I met Maria Elena Savini and her beautiful creations, thanks to the Pitti Immagine event and a common friend, Cristina Vannuzzi Landini, who proposed an article for the blog about the LussoMediterraneo jewels brand.
Anyway, so I got on the Web and started snooping around and I gave my ok.
That might have been the end of the story, but it wasn’t.
We met online, corresponded, chatted and I got to know this artist a little better, discovering an educated woman, in love with her work, polite, kind, funny and with an enchanting sense of humor.
I don’t know about you, but I love people who know how to make fun of themselves and who face life even with a little lightness.
Here is the interview with Maria Elena Savini.
Our interviews are meant as stories of dreams made true and we like to think that anyone can find the drive to fulfill their own dream after reading them.
Enjoy the reading.
Gabriella Ruggieri for 1blog4u
1)I would like to start with basic personal data and your study path.
1)I was born in Bari on 1.2.1982 and I live in Mola di Bari. I graduated from Classical High School in Conversano and then degree in Fine Arts from the Academy of Fine Arts.
2)Why the Classical High School?
2)Because I liked it, I was undecided between Classical High School and Art High School. On the advice of my mother I then opted for the Classical, in order to have a more solid foundation on which to build my future.
The choice was mine and mine completely, my parents never imposed anything on me.
3)Was the degree also your choice?
3)Yes, from the first day of Classical High School, I knew I would continue with the Academy of Fine Arts.
4)Did you already have a predisposition or aptitude for drawing?
4)I grew up in a family where art has always been breathed. My mom is a painter, even my aunt is the same as my grandfather who was really very good. I have breathed art since I was a child.
5)At university you studied set design, why did you do it? You could have made other choices…
5)Because the scenography is like a summary of all the arts. It should be seen in these terms. You must know how to get away with technical design, perspectives, artistic design, the history of art, sculpture… everything. It gives you the opportunity to explore more. To exalt features already present, in your natural predisposition and to discover new ones.
6)Can we say that you have a 360° view of what are the opportunities and artistic features, and then choose the one you want to deepen more or do your own?
6)Yes of course. When you have to set up a set you need to know how to do everything. I learned to work a lot of materials, I enriched my manual skills and this followed me like a second skin in what I do today.
7)After completing your studies (or during) did you immediately start working?
7)Yes, I worked hard, without taking anything away from the fun. I studied and I also wanted to amuse myself, aware of the fact that “if you don’t do it now, when?”, but once I finished my studies I immediately started working in the full meaning of the word.
First to Telebari (for some small sets) then to some theater companies. Sometimes I joined my husband, a production designer, he’s been at it a lot longer than I have.
8)So, we can say that while you were studying you “worked a little bit” and finished your studies you started to work “in the full meaning of the word”, but… for example, in my ignorance, I think of the figure of the set designer, like that person who creates those wonderful theatre backdrop. I wonder… how do you get from all this to make ceramic jewels?
8)Ceramics in my life came by chance. I opened my first laboratory in Conversano and did a lot of things. Restoration, small furnishing accessories, small objects in carved wood, etc., and some friends, they commissioned me for wedding favors, 200 small wooden bas-reliefs… you can well understand that 200 carved tablets, one different from the other, was practically impossible to realize, in a limited time.
So I thought of using another material (suitable for the purpose) and the clay came to mind.
9)Did you open a lab in Conversano? Tell me. It is not that one gets up in the morning, has breakfast and then says “this morning I open a lab”…
9) (laughs) no, certainly, it was not such a swift and sudden decision, but it was a period in which I felt, I thought and wanted, to no longer have a boss over my head, the situation was close to me, so I looked for a lab for rent.
I found it, the rent was acceptable (I had some money, because I was working anyway) and I started with my own work.
10)You said that you discovered ceramics almost by chance and did your success today, do you want to tell me something more?
10)It may seem like a fairy tale, but that’s right, everything started with the creation of some favors. The discovery of clay was born randomly, but it was also love at first sight. A classic love at first sight.
I had experienced many things and the processing of other materials, I liked to sculpt wood, for example, but the clay made me fall in love and stop.
Step by step, I made my way into jewels design and creation and never looked back.
11)Your jewels are special, unique, they struck me for precisely this reason they remain etched in the memory, they are not forgotten. They give me the idea that the woman who chooses to wear them is sure of herself, a strong woman who is comfortable with herself. A classy woman who does not let herself be forgotten. Does it correspond to the truth? Is this what you want to convey?
Furthermore I understand that it was handed they are related to your land, nature and the sea, typical of the region where you live. Do you have a strong connection with the place where you were born and work?
11)I am strongly linked to nature, my territory and what it offers. Certainly living in my region helps and above all living near the sea also, but I myself am attentive to what I eat, I try to be responsible for the environment and not least, I am surrounded by quadrupeds… All these things, put together, determine each time the choices of the subjects of my pieces. I am strongly inspired by what surrounds me and I try to draw inspiration from that.
12)Mola di Bari is not Milan or New York and the obvious question for me is: (without falling into clichés) how does an artist break through, make himself known? It is not news that there are many young people who choose to leave, move to other cities that perhaps offer more opportunities, if not abroad.
