Designer of the Month: Tamara Zecevic

Trained goldsmith and jewellery tutor Tamara works mostly with use silver and enamel to create her designs, although is open to using a wide variety of other materials when making conceptual jewellery pieces. Read on to learn more about her work, the advice she would give to those who are new to the industry and more.

Let us know a bit about yourself, detailing your background, study and training in the jewellery making industry.

I am a trained goldsmith and jewellery artist born and living in Serbia. Until my thirties, I was a manager and marketing specialist, and even before that I was just a girl fascinated with many forms of art, so in a way being jewellery artist for these last eight years is going back to my roots.

There is one saying in my country, “craft is learned by stilling”, meaning that you can only learn craft by watching some artisan at work. I can agree partially with it. In my case, I gained a great basis at Polytechnic school from my mentor, and the rest was courage to struggle with all the crazy ideas I have and implement them in my work.

Tamara Zecevic ring

Photographer: Jelena Damjanovic

Tell us about your work – are there any particular materials or techniques that you favour?

In a few words, I feel like a kid in a store. Out there are such wonderful choices of materials, techniques and possibilities.  At the moment I am working mostly with silver and enamel, and even though they are rather conventional materials I try to use them in an unconventional way. In my conceptual jewellery, I use a variety of materials and every material I use demands investigation of possible ways to transform it into the design.

How would you best describe your design style?

Maybe the best description of my work I got from the female audience. They say that all my pieces, even conceptual ones, are very feminine and poetic.  I must confess, poetry was one of the forms of art I was interested in.

As a jewellery maker, where do you like to get your inspiration from for your pieces?

In a way, there is a constant feeling that I am behind with the schedule. Yes, artists do have schedules. Mine is one large notebook full of new projects and ideas waiting to come alive. Most of the new ideas I get when I am in transportation or when doing something not so inspiring; obligatory things. So if you ever see me with the “out of here” look in my eyes, you will know a new project is being born.

Tamara Zecevic necklace

Photographer: Jelena Damjanovic

Do you have a piece that you have made which you favour or are particularly proud of?

It will always be my next piece. However, many give me a big headache when I make them and I feel great joy when they were finished.

What is the one item in your jewellery making workshop that you could not live without?

As my mentor said to me, the two most important tools in every workshop are a jewellery saw and a torch. I agree. Of course, the longer as you work, the more tools you need.

What upcoming trends do you see being popular soon?

Being a jewellery artist, I am happy to see that the wider audience is more interested in conceptual jewellery and unusual materials and techniques. These works of art are something that can be worn (every day), that can be proudly shown and that speaks much more about its owner than traditional ones.

Tamara Zecevic brooch

Photographer: Jelena Damjanovic

What is the most valuable lesson you have learnt from your time in the jewellery making industry?

If you believe in yourself, you have one great supporter and there are no limits to what can you achieve. Recently I had a conversation with a person who worked as a goldsmith for forty years. He said “don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Whenever I made a mistake, I have learnt so much. Mistakes are important!”

Do you have any particular advice that you would give to up and coming jewellery designers, or someone interested in getting into jewellery making?

Next to my art, I work as a teacher of jewellery techniques. To all my students I give a few pieces of important advice: to try different techniques – one of them will be right for them, to enjoy working – fun is an important component in every good piece, and to learn the basics so that they could be free creating. So in all, be confident, be brave with your craft and you’ll do well!

…and finally, time for a bit of fun in our quick-fire round! Tell us your favourite…

…colour – this depends on my mood, time of year and the project I am working on

…food – all

…place – home

…city – Belgrade, Firenze

…animal – dog

Tamara Zecevic logo

For more details on Tamara’s work, you can visit her website, or feel free to check out her Facebook page or her Instagram page.

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