Born in Bozen, she now lives between her city and Milan. Valentina Romen has dedicated herself to the creation of bronze jewellery for 7 years, but her encounter with handcraft occurs way earlier. From April on Valentina’s creations will be exhibited in the courtyard of Hotel Flora. Come visit us for a coffee or an aperitivo!
Hi Valentina! How was Eigenart born? What was the path that brought you to become an artisan of hand-made jewels? Was there someone or maybe a period of your life that inspired you the most?
Hi guys! Right after my high school finals I already felt the desire to become a restorer and I had the opportunity to work for two important studios, where I put my hands on both panel and canvas paintings, sometimes even frescoes. I graduated in History of Art at DAMS in Bologna, and the different stimuli and opportunities led me to explore different work possibilities in the world of art, especially about exhibition planning.
Although pretty soon I once again felt the need to create something with my own hands so I attended some goldworking classes. It is mostly the lost wax fusion technique that gives me the biggest freedom: being able to realise small sculptures, following (either or both) geometrical and anatomical lines.
I often start by living in the nature surrounding me, in South Tyrol. I look at the rocks, I transform them by moulding their shapes in wax and leave the fusion to a specialised artisan. And so the rock becomes bronze.
But I do like to go further. I take pictures of the rocks and move them on a thin sheet of aluminium. Or I make them fluid and light with a print on silk. So the courageous climbers ascend on the human body, hold on to the rope around their necks, secure themselves like pins on cuffs, they grasp onto sweaters. When a jewel is not worn, it is often guarded afar. To give a new life to the object, the climber is hanging inside the picture of a rock printed on aluminium. The picture is the support, the jewel case. The rock stays on the wall, the climber can leave for his excursion and goes back home to the cliff.
In my path I see the pleasure of continuous research.
Who is Valentina beyond Eigenart? What do others not know about you? Your secret passions, a detail of your personality. What other forms of art catch your attention besides, of course, handcraft?
I am someone who is looking for harmony of movement, both in what I do and in my relationship with the surrounding world. A not-so-secret passion is travelling. Travels of considerable length, to explore my destination slowly, to feel like a local and find a routine far from home. I love gardening, which is a physical thing, a confrontation with forces that I cannot influence in their entirety.
I will share with you the name of my favourite dessert, the Zwetschgendatschi, a shortcrust pastry pie with plums, linked to the period around my birthday. I love going to the mountains, both in the winter and summer, even though I suffer from vertigo!
I would love to dedicate some time to pottery, but I fear that, at least for now, it would take me away from metals. And I am not ready yet.
Bozen and Venice: two realities that strive away from each other. On one side a city lulled by the quiet of the mountains surrounding it and on the other a chaotic island – as we can see in this spring – immersed in the laguna. Two important cities which still have a common denominator: the pleasure of engaging with commercial and cultural exchanges. What do you personally like about one and the other? As a “visitor” we are curious to know which aspects of Bozen you see in Venice and what you find to be completely new.
It might be a common thing to say, but Venice is unique. Personally, on a first impact, I would not associate the word “chaotic” with Venice. On the contrary, as a visitor, I love to experience the city in the moments during which it is at its quietest, in the evening or in the night. I generally like the noises of this city. Venice reassures me because here I feel close to water (an element I love), but it is not the open sea (which scares me). I need boundaries. This cohabitation with water stimulates a passion in me, as the idea of going down a calle and at its end realising that I have to go back. Yes, I do like this pondered risk, the necessity to not be hasty in Venice.
Yes, both cities are on the border and owe a lot to their trading history, which has now been replaced by tourism. This is the reason why in both I find hospitality, the kind of hospitality which wishes to be high end and tries to defend itself from a fast invasion – especially when we talk about big ships or closing off mountain paths due to mindless tourism.
What keeps you inspired as of today? Is there a ritual, or rather some habits, maybe even an environment that contributes to completely submerging you in the creative process? What helps you?
My inspiration stretches in many directions, and that makes me accept criticism from some dear friends whenever I go from concrete geometrical shapes to a playful world like that of monkeys. At the same time it is my clients who inspire me with requests that apparently strive away from my own research. They throw an idea at me and I let it drag me along.
When I am working on geometrical shapes it is my instinct that guides me; otherwise, if I am working on human or animal figures, I like to understand the movement and immerse myself in the iconography.
Tell us a little about your creations.
The main materials I work with are wax, during the assembling and creative stage, and bronze, as the final material. When I am satisfied with the result I make a 3D gum print, a negative of the object, through which I can replicate it multiple times; but even in that case I love re-elaborating waxes, to make each object unique. I would never want to get bored with what I have on my hands!
If I had to choose three adjectives I would say my work is dynamic – amiable – tactile.
Dynamic because movement fascinates me and I try to represent objects as they are moving by reproducing the dynamism of gestures.
Amiable because it welcomes dialogue, an intimate exchange.
Tactile: because of the pleasure of having it in your hands.
And I would love to add others! Conflicting, because of the tension between the rigidity of the material and the softness of the movement. Lively because the jewels go with everything and give a touch of likeable elegance to those who wear them.