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Rossella Ugolini – Dance of Shapes
Hello folks, now coming to you with a jewellery artisan Rossella Ugolini from Rome. Do you believe in a first impression? I do. My first impression of Rossella was ‘gracefulness’. As I got to know her more, visited her atelier, watched her create jewellery, I was convinced of my first impression. Gracefulness it was!
Talking with her about her beloved city of Rome, handcarft, precision, interpretation of forms etc. is a delight. Leaving here our talk with her for you to have a glimpse into the work of an artisan goldsmith and jewellery designer. She has an advice on how to wear jewellery, don’t miss it, keep reading. Don’t forget to check out her site for her great pieces.
When did you discover your passion for jewellery?
First, I discovered my passion for manual work with small objects. My father was an engineer mechanic. He used to fix things at home and would make me unthread the electrical wires with a strange twister. I found it very entertaining as I could bend and give shape to these tiny and shiny electrical copper wires. Then I was a little girl, about ten years old. For me it was a game. That is how I discovered my passion for manual work.
It was during the high school years of an artistic high school that I realized jewellery was the closest thing to my manual skills. It involved working with small and colorful details. I finished the high school little earlier at about sixteen and a half so I used this chance to go to goldsmith workshops to learn. Gradually started to buy my own equipment while I was studying at the Academy of Fine Arts. I used to study, work at home in the evenings and keep learning from goldsmiths in their laboratories at every chance I had. Still in my mind there is that vivid image of me sitting next to them in silence and watch them working. They smoked heavily. Sometimes they would talk to me and explain things. That is how, I slowly started to make my own jewellery too.
I consider myself a very lucky person. I’ve managed to do what I like to do and I do what I like every day with all the problems that exist at work. I think those who work in craftswork are satisfied people anyway. So if anyone has such passion, I would encourage to pursue it even as a side job as it will bring immense amount of joy.
Where do you draw your inspirations from?
Surely, from the city of Rome. I grew up here surrounded by the Baroque architecture, beautiful forms, and the colors of Rome. Translating my thoughts, emotions into form is what it is about. Movement of dance is a form. When I already have a form in my mind I transform it onto material. That’s why many of my collections have names, for example, the collection of Castle. When I travelled to Puglia, I visited the Castel del Monte. It was a magnificent octagonal castle, an overwhelming structure. It had spelled me so much that I started to study its plan, the colors, its surroundings and thus the Castle collection was born.
This is as a natural process, as if a stroke of lightening, or an image, constantly happening in my mind. I see something that I like or inspires me, the next thing I know is it gets interpreted into a jewel.
Explain us the process of creating a jewellery.
The first step is drawing a sketch. Normally, that sketch is what corresponds to the original idea the most, it is more immediate. Then I elaborate the drawing with precision to the exact size. Jewellery should be comfortable and wearable, the parameters are important. Equally important is the technique – how to shape a ring that sits comfortably or form an earring that is not too heavy. These are technical parts of the process.
How long does it take to make a jewellery, let’s say a ring?
It’s difficult to say. If I’m happy with my idea and drawing, it takes at least two weeks. A lot depends on whether it is a one-piece item or there are several pieces to be assembled. The last step is setting the stone, and this is a whole another process.
What materials do you use?
I like working with gold. It is flexible, ductile and shapes come out beautifully. Also silver. With silver I make collections that are more contemporary. Because it is possible to bronze it and give a more rock look. Bronze and copper are not my preferred metals, they are difficult to work with. However, the material is secondary. Its choice depends from the preciousness of what I make.
Who wears Rossella Ugolini?
Rossella Ugolini’s woman is a woman who surely chooses the jewellery for herself. She is a woman of attitude, role and character. She already has traditional jewellery and wants something different, personalized and unique. We may design the jewellery together just for that person, so it is unique.
The age of the woman?
I have two categories of women for whom I design. The women in their 40s, who have already built their career and can afford themselves. But also, there is a young audience of 18-20 years now, who enjoy personalized jewellery. In general, this category will pick the most minimal, simple pieces from my collections. They keep coming back, they follow me on social media, ask for more maybe for fiends, or bring me their family stones to create a jewellery. Of course, also there are men who buy jewellery either for themselves let’s say cufflinks or jewellery for their partners.
Your advice to women on how to wear jewellery?
Each woman has her own face type, her own style and taste. In my opinion, you have to follow your own style, not fashion. If you wear a sweater, you don’t have to wear a jacket to put a pin on, you can also put the pin on a sweater. You have to follow your style and your feelings.
What is craftsmanship for you?
I’d say these days a lot of work is done in cad and on computer. All these are great alternatives to the manual work. Yet not my preferences. I feel that when I give a jewellery a shape manually, I embed part of my soul in it. It is not just another cold jewellery; it has a soul. Imagine the soul has entered into the object to take a shape. When one looks this way, very intriguing shapes can be born, especially if the shapes are circular. In manual work we use metal as well as wax to give shape. With wax that is worked both hot and cold it is possible to do more sensational moulding.
What is the most important quality of an artisan goldsmith?
The first thing that comes to mind is precision. But I’d say no. In my opinion, a goldsmith must have the quality of creating shapes that are particular, uncommon. This is precisely the quality of an artisan goldsmith – interpreting the form. One should be good at creating shapes that are singular, recognizable, particular, and harmonious. In craftsmanship small details are what make all the difference.
I think this is also the case with Made in Italy?
Yes, for me everything must be Made in Italy. That makes the difference. Even the boxes. For me Made in Italy is an ideal. It is a bit like renaissance. In the Renaissance workshops numerous artisans used to work together on the same project to make it as beautiful as possible. We all have the same goal.