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Yes! We’ve got the next NOI member’s interview for you, Maru Lopez!

Name: Maria Eugenia Lopez (a.k.a. Maru)
Born: 1975, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Lives and works in: Florence, Italy

Maru Lopez - Esperando, 2011. Brooches. Silver. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Maru Lopez - Esperando, 2011. Brooches. Silver. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Contemporarty™: Tell us how you discovered your passion for contemporary jewellery.

Maru: I have always had a passion for creating; I loved making jewellery, ceramics and painting when I was a kid! You name it and I tried to do it!

When I went to university I didn’t take that into consideration and studied something that only involved my brain! My hands got restless and I became unhappy so I moved on to pursue sewing, which led to studying fashion, in which I worked for a couple of years and loved it!!

From there, I decided to come to Alchimia for a short course, with the purpose of improving my line of accesories. I fell head over heels in love with the world of contemporary jewellery!! I decided to leave everything and just come here and give it my 100%!!!

Maru Lopez - Tanta carne y yo sin dientes, 2011. Necklace. Fabric, acrylic, iron. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Maru Lopez - Tanta carne y yo sin dientes, 2011. Necklace. Fabric, acrylic, iron. Photo courtesy of the artist.

C: Who or what inspires you?

M: For inspiration I use everything!! Life!!! From the most ordinary thing in front of me like a pen to my previous background, to books I read, movies, music, people. There isn’t one thing in particular. It depends more on the moment I find myself in. And what i have around to soak up!

C: How do you start creating a piece? By drawing, working directly with the material or do you have another approach?

M: I start my work process by researching. From all the ideas in my head, when I decide the direction I will follow (which in the end might be completely different from what I had projected) I start by researching the theme, the concept. I collect images and text and whatever I see as relevant. From there, I write and sketch a rough draft that then develops in to more refined drawings, which then begin to  transfrom into 3D sketches and material try outs and finally to pieces.  Well……. this is the ideal work situation! Because there are times when I just sit at the bench and play and pieces come out by themselves!!

Maru Lopez - Pass me the salt, 2011. Necklace. Fabric, acrylic, iron. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Maru Lopez - Pass me the salt, 2011. Necklace. Fabric, acrylic, iron. Photo courtesy of the artist.

C: What attracts you to the materials you use?

M: The way I approach materials depends on the ideas in my head. I usually don’t get started with a precise material in mind. I do have my preferences and I tend to gravitate towards materials that can give me a feeling of past, a feeling of use.

I work either with oxidized silver or shibuichi (a copper and silver alloy) and iron. I also incorporate fabric, threads and paints. The metals I usually work with have a high oxidation capability and provide me with a range of colors that allow me to deliberately create and effect of age. Iron and shibuichi are especially hard materials to work with in terms of soldering and malleability, and this adds a interesting aspect because I have to somehow fight and struggle to get it to do what I want. It is a challenge which I enjoy!

As for fabric, it is a balance in texture adding a softness to hard materials. Also, the process of sewing is  to me a reminder of the woman in my family. It is a repairing, a healing, a soft bonding.

Maru Lopez - C'é l'hai d'accendere? 2009. Object. Silver, shibuichi. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Maru Lopez - C'é l'hai d'accendere? 2009. Object. Silver, shibuichi. Photo courtesy of the artist.

C: Which piece is the most representative of your work? Give us some information on the making process.

M: It is almost impossible to choose one piece that can have the place of representing my whole body of work. I think they all can be given that role, but I will choose one to talk about the process: “C’e l’hai da accendere?”

It was made in 2009 and is a shibuichi and silver lighter. It is an object to keep in your pocket and caressing it in your hand. I made this piece from a love story, mine, from a book, my friends. It is a cigarrette shared, it is a first word heard. It is a moment with yourself. I made it without a plan, without intention. One day I sat at my bench with a frenzy, with energy bottled up and I let it loose and this piece came out. In this case it was like this but I sometimes sit for hours thinking, sketching researching. It depends….

C: What is the most indispensable item in your studio?

M: My bench.

Maru Lopez - Hablan, 2009. Brooches. Iron, cement, acrylic paint. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Maru Lopez - Hablan, 2009. Brooches. Iron, cement, acrylic paint. Photo courtesy of the artist.

C: What project are you working on now?

M: Right now I am in the process of researching for a new project. I just completed a year-long project, which culminated in a exhibition in September 2011. It was part of the end of my quaternitas work. So now, I am organizing myself and doing other work like constructing my website, organizing  more events and researching for my next pieces.

C: Contemporary jewellery is…

M: My language.

Maru Lopez - Chinatown, 2009. Bracelets. Silver. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Maru Lopez - Chinatown, 2009. Bracelets. Silver. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Thank you Maru for the wonderful insight in your work and your world! I can really understand how you fell in love with the world of contemporary jewellery and I’m looking forward to your new project!

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