Maya of INNERSTONE has been making jewelry in one form or another for a long time. Known for her minimalist yet distinctive body adornments, she creates jewelry that treats the human body as a site of display that combines art and fashion. In her designs, she emphasizes both the impermanence and fragility of natural forms. A sense of peace and tranquility is evoked by her designs, creating a unique connection between the wearer and the natural environment.

You can learn more about her art and creative process in this interview.

Hi and thank you for joining our Talks section. Please introduce yourself to our readers. How did you get interested in designing jewelry and how did you make your ideas a reality?

Hello! My name is Maya and I am the one and only person behind the INNERSTONE brand. The unusual design of accessories has always attracted my attention and aroused my inner thrill. The idea of personal uniqueness and the natural desire to emphasize it is also close to me. This served as a basis and inspired me to create in this direction. My passion for this led me to independently master working with metals and start to create wearable art.

The concept of the INNERSTONE brand is based on individualism, the presence of an inner core in every person, and the courage to follow their path. One-of-a-kind jewelry is designed to highlight the originality and inner strength of its owners. They serve as a daily reminder to yourself that you are unique, strong in spirit, and act following your creed. And I do not deviate from this concept, going into mass production, but making jewelry in a single copy for people who share these views. My customers include individualists, collectors, and fans of contemporary art.

What is your process like from the spark of an idea to a fully finished work?

Nature inspires with its organic textures, irregularities, and rough surfaces. A sufficient level of observation allows me to notice and find a lot of ideas. The raw silver style I’m working in is perfectly suited for bringing such ideas to life. The natural textures of metal that I manage to create are visually attractive and tactilely pleasant.

However, jewelry art implies not only working with design but also has a technical part. Creating one piece of jewelry in metal is a rather complex and fascinating process that takes several days. The old-school methods I use involve my interaction with each accessory at all stages of production. Shooting videos of the jewelry creation process helps me to share the magic of these moments, they can be found on my Instagram.

Do you sketch out your designs in advance, or do you work out the design as you go and simply begin creating?

Inspiration is uncontrollable and usually covers you suddenly in a wave. If I have enough free time at this moment, I would prefer to immediately immerse myself in creativity. Otherwise, I have to sketch or write down ideas that come to me so I don’t miss them.

Preliminary fixation of ideas is suitable if I use the lost wax casting technique when the final result is completely predictable. In the case of sand-clay casting, the design of the jewelry may depend on the behavior of the materials during the creation process. However, giving the materials a little more freedom allows us to obtain interesting stylistic effects and textures.

Your aesthetic features both feminine and masculine sides, can you explain maybe where that mix comes from?

True beauty manifests in harmony and balance. The division of anything into feminine or masculine, including aesthetic features, is foreign to me. The most important thing for me is the personality of a human who will wear my accessories. INNERSTONE jewelry is intended for everyone aware of their own uniqueness, and the amount of inner strength and dares to choose their own lifestyle. I’m pleased that I can help my customers to highlight this. Such people often prefer unusual custom things, which is definitely reflected in the design and meaning of INNERSTONE jewelry. The appearance of accessories is a matter of the taste of their owners. The choice of a smoother polished surface or a rougher texture, as well as a massive or minimalist accessory, is connected only with this.

What excites you about the art jewelry field?

Individuals who are immersed in doing what they love evoke admiration and respect, which is immediately visible in their art. Without fear of criticism and misunderstanding, they develop their style. Such people are rare in any field of activity; they do not fall back from their ideas and zealously follow their path, therefore they can bring something new to this world. The same applies to jewelers. I’m always excited about creative solutions that I haven’t seen before. These can be incredible ideas and jewelry of strange shapes and colors, made from unusual combinations of metals.

Such creative works are intriguing and raise the question – how is this done? They may not be close to me at all and I may not even like them, but I immediately see the creator and master, as well as the brave person behind it. This kind of art excites and inspires me.

From an industrial design perspective, what are your vital tools, resources, and methods for you during the design process?

At the beginning of my path in jewelry, I made a promise to myself not to buy a lot of equipment. I still adhere to this rule and use many improvised instruments in my work. Many processes can be done through simple things. This approach allows me to turn on my imagination and solve problems in a non-standard way, and also not to get a lot of junk.

After all, some bulky professional tools are required for only one small action. I used to be a little shy about making videos of the casting process as most of my tools are not professional, but then I realized that this makes sense. It’s great that I manage to achieve high-quality jewelry in this way, there is something true and brutal about it.

There are many descriptions of the ideal state of mind for being creative. What is it like for you? What supports this ideal state of mind and what are the distractions? Are there strategies to enter this state more easily?

To start creating, you need to get a positive internal response to the offer to do it. It feels like a certain urge and longing, you simply cannot do anything else at this moment. This is a feeling of weightlessness and soaring, which allows you to easily and with pleasure implement emerging ideas. If I’m passionate about something, I can stay in this state of mind for days, forgetting about everything else.

An integrated approach allows me to create conditions for productive creativity and maintain a state of mind suitable for this. Adequate free time and space protected from distractions are an integral part. Equally important is the workplace that I put my heart into creating. The decor of my small workshop is inspired by a dark aesthetic that is close to my spirit. And of course, my favorite music also helps me quickly immerse myself in a creative state and maintain it for as long as possible.

Thinking about your evolution, what are some developments in you – whether it’s in your jewelry, your energy, or the way you work – that you’ve seen real change since your first piece of jewelry?

Understanding the meaning of what I was doing did not come immediately. At the beginning of my path, I relied on the idea of ​​uniqueness and strength of personality and the desire to focus on this. Over time, I began to understand the broader meaning of what I do and what my customers get.

INNERSTONE jewelry is not only about beauty. Things created by hand are charged with certain vibrations from their author. A lot of energy and sense is sealed in my accessories. For some customers it is an amulet, for others, it is a reminder of their strength, for others it is an opportunity to gain self-reliance in a difficult situation. The perception of this message depends on the person’s worldview. I know about this thanks to customer reviews and conversations with these people. A serious approach to my creativity allows me to fill INNERSTONE jewelry with strong and positive energy, which is what my clients return for.

As for the changes in the jewelry itself, of course, their quality and my skill have grown over time. Also, I began melting 925 sterling silver myself according to the classic formula using only copper as ligature. Because I was unsatisfied with the quality and safety of the purchased sterling silver. Besides that now I’m not only making jewelry for free sale, but take custom orders natch by my style.

Where do you think the art jewelry field is going? Are there new and exciting trends that you see?

Artificial intelligence is now doing amazing things in all areas, and the jewelry industry is no exception. I am close to the style of raw and rough metal, but AI is also capable of such things. Looking at these designs, I understand that it is very difficult for a person to compete with them. However, working with metal still requires human participation. Even if the product is printed on any material, it will not be perfect. Manual processing will be required. Everything is moving towards simplifying and saving human resources, as well as replacing people even in creative activities.

In jewelry, I’m interested exactly in working by hand though. I would be happy to delegate, if possible, all other processes related to the development of the INNERSTONE brand. However, the actual modeling, metal casting, and hand-processing of jewelry give me enormous pleasure. So, I guess that the future of jewelry lies in technology, but not in my case.

What is next for you?

A comfortable pace in progression and work is very important. The modern world demands endless improvement, and the pursuit of new knowledge, suggesting that only this will make us competitive. This race causes neurosis and takes the individual far from himself. I prefer to enjoy the process of creativity and development in those directions that arouse my keen interest. Currently, I am mastering working with genuine leather and making accessories using a combination of leather and silver.

This is an interesting and new creativity for me, which includes engineering thinking. It also brings variety to my activities. Along with this, I find it fascinating to work with a combination of gold and silver, such experiments provide incredible design solutions. The jewelry field is very wide, so I have a choice of what to learn at a calm pace if I am sincerely interested in it.

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Still can't tell exactly my origins because of my suspiciously ‘Chinese eyes’.