Otiumberg Curates welcomes London-based artists and creators to showcase their work amongst our jewellery collection at our London Bridge Boutique.
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Karina Smagulova is a ceramic artist working in a diverse range of disciplines, who takes her inspiration from the female form.
Our founders Christie and Rosanna visited her East London studio to discover the works and discuss her practice.
We know only too well how hard it is to pivot your career, how and why did you make the decision to leave architecture?
I often experience sculpture through the space it holds within or around, so sometimes it feels like I haven’t really left architecture. Having said that, clay as a material allowed me to tap into the transcendental meanings of objects and tell the story of female identity. It has become a space where I feel safe to explore my curiosity in a wider range of forms and ideas.
Your work is centred on women’s bodies, has womanhood always been the driving inspiration behind your work, and why?
My journey has been guided by intuition. In retrospect I can see how it was always a reflection of my own experience as a woman. The lack of feminine energy in the materiality of our systems has been for thousands of years in the making and directly impacts our ecology today. Addressing that is an ever evolving process that I try to translate into a formed piece.
"I come from a family of Armenian refugees so the idea that loved ones are spread in different parts of the world has always been the norm. Working with a material that directly comes from Earth has helped me find roots"
We’ve been surrounded by an influential female collective growing up as three sisters. Who has been the most influential woman in your life?
I spent most of the time growing up with my mum who up to this day is my warmest guide.
How does your background and heritage inform your work?
I come from a family of Armenian refugees so the idea that loved ones are spread in different parts of the world has always been the norm. Working with a material that directly comes from Earth has helped me find roots in the ground that connects us all, and not defined solely by geographical location.
Let’s talk about the highs and lows of your career. What has been your biggest failure and success so far, and what did you learn from both?
Ceramics have added an element of physicality to my failures. I still remember the sound of two sculptures breaking after I accidentally knocked them off the studio table. On the bright side, opening the kiln to see a piece successfully fired is always the highest high.
Jewellery serves as a daily form of self expression, a celebration of life’s milestones, and even a way to remember loved ones. What is your most treasured piece of jewellery and why?
A tag pendant that has been with me since I was born. It’s become a daily reminder to do more things that bring joy to the child within.
How do you take time out from your busy everyday life to find calm and inspiration, and feed your creativity?
I’m grateful that my parents live in Greece today so I visit regularly. Reconnecting with the slower Mediterranean pace has become a grounding escape and I try to bring some of its elements back to London. Gatherings with friends and family over delicious food are always in the diary.
Please share your favourite secret spot in London - a special gem others might not know about.
I love the book store in White Cube Bermondsey.
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