactivity, Olga illustrates the relationship between ‘to see’ and ‘to be seen’. The designer is interested in the process of using her work to communicate with the wearer’s body.‘I do expect people to understand the relationship they are establishing with what they are wearing’, the designer explains.

Rather than sheer beauty, the designer is concerned about the craftsmanship and conceptual approaches in the design process, not to mention every detail of these creations. Olga’s erratically beautiful designs are so covetable that you want to cage yourself into them and have an auto-orgasmic experience.


Text and photography by Nieki
Model: Jenny Law

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