Without Anna Orska there would be no upcycling in the jewellery industry in Poland. Upcycling is the creative reuse of objects, materials and scraps, taking the useless and/or unwanted and giving them new life – in this case, as jewellery.
Jewlery designer reusing object, materials and scraps.
She is not interested in making just nice, classic pieces from gold, silver and gemstones. Her brand is the opposite of the ubiquitous modest designs which no longer surprise.
Orska includes the elements of surprise and excitement in each new collection. The first shock is always the material – found in an attic, in an old factory, in the woods, in excavations, on the beach, in a harbour, during an exotic journey. The second shock comes from the way it was processed – Orska isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty. Her workshop looks more like a carpenter’s workshop, glass factory, alchemist's laboratory, and a blacksmith's forge all in one. There are machine tools and hammers. She collaborates with a few highly specialized factories to make her bigger collections.
Orska says it all started out when she was growing up in the times of the Polish People’s Republic. Because nothing was available, you had to really explore and use your imagination, in order to look nice. As a designer, Orska implements this logic into her way of thinking about the brand. The third shock comes from the fact that the upcycled items and trash combine to create a new, original quality. Orska has raised the act of saving ‘trash’ to the status of art. It is never just an aesthetic solution – the jewellery is just begging to be treated as a carrier of symbols, and Orska does just that.
Her jewellery fulfils several functions: protective (as in the series Revolt, which mainly consisted of knight figurines, bullets and skulls), magical as in the collection Khipu, inspired by the Inca's threaded recording device or Astro, dedicated to the alignment of the stars. Some collections are rich in ornamentation – like Ornare or Moon. Others are an innuendo about the most popular trends in jewellery although with a sense of humour and irony (like Memory), or culture in general – like Pills, which is her comment on the ubiquitous pill-popping.
It all started with a Ph.D. in jewellery. A few years ago Orska left W.Kruk, where she began her career when she was still studying industrial design. With time, she even became the art director in the company. After she left, she created her first collection – nowadays hard to find, as it didn't work out. Orska then decided to devote herself to raising her child. When she gave birth to her second child, she decided it was time to do something for herself. It ended up being a doctorate in jewellery – till today she doesn’t know why. For one of the tasks, she decided to make jewellery out of old, worn-out ropes. It was a success.
These projects gave her the strength to create a concept for her own brand. And so the maths-inspired Mobius Strip was made, followed by the intricately constructed cocoon and spider threads weaved together for the Spindles collection.
In her next collections she’ll use ropes, belts, threads, paper, rock climbing ropes, and sailing ropes tied in knots that are associated with sports rather than jewellery. Machines dips into the world of car engines, and for the bamboo for her Bambu collection she is going to Thailand. When she gets bored with wood, she turns to fossilised snake spines and shark teeth. Finally, when she gets tired of rummaging through the past – she will reach for 3D printing and create the collection entitled Soda, all made of necklaces – bubble-like and circular shaped, filled with gemstones and crystals. In her collection E.M., Orska faces new dreams. In this project, she invited several artists to collaborate with her: Anastazja Borowska, Sonia Hensler, Anka Kuprian, Robert Kuta, Mateusz Suda, Paweł Zawiślak (Kropki kreski). In the Craft collection on the other hand, she collaborated with the ceramics manufactory in Bolesławiec.
Author: Karolina Sulej, July 2015, Translated by: Zuzanna Wiśniewska