Tuesday, August 6, 2013

NIKI STYLIANOU

Ring made with Sterling Silver, Hand-Cut and
Hand-Painted Rubber and Threads
Faliraki, Greece is abuzz with plenty of activities.

You can shop for locally made ceramics or leather bags, or enjoy the kinetic nightlife of popular clubs like Ziggy’s and Bed.

Greece is also home to featured jewelry designer Niki Stylianou.

Jewelry is jewelry, right?  So if jewelry is composed of non-traditional materials does it become something of lesser value?  

For years a number of jewelers, including British jewelry designers John Moore and Anoush Waddington, as well as Dutch designer Thea Tolsma have been on the front lines challenging public perception of value in jewelry with their contemporary art pieces. 

In the grand tradition of this niche, each of the aforementioned jewelry artisans have respectively incorporated polypropylene, bicycle inner tubes, and anodized aluminum into remarkable jewelry creations. 

Like her contemporaries, Stylianou experiments with an unusual range of materials to develop a visual language that by turns is gritty, fluid, excrescent and theatrical.  

The Royal College of Art alumna flips the script on trends by painting rubber, gathering found objects of clay parts, plastic and paper all the while expanding her creativity to incredible heights.

Using modest accents of semi-precious gemstones that include black onyx and turquoise beads she painstakingly transforms abstract materials into concrete and accessible earrings and tribalesque statement necklaces.  

Her non-conformist design style is a graceful yet forceful commentary on the reigning concept that the value of jewelry is solely in its materials.
Necklace with Recycled Plastic, Coral Beads,
Wire, Linen, Yarn and Cotton Thread
“I studied architecture at the National Technical University of Athens.  In 1994 I set up my own firm and did freelance work covering multi-disciplinary projects including furniture and interior design, digital art, and illustrations,” offers the working mom. 

“Ten years later I began working with jewelry.  I love learning new techniques while exploring diverse materials and their inherent qualities, and jewelry allowed me the chance to experiment with tools that my architectural experiences gave me.

Through my work I try to redefine designing adornments made of ordinary and overlooked everyday objects.  I have been obsessed with rubber and I up-cycle kitchen rubber gloves.  I hand-cut it, hand-paint it and I combine it with semi-precious gemstones to give it new life.

I am inspired by the ambiguous and the ephemeral; everyday life and the human body.  The biggest challenge for me is producing order out of chaos.  

To create an adornment that is a second skin; an envelope that makes the body of the wearer stands out or become more visible.”

Since 2011 Stylianou’s awe-inspiring jewelry has been included in exhibitions in Spain, Greece, and the Netherlands.
Earrings made with Sterling Silver,
Hand-Cut and Hand-Painted Rubber
and Gemstones
2013 Jewelry Trend AlertStylianou clearly follows her own vision but her jewelry is not without tapping into some of the year’s trends.  

They include bright color pops, geometric patterns, and the addition of found objects.

Lastly, substantial size is prized in 2013 and Stylianou’s strong silhouettes complete style trends for the year.
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