Agnieszka Maksymiuk, a Polish jewellery designer knew she was destined to be an artist. Having dabbled in various art and craft forms, Agnieszka found jewellery to be the perfect medium to express her creative self. Blending the lines between photography, painting, sculpting and art, her jewellery pieces go beyond the realm of simple ornamentation.
Experimenting with organic forms on the one hand, and architectural structures on the other, Agnieszka herself handpaints most of the pieces. Selling under the brand name Maksymi.uk, her latest collection captures the essence of cities in metal.
Agnieszka is one of the few budding jewellery designers chosen to showcase her creations this August at the International Jewellery London (IJL), one of the most notable jewellery shows in the world. On the brink of a huge milestone, Agnieszka Maksymiuk talks to ALIYA LADHABHOY about charting her route of self-discovery, her creative journey and what lies ahead.
When did you decide to pursue jewellery design as a career?
When I began my Master of Arts in industrial design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk (Poland), I knew that I wanted to only make art. Over the five years, I explored all the art and craft disciplines and decided to do my Master’s in jewellery. I chose it as my main interest because it combines all the other areas of art – painting, sculpting, photography and graphic design. Creating jewellery gives me the freedom to express myself. My uncle, who lives in Poland, is a jeweller; and so, it makes me believe that jewellery designing is in my blood. In 2011, I moved to Birmingham in United Kingdom and enrolled in the HND Jewellery & Silversmithing course at the School of Jewellery at Birmingham City University. Currently, I am an artist in residence and a visiting lecturer at the jewellery school.
- From inspiration to the final piece, Agnieszka tracks the design development of a pendant and ring.
Has art always been a dominating factor in your life?
For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed drawing and painting. Even as a child, I was aware that I would become an artist in the future. Any celebration was a good occasion to present my paintings to my family members who have retained them even after all these years. To explore my passion I attended many art classes. My time at the Academy of Fine Arts was a natural progression of my passion.
When did you begin selling your jewellery?
I started selling my products in 2011 – first through anonline shop, and later through three galleries in Poland. Ialso exhibited at the St. Dominic’s Fair 2011 in Gdansk,which is the biggest street trading and entertainment event in Poland. All these experiences were a good start and gave me a taste of what it’s like to be a jewellery designer.
However, the jewellery I was making at that time was very different compared to my current creations. I didn’t know traditional making techniques very well, therefore to improve designs and quality I decided to take on the HND Jewellery & Silversmithing course.
What was the first jewellery piece that you created?
My first serious jewellery piece was a part of my master’s thesis collection. It was an author’s jewellery collection with the creative usage of rapid prototyping technology. My main objective was to create something real and authentic. The jewellery was based on human tomography scans.
Tell us a little more about your role as an artist in residence at the School of Jewellery, Birmingham?
Being an artist in residence is an amazing experience and a big pleasure. Once a week, I mentor the students enrolled in the jewellery school by tracking their progress and helping them achieve their goals. In return, I’ve been given access to bench space and facilities within the school’s outstanding workshops for the duration of one year, which allows me to develop my own work and technical skills in a creative environment.
What inspires your work?
It’s hard to say what it is exactly. I derive inspiration from everything around me. I express my observations and feelings through my work. I also love to be surrounded by nature and I’ve found an interest in fluid organic forms.
What does your jewellery stand for and who does it cater to?
My creations are small sculptures that double up as jewellery.
- Pieces from the Sandomierz city series featuring the stripflint stone found exclusively in Sandomierz.
How does it feel to be selected as one the outstanding new designers that will showcase at the IJL show in August?
I’m very excited to showcase my creations at the IJL. This gives me an amazing opportunity to launch my jewellery in a professional environment and I hope to create new contacts and find the right people who would be interested in my products. I will showcase my Architectural collection, which will include some brand new pieces, crafted especially for the show.
Will you be broadening your retail presence and brand soon?
I think it’s very important to have a presence in the marketplace, so I will definitely develop my brand Maksymi. uk by exhibiting at retail and trade fairs. At the moment, though, I am focusing on the United Kingdom, but I’d like to showcase my pieces internationally as well.
What helps you unwind after a hard day’s work?
I like to be surrounded by nature as it keeps me calm and helps me relax. British weather is not always kind; however, when it’s not raining I like to go for a walk along the canals or to the park, which is close to my residence. Listening to the sounds of nature and looking at the trees gives me energy to work even harder the next day.
If not for jewellery design, what would you have pursued?
I worked as a make-up artist for a couple of years which gave me a lot of satisfaction. It’s a very creative and aesthetic craft, where attention to detail and understanding of colour are essential. It’s my second interest after jewellery.