This young designer with Serbian roots is wild, original and truly one of a kind. Although she tailors her jewellery to meet mainly her taste and not her customers’, her work has been immensely popular. Not only has she won the Czech Grand Design Award, but she also sells her jewellery in Prague’s most famous design shops Artěl and Debut Gallery and everyone interested in the field is most probably able to recognise her work.
While the overall trend in jewellery tends towards clean minimalism, Janja designs elaborate pieces with natural motives and experiments with materials. As she puts it herself, she likes balancing on the border with kitsch. And it’s been working more than well. You can spot her designs not only on the pages of fashion magazines but also in the streets of Prague. Her work reflects her own experience, never-ending fantasies and secret desires.
You’d probably have a hard time telling Janja’s wildness from her studio. In her light apartment, she skilfully combines new design furniture with older classics. The original windows, two-wing doors and wooden floors emphasize the superb furnishings. The largest room is Janja’s working room – grinders, press tools, boxes with various materials, tools, a table lamp and the all-important cup of strong coffee. It needn’t be said that designing jewellery requires total concentration.
Do you remember what your first jewel looked like?
I remember my friend making a diploma and a badge for me pronouncing me the chief pirate of the expedition. I was three or four and we were on holiday on a boat.
What is your favourite material to work with?
I’ve been using wood quite a lot recently. My imagination doesn’t work well with flat things so I need to have the possibility to model and really feel the material.
What’s the trend these days – Do women choose their jewellery themselves or do they get it from their men?
It’s half and half, really. Men tend to order engagement rings or birthday and Christmas presents from me – always something for a special occasion. And women buy things for themselves, just because they want to and it makes them happy.
You’ve won the award for Designer of the Jewel of the Year 2014 at Czech Grand Design. What does winning an award like this one mean for you?
I’m really happy of course! It makes you feel really awesome when people like wearing your jewels and, in addition to that, when others working in the same field acknowledge what you do.
How is the Czech jewel doing compared to the ones abroad?
I’ve had a few exhibitions abroad and I think that the work done here, in terms of contemporary jewellery, meets the world standards. We could see that at the SCHMUCK exhibition in Ziba. Eva Eisler managed to move the main part of the Munich exhibition (which has a long tradition) to Prague and besides that she also held an exhibition of the K.O.V. atelier of UMPRUM, which she’s the head of… I think both of the presentations were perfectly equal.
The atelier you work in is in your apartment. How’s that working for you?
It’s alright but I think I need to change the environment soon. There’s a huge disadvantage among all the positives and that is that you see your work nonstop.