Missy Graff is an emerging Art Jeweler who graduated with her MFA from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She has worked at Gallery Loupe in Montclair, NJ and was a Gallery Manager for the Heidi Lowe Gallery in Rehoboth Beach, DE. Missy is currently gaining curatorial experience through an internship in the jewelry department at the Museum of Arts and Design.
Fingers is a gallery of contemporary art jewelry located in Auckland, New Zealand. This August, Kvetoslava Flora (also known as Flora Sekanova) is displaying selected works from her most recent project Schmetterling (Butterfly), in which she continues her exploration of newspaper as a material. Born in Slovakia and currently attending the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, Flora prefers to leave room for the imagination in her responses from our recent interview.
Missy Graff: Can you please describe how you came to be a jeweler?
Flora Sekanova: I became a jeweler on the way to finding my true expression of what this life is about.
You have lived in a few different countries. Do your travels play a role in your work?
Flora Sekanova: Yes, I have lived in a few different countries so far, but as a jeweler I was born in New Zealand. My previous experiences with different cultures have shaped me as a person. So in this sense, yes, my travels play a major role in what I make.
Flora Sekanova: I graduated in 2010 from Hungry Creek Art & Craft School in New Zealand. I then spent one year working with and learning from New Zealand jeweler Warwick Freeman. In September 2012, I moved to Munich, Germany, where I studied at the Academy of Fine Arts under Professor Otto Kunzli. This shift to the old continent and the year at the Academy gave me time and space to reflect on my attraction to newspaper as a material. I think I finally understand why I have this “love affair,” so maybe now I am free again to move in a new direction.
What is the most unexpected thing you’ve accomplished within your professional practice?
Flora Sekanova: I try not to have expectations in my life.
Can you please describe the work you are exhibiting at Fingers gallery?
Flora Sekanova: At Fingers, I am presenting 16 brooches, which I selected from my ongoing project Schmetterling. This project currently consists of 40 pieces. Each piece has the simplified shape of a butterfly and is made of newspaper from a specific country.
Please discuss your use of newspaper as a material.
Flora Sekanova: Newspaper is a fascinating material. So much energy goes into the process of changing a tree into paper and the transformation of the paper into a full-color printed daily newspaper that can manipulate the opinions of the masses. All this for one day of “fame.” Did you know that many butterflies live approximately 24 hours?
Can you please tell me about the quote on the front page of your website: “I am a maker of jewelry to raise awareness about the miracle of our existence.”
Flora Sekanova: In my life, jewelry making shares equal importance with my practice of yoga, chanting, spending time with my cat, and building relationships with my blood family, my spiritual family, and my boyfriend. All of these experiences are shaping me as a person, which is much more than being labeled only as a jeweler. As a person who cares, I can contribute to the awareness of the fact that we are humans with responsibility to other forms of life. I can do this through the making of jewelry because this is what I enjoy and do with love.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by the art jewelry community?
Flora Sekanova: The challenge is to stay true to yourself regardless of what you do, what you think others should do, and what you think others think you should be doing.
Can you recommend some reading material other than newspapers?
Flora Sekanova: I can recommend what not to read … never read a newspaper.