It is an invitation to a sensitive, poetic, and natural world. “Life is made up of small things, just like stained glass is made up of small pieces, just like a person.” Get to know the Maži dalykai brand and understand the little things that designer Jūratė Čėsnaitė hides within herself.
What does the brand represent, and is there a story behind it?
Maži dalykai is actually about small things: small porcelain and ceramic jewelry inspired mainly by nature. When I was thinking about what name to give to my work, I didn’t want it to be just another “Jurate’s Studio” (although there was a phase). “Maži dalykai” was the title of my first exhibition of graphic works, and it just continued to pop into my head. It was an exhibition of miniature drawings, so I decided to name my brand this way because even today, my work is little. Only the format has changed from 2D to 3D ☺.
Tell us about yourself as a designer. If you draw some boundaries at this point, what is important to you as a person, and what is important to you as a designer?
First of all, when I read the question about what is important to me as a person, the first thing that came to mind was FREEDOM. Freedom in everything – in life, in relationships, in creativity. I don’t accept any frames. It is tough when the freedom of speech and thought is restricted… I am a soviet child, and I have had enough of these frames. Even then, I was like a white crow: my trousers were ripped, and my father’s shirt was sticking out from under the jacket. At school, I was a quiet mouse, but outside school, I wanted to express myself, to be different from others.
Secondly, it’s peace and being with myself. Some people recharge by socializing, but I recharge in quietness. I love mornings by the sea – it’s my summer “must-have.” Peace is essential to me both as a human being and as a creator – it is like a frame, an inner backbone, on which all the other little essentials of my life rest.
The last important thing is that I have been interested in esoterics since I was very young, and even today, it takes up a large part of my time. I often listen not to music but to lectures and lessons on the subject, and I constantly learn something. When I know a lot about this field, it is easy to understand why I am attracted to such things. I get to know myself more deeply through the stars and numbers and help others do the same. I have created a candle and a jewelry collection to combine these two passions. So the mystery, all that is unknown, strange, and otherworldly, is another essential part of my personality. (Guess what my favorite film genre is? ☺) By the way, I love watching them ☺.
What are small things to you? Where do you notice them most?
Little things – from a grain of sand to a twinkling star in the sky. We see it as tiny, but it is far from it. And so it is in life – often, the seemingly insignificant little things that knock us off our feet or … give us wings.
Life is made up of small things, just like a stained glass window is made up of small pieces, just like a person. My understanding of this is very well reflected in a wonderful poem by W. Blake:
“To see a World in a Grain of Sand
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower,
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand,
And Eternity in an hour….”
Is there an idea, a moment of transformation, important to you in your work? How do you find inspiration for this?
The concept is essential to me, as it is to every artist. But maybe in jewelry, there is less of that concept. I’m more trend-oriented without, of course, betraying my sense of values and taste. I sometimes participate in exhibitions, and I’ve had a few personal ones, so the idea and the theme are like a reference point. It makes it even easier to create. Since I was a child, the most challenging thing in art classes was the “free theme.” I need something that I can resist. In jewelry making, it’s the materials I have – that give me the idea.
In addition, I admire the precision of the objects, the colors, the shapes, the idea behind them, and the possible transformation. When I started making ceramic jewelry 13 years ago, many people were amazed to realize that these small things were created from the same rough clay our ancestors used to ring pots. So I think that through my work, there has been a kind of transformation of clay from a rugged structure to a soft, sensitive one. And once I mastered this material, I moved on to a more noble and complex material, porcelain. Now it’s my favorite working material.
Red and blue are the colors that catch the eye when we look at your work. Do these colors have a specific symbolism in your designs?
You ask about blue and red in my work – honestly, I haven’t noticed them as dominant colors. Perhaps I use it more in the summer, since I associate it with the beach, the sea and holidays.
I used to position myself as a pastel-colored person, and even the brand was designed with pastels in mind – pink, beige, and azure. It wasn’t until I started working in black porcelain that I began to create a minimalist series of pieces where the primary colors are very monochromatic – black, white, gold, and platinum. These colors are diluted by an extravagant ultramarine blue, favored by more courageous women. On the other hand, blue is an accent color in my studio, appearing in the metal cabinets as a kind of allusion to the sea, which is my inspiration and my dream come true.
Nature appears in my work in the smallest forms – I recently created a pair of earrings called “Molecules” They were inspired by the famous virus, perhaps the smallest of all possible things, and the one that has disrupted the world’s life. So it’s very fitting to mention the slogan hanging on my studio’s door: ” For out of small things, big things are born.”
Tell us what your creative space looks like? Is it dominated by order or unique creative chaos?
Talking about my working environment, unfortunately, I am not a fan of order. From a very young age, I was reprimanded by my younger sister to tidy up the workplace. I’m still trying to become friends with discipline, punctuality, and organization. Still, these three things seem mission impossible for me – they’re too big for me ☺. Although I can’t say that it’s chaotic at home either, sometimes I have moments of order. So in the studio too. I keep the studio environment itself tidy; I display my work nicely. Whatever the time of year, I always have a large vase of flowers, herbs, or a pine branch. Many people here say it is nice and cozy without wanting to leave. The studio is my second home, but my desk… well, it’s better not to see it. Ceramics is quite dirty