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Athens Jewelry Week: Elli Xippa

Athens Jewelry Week is an annual jewellery festival founded by artists Erato Kouloubi and Niki Stylianou. AJW takes place in different locations throughout the city of Athens, Greece. As a part of Current Obsession Social Club, we are following this year’s AJW programme and initiating a series of interviews with local artists, which you can follow on Current Obsession´s website or our Instagram TV channel.

Even though jewellery wasn’t Elli Xippa’s first choice in life, after all, she found her way to it. After discovering the world of freedom, playfulness and experimentation, Elli started to create, as she often refers to her pieces, ‘living creatures’ of her imagination. As a result, she successfully launched her collection Crawling in the Deep during Athens Jewelry Week 2018 and was granted several awards for it.  Exactly a year later, Elli Xippa is back in Athens with developments of her previous collection and new forms of jewellery creatures.

 

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CURRENT OBSESSION

Firstly, what does ´creating´ mean to you?

ELLI XIPPA

Creating is a way of life. Without creation there is no evolution.

Born in Egypt, lived in Uruguay and finally settled down in Greece. How would you describe Greek artistic scene? What are the perks of being based here?

Greeks in general are very interested in arts. Especially in recent years many artistic events are hosted in our country, such as Athens Jewelry Week, which, year after year, attracts more and more people.

As for the Greek artists, they travel a lot and participate in events outside the borders.
Greece has two magical elements that can be considered as perks of living here. On one hand, the sun that helps the functioning of the mind, and on the other, the sea that surrounds our country and is a constant source of inspiration. Personally, I love the sea, as my creations will probably testify!

Crawling in the Deep 2019 Photo by Orestis Rovakis

At first you started with designing clothes. Why did you decide to switch to jewellery? Or was it a rather gradual process?

When I stopped working with clothes, I spent several stages always trying to find something new to create, until eventually I came in contact with contemporary jewellery. And this is pretty much the whole story of how it all started. I attended some lovely courses, I met wonderful people and immediately fell in love with it!

Collection Crawling in the Deep was highly acclaimed and you were granted the ALCHIMIA award, the AJW 2018, the AUTOR award and the Public award. What do the awards mean to you; has anything changed since you won these awards?

When I was working on my collection for the AJW 2018, my first goal was to be able to participate in the event. So, once they selected me and I made it to the exhibition, I was very pleased with myself and that was more than enough for me. One thing led to another and I ended up winning three awards like you mentioned! Wow, it felt amazing! I couldn’t believe my own eyes! It’s very exciting and satisfying as an artist to feel that people recognise your work and efforts. I gained a lot of self-confidence after winning these awards. But at the same time, these awards created some obligations or at least that’s how I felt. I have to get back to work, go ahead with my job and improve myself in every possible way in order to not disappoint the people who chose me and the ones with whom I shared my happiness.

The Crawling in the Deep pieces are made of pantyhose. I suppose you have a close relationship with textile in general, but is there another symbolic meaning you are trying to communicate?

Indeed, I have a very close relationship with fabric in general. Besides, working with clothes was my first job that I really enjoyed and my first jewellery pieces were made out of fabric too. The pantyhose is totally female. I discovered that if you mix it up with glue, it becomes pliable and full of surprises. I never know what its final shape will be like and I always have anxiety about the result. I do not have to communicate something specific, I like to discover it’s abilities.

Can you please talk more about the jewellery you are exhibiting this year during AJW?

This year’s collection is a follow-up of the last year’s. Again, my creatures are crawling in the deep; some, unprotected, are messed up in the shipwreck, some are tangled with garbage. Just like my thoughts, they are trapped in anxiety, fear, pressure, sadness and compression.

In one of the interviews you mentioned that in the past you didn’t wear any jewellery. Why was that? Do you wear it now, when you are actually creating it?

In my everyday life, I never used to wear jewellery. Perhaps my way of life was different. In my time, the jewellery was indissolubly linked to valuable materials. From the moment I met the alternative materials in contemporary jewellery, I wear jewellery all the time! I love them now, I will love them in the future and I will wear them even when I become an old lady with a walking stick.

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