12) This is true, needless to deny it, I too had decided to leave and I had chosen Rome. I remember that I had already found a small apartment near Piazza Istria, but in the evening before leaving… I didn’t make it. I said to myself “what are you doing?” “It is not right, this is my land, here I have my roots and here I want to stay”. To stay means to do many, but many, but many sacrifices. I understand that for many people, leaving was indispensable, the difficulties are there and it is useless to deny it, but the type of my work allows me to stay. Then it is clear that you have to travel, you have to broaden your horizons, compare yourself with different realities, study, never stop being curious, but my place is here, my refuge is here.
13)Have you been inspired by someone? I mean, not necessarily people doing the same job, but also entrepreneurs, artists or common people.
13) Yes, they are two. One is Michelangelo, in all its facets. We never stop studying it, learning it, being fascinated by it. I have always been struck by his looking at a piece of marble and seeing already a subject, even before working it, to “remove” (as he said) and free what he had seen.
The second one to inspire me was Coco Chanel. Not so much for the results achieved (also) but above all for the character, the stubbornness in having pursued his goals while living in a context and in a very, very difficult age for a woman.
14)Did you cross paths with any negative people who maybe tried to make you give up? Or maybe gave you the motivation to say “I’ll show you what I can do”?
To be honest, no. I don’t remember episodes of this kind. Although I must say that often the artist’s work is not considered “work”.
One that hoe the groung is working, one who kneads the clay is playing…
I think they are clichés that accompany all forms of art. Perhaps some people do not accept the fact that one can work hard while having fun or doing an activity that excites him.
15)When did you come to understand that you could make a living from this job? (artisanal, not industrial, I’d like to point out) When was the turning point?
15)In reality this situation has never occurred. As I said before, during school I worked a little, finished my studies I was already working, I had put aside some money and immediately I opened my lab where I made the pieces I was selling, so there was always a line of continuity in my career path.
16)What motivated you in the past and what motivates you in the present, during difficult times? If there were any
16)Undoubtedly there have been some difficult moments, as for all those who decide to work on their own, but I cannot say that these difficulties have demotivated me. Otherwise I would die. This work is my life.
So, in the moments of difficulty I commit myself more, I use my mind to find solutions and I put more effort into what I’m doing.
Furthermore, I can say that I am lucky because I have an accomplice… a person I can always count on, who has always supported me: my husband.
17)It is normal to think that when the time comes “this is what I want to be when I grow up”, a person is wise. Put your soul into it. In your case, given the studies, given the work experience and the opening of one of your lab, what, specifically, will to procure customers and promote yourself consist of?
17)Assuming that one should have a decent site, then work on multiple fronts. It must diversify. Therefore with a minimum of samples, we propose ourselves to shops or boutiques. Participate in events. Social media gave me enormous help. So I studied them a bit and considering the fact that they are the most powerful global marketing tool, I spend a lot of time there. There is not only one way to do this work, I believe that the right word is to diversify, to open up to more opportunities and I believe that this applies to any business on its own.
18) As you know, the fashion industry is marked by the spring-summer and autumn-winter collections. How do you adjust yourself? Are these strict deadlines also valid for you (if that is the case)?
18) No. I could not. I can’t think of what to create 6 months before, in anticipation of a fashion show. My creations are the result of instinct or the mood of the moment and are also timeless. You can always wear one of my jewels.
It is obvious that if you participate in an event or a fair you cannot always present yourself with the same pieces, so it is always advisable to present new subjects but this is not difficult for me, because creating is a constant of my daily life.
19)Do you have any hobbies?
19) Yes, living in a seaside town is almost taken for granted that I say that I like to walk along the shore of the sea, or in any case that I like to live the sea, all year long. I love traveling, discovering new places and then what I call “training”… I like reading, studying, documenting. I am fortunate to have a flowery terrace, full of plants that I personally cultivate and I always add new ones, and when can we, what is more beautiful than relaxing in a corner of peace?
20)If you hadn’t become a jewelry designer, what other profession do you think you could have done?
20)Probably I would have been a peasant. Don’t laugh, I’m not kidding.
I am sure I would have bought myself a small house and land to cultivate. With lavender, saffron… so many plants. Never say never, maybe one day I will combine the two. Make jewelry designers and cultivate the land. I do not exclude it, rather…
21)In the long term, what would you like to achieve? Do you have a dream?
I believe that an artist’s main desire is that his work be recognized and appreciated more and more and I think so too. I would also like to have a greater international dimension and lately, I’m devoting a lot of energy to accomplish this goal.
As for a dream not yet realized, I was not joking before, when I said that I would like to make my jewels and cultivate land coexist in harmony.
22)My last question is in my opinion one of the most crucial: what advice would you give to someone who wishes to take up the same career, to fulfill their dream of starting their own business, not necessarily in the same field?
22) Of never ceasing to study and to commit to the end, to always believe in it, especially in moments of difficulty, which will surely be there, to learn to motivate yourself. If one stops at the first hitch, he cannot speak of a dream. Otherwise… it would be just a flash in the pan.
I thank again Maria Elena Savini for making herself available and giving me a chance to know her a bit more.
As I often say: “It is always a pleasure to meet people who know how to combine beauty, in whatever form it presents itself, with kindness and lightness”.
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