Conversations with an Artist: Elina Peduzzi
Elina Peduzzi had a fascinating evolution to her artistic journey and jewelry career. Early influences flourished, even while she had a diplomatic career in Venezuela. Like many of us, the pull to her heart's work was strong and she pursued an MFA in Spatial Arts to advance her sculptural work and continue expanding her jewelry talents. We are all lucky for it! Her jewelry are hand cast and fabricated, and fuse ancient techniques with an industrial and urban vibe.
Describe the moment you realized art fed your soul.
Art has been a part of my life since I was a kid, and I consider myself lucky and grateful for that. Music, literature, theater, photography, and crafts were always around me growing up. I didn't have a sudden realization, but I gradually understood that art is just a natural part of life.
However, there's a specific memory that stands out in my mind. I visited my grandfather's studio when I was around 4 or 5 years old, in Uruguay. He was a ceramist, and I was fascinated by the pots, vases, plates, and figurines I saw up close because I was no taller than the tables. The shapes, the enamel colors, the kilns, and the creative chaos of the ceramic studio left a lasting impression on me. I loved it, and I can still vividly remember that feeling.
Elina Peduzzi sculptural work entitled DE FACTO. A personal look into the United Nations Millennium Goals.
What themes do you pursue in your jewelry?
I am deeply fascinated with history and the beauty of traditional adornment, which often inspires me. It captivates me to observe how jewelry design encompasses shared elements, symbolic meanings, and processes across diverse continents and civilizations. I intend to infuse my jewelry creations with a timeless essence that resonates with human history, honoring ancient cultures and forging a profound connection with the past from the present with a contemporary voice.
Elina Peduzzi one of a kind Roots sculptural necklace
Tell us about what influences the direction of your craft.
One of the factors that influences the direction of my craft is the jewelry techniques I come across along the way. Whenever I stumble upon a new process, I dive right in and see where it takes me. I'm all about exploring different directions and experimenting with fresh approaches. Another factor is the inspiration behind a collection and translating an idea into a concrete object or piece of jewelry. There is a lot of thinking and trial and error involved in that.
How has your work developed over time?
Over three decades, my jewelry-making journey has evolved from a hobby to a full-time pursuit in the last few years. Over time, my work has changed significantly. Initially, my pieces were more delicate, smaller, and lighter, using only fabrication techniques in silver, gold, and German silver with semi-precious stones. A turning point arrived when I learned the art of casting a few years ago and applied it to small sculptures and jewelry. While the essence of my themes remains unchanged, the addition of casting has added a new dimension to my creations. It allows me to push boundaries and explore unconventional forms, granting my work a bold quality.
What's the most indispensable item in your studio?
For a jewelry studio, you need a broad collection of tools and equipment tailored to your needs. It's difficult to isolate only one item because there are many indispensable ones. However, amidst all the gear, there's one absolute must-have for me: a great speaker. I can't imagine working without it. It's the ultimate companion as I dive into my projects, blasting podcasts, audiobooks, and tons of music. It sets the vibe and keeps the inspiration flowing while I work.
Do you collect anything?
I'm not a hardcore collector, but I've gathered a cool assortment of jewelry over the years from my travels or from artists I admire. On top of that, I've got a few pieces of traditional antique jewelry from Africa and Asia. They're like little treasures that tell stories from different cultures, and I love them.
What's the most inspiring thing you've seen, read, watched, or listened to recently?
A few weeks ago, I watched the documentary "The Salt of the Earth," directed by Win Wenders, which explores the life and work of Brazilian photographer Sebastião Salgado, whom I deeply admire. It shows his powerful black-and-white photographs depicting social and environmental issues around the world while also diving into his journey and deep connection with humanity—one of the best documentaries I've seen in the last few years.
In terms of books, I recently read "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee; it's a historical novel that follows the lives of multiple generations of a Korean family living in Japan from the beginning of the 20th century. It explores identity, family, and resilience in the face of discrimination. Fascinating story.
I also just finished an extraordinary audiobook about Paul Simon's life and work, "Miracle and Wonder" by Malcolm Gladwell. It's a long interview with a lot of musical references. A must-listen!
Currently, I'm listening to another captivating and deeply inspiring audiobook that I must mention: "Finding Me" by Viola Davis. It's an incredible memoir narrated by her that has truly captivated me. Her story is so compelling, and her journey is incredibly inspiring. I can't recommend it enough!
In the last two days, I've been listening to the music of Jain, an interesting young French singer-songwriter; she's wonderful; check it out! (Note from Poet and/the Bench... we also love Jain! Makeba is one of her songs on our rotation for some super fine good vibes!)
What advice would you give to your younger self about your artistic journey?
To thrive as an artist, cultivating self-discipline is crucial. Set aside a dedicated daily block of time to engage in creating. Consistency is key. Even on days when you feel uninspired or uncertain about what to make, push through and keep producing whatever comes to mind. Inspiration will often find you in the process. So, make it a habit and stay committed.
What role does music play for you while you work?
Music is an absolute must for me during my work sessions. The choice of music depends on the specific task at hand. When carving or forming wax, I gravitate towards soothing genres like jazz, classical, Bossa nova, French folk, and captivating traditional tunes from around the world. However, when it's time for casting, grinding, sanding, and soldering, I need something with a punch, like salsa, merengue, ska, electronic, or rock, to energize me. When I'm racing against a tight deadline, heavy metal becomes my go-to, injecting a surge of adrenaline and speed. And, of course, I also take fun breaks now and then by dancing around my studio after long stretches of sitting at my workbench.
We love that Elina's jewelry has style and strength and exudes fortitude and beauty. Both architecturally fabricated and given the spirit of ancient civilization, her collection invites a sense of wonder. Check out the jewelry by Elina Peduzzi here.