Interview by Taylor Dent — Photographs by Eric Rose and Alessandra Murgia
Over the past decade, Alessandra Murgia has emerged as a figurehead in contemporary jewelry design. Born on the island of Sardinia off the coast of Italy, Ms. Murgia’s career enabled her to work in Amsterdam, London and New York. But it wasn’t until 2011 that she created Autocana, her own jewelry line composed of pieces based on her fascination with symbolism. For her third collection, Ms. Murgia released Permanente in Spring 2014, which features necklaces and rings inspired by scarf holders, bolo ties and geometry.
We first noticed Ms. Murgia’s spike earrings on display one afternoon at Stand Up Comedy in Portland. On first glance, their cylindrical design appears both punk-inspired (like ear tapers) and sculptural.
Eager to learn more about the hand behind the line, we asked Ms. Murgia a few questions:
Marrrow Magazine: Why did you call your latest collection Permanente?
Alessandra Murgia: I chose the word because it has an idea of timelessness, and creating pieces that transcend the aesthetic of their times is one of my aspirations. “Permanent” is also a word used for collections owned by galleries and museums, which appeals to me. It’s an important artistic statement for the label and for myself and represents a current manifesto of our best work.
MM: You mentioned that Sardinian scarf holders inspired one of the pieces in the Permante collection. How did you translate this shape into a contemporary design?
AM: The one piece is inspired by Sardinian scarf holders is One. It unifies two objects, a necklace and a pair of earrings, into a single piece. I like to call it an Earlace. Traditional Sardinian holders are clasps, sometimes heart shaped, used with headscarves and connected through one or multiple hanging chains. I designed a contemporary reinterpretation translating the chains into two long ropes that wrap around as a necklace, and the scarf holders into a pair of earrings. I wanted to create a statement, highly customizable piece.
MM: Your jewelry is geometric. Are you ever tempted to create figurative pieces?
AM: All the figurative elements that have been part of my inspiration are translated in graphic symbols and engraved on the pieces or packaging. I like to combine geometric shapes and figurative graphics, and this has become a strong signature language for the label. I also feel, I have not yet investigated all the opportunities with the geometric language. It may happen gradually and will be probably a mix of both.
MM: Do you have a favorite piece in the collection?
AM: I don’t have one. Depending on seasons and my mood I will wear different pieces. Lately my favorites are the Marble Rings, especially the ones I created for a small capsule collection for the Frye Art Museum Store.
MM: What would 18 year old Alessandra think of your jewelry collection?
AM: I was a goth at that age, so I don’t think the multicolor fade pieces would have resonate with my taste at the time! Without question I would have loved to wear the Studs, the Bolos and the Statement rings. My fascination with esoterica and symbolism goes back to my teenage years, that has never changed and I doubt it will.
View the entire collection at Autoctona’s website.
Leave a Reply
Brady Lange is well-versed in designing for the Portland market; in his SS14 collection, the signature modes of the Northwest aesthetic are clear, in particular the embellishments of sim . . .
Last night was Brady's last night on Project Runway: Under the Gunn, and tonight he'll release his S/S14 collection. I spoke with Brady last week about what he's up to next: Marrow . . .
When I first chatted with Nathan VanHook, he was working in Miami at Art Basel, and I was across the country, footing through the snow-sloshed sidewalks of downtown Portland. We were . . .