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The designer

During Sieraad Art Fair in Amsterdam, I saw her work for the first time. Striking necklaces and brooches designed by Xenia Walschikow. I was immediately impressed by her special collection and wanted to know more about it. Xenia: “I was born in Russia, we emigrated to Germany in the 90’s when I was 8 years old. I left Germany in 2003 to study international Business in West Australia. I worked in Marketing and Management for over 10 years and decided to change my career when I was 32 years old. I always knew I wanted to be in the creative field and I felt I needed the change (now or never kind of thing). It took me some time to try out new ideas and eventually, I started learning about the techniques of jewellery making and discovered a passion for contemporary jewellery. I moved to England (my husband’s country of birth) to study design at the School of Jewellery. At the age of 35, I finished my Masters. Now I have a studio at home in Birmingham, where I teach students and also design my own work.”

Een opvallend halssieraad

Xenia Walschikow.

Inspiration

“My inspiration comes mainly from art and details in paintings/objects/installations/ I obsess about. In my first collection, I focused on the detail of the brush strokes in decorative art, specifically the iconic Khokhloma dishes from Russia. I extracted the detail of nature-inspired motifs and transformed them into three-dimensional ‘brushstroke jewellery’. I often visit galleries or research a group of artists and I study all the details of their works, this gives me great inspiration and scope to develop my work.”

Colours

“The colours I choose for my work I very vibrant, alive, strong, deep and bright. I love Ultramarine Blue and or a vibrant Blue-Violet. I think because I moved to England, I often feel it is gray and dark and I miss the bright colours and sunshine. I also like to wear white, gray, black and/or navy clothing and I feel that introducing a strong colour really brings out the work and the detail.”

Are you interested in fashion?

“I am very much interested and I love new edgy ideas and materials. I love work by Maggie on the rocks or Kleidersachen. Amazing artist and designers. I do not have a fashion icon as such but I like to follow people who have an interesting style such as Iris Apfel or Accidental Icon, they are amazing women! I very much hope that I can be as stylish and fabulous as the women I admire in their 60’s and even close to 100 in some cases! I think jewellery has to make you feel good and no matter what age, just wear what you love.”

Was Sieraad Art Fair the first time you visited Amsterdam?

“I visited Amsterdam a few times before. I grew up in Cologne/Germany, so it is not very far to visit. I love the Dutch people. They are so open and friendly and kind. I love coming to the Netherlands, it feels like home because you make us feel welcome. Sieraad Art Fair was the first experience and I really had an amazing time and met so many great people who encouraged and supported all way through. The organizers Astrid and also the PR lady Isabella are the most kindest people who took such great care of me. I very much would like to be there again! It was really a great show with amazing people.”

Where can people buy your work?

“I am still at the very beginning and I am looking for gallery contacts to show my work. Most of my work is one off pieces that are hand-painted. If you would like to purchase my work, the best way is to contact me directly with an inquiry or visit my website for gallery information near to you. I am also doing commission work. For example, some of the visitors from Sieraad Art Fair liked my big neck pieces but wanted a different colour, so I am painting a new neck piece for them.”

I’m wearing a culotte by Dries van Noten (secondhand), a black shirt by Sandwich and vest by Aziz Bakkaoui. Fishnet stockings by Wolford, glasses by Frances Klein. Photos by Gaston Wals.

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