I recently came across a talented Serbian-born designer, Milena Kovanovic who creates handcrafted pieces of striking glass-blown jewelry collection. Her label has now become known for its highly decorative pieces including her signature oversized, Glass necklaces. Today, I interview the person behind it all, Milena Kovanovic. To shop her collection, Click here!
– Firstly, What made you get into Jewellery design?
When I was 11 years old I used to make beaded jewellery which I sold in a local shop for a while as a way to earn some extra pocket money.
Then when I was doing my art foundation I couldn’t decide what to specialise in, should I choose photography or fashion design. All I knew is that I enjoyed making things, at which point my tutor said I’d be perfect for jewellery design. Having never considered it as a proper career before, I decided to give it a go.
So here I am. No regrets yet!
– There are lots of upcoming Jewellery designers, but I love how unique your concept is. What made you start creating Glass-blown jewelry?
It all came about while I was designing some catwalk body pieces. I wanted the work to make an impact and be really striking but without being too heavy.
I was thinking of different materials that I could use but nothing stood out.
At that time, I saw an exhibition of glass sculptures and it got me thinking about using blown glass in jewellery. From there I developed my designs and researched ways of making.
The results were great and the initial pieces got a lot of editorial.
– Where do you find inspiration from whilst designing your collections?
I get inspired from all sorts of things. A lot of the time my ideas come from the natural world but also from art, photography, or a book I might have read.
Being quite visual anything can spark an idea for a design. I recently spent a month out in India, where I took over 1000 photographs of things that I found inspiring…
– Please tell us about your latest collection.
My latest collection ‘Cirrhus’ (meaning tendril) is a continuation of my research into blown glass jewellery and consists mainly of bangles. The sleek undulating forms are highly polished and coil around the wrist like a living entity. Some of the pieces are also set with gemstones and gold studs.
With this collection I wanted to take the same elements of the large body pieces and design and develop them into jewellery that would appeal to a wider audience. My main task was to find a way of making the glass safe to wear. People have preconceptions about glass being too fragile or dangerous, which is not always the case.
By thinking how I could combine glass with a precious metal, I came across a technique called electrodeposition, where metal is deposited onto the surface of any electrically conductive material in thin layers. I was able to utilise this technique to encase blown glass bangles in silver, making them much more durable and safe to wear. However not all of the bangles have glass inside, some are entirely formed of silver with a resin core. That way people can choose between the two.
– Who would you love to see wearing your designs?
Everyone! It’s the best feeling when you see a person wearing pieces you’ve designed and made. Regardless of whether they’ve famous or not.
– Let us in on your future plans.
I’ve just designed my first fine jewellery – It’s a riot of sumptuous coloured gemstones set in 18K gold. The collection which will be launching in October, so I will keep you posted.
-Mija asked: How was your experience at Central St Martins?
I did both my art foundation and degree at Saint Martins, and loved it. It’s one of those places that oozes with creativity, making you want to be a part of it.
You meet lots of interesting people and it’s got good resources like the libraries and technical staff. As with all places it has its good and bad points, but you have to make the most of these things.
All in all I found it a great place in which to grown and develop my ideas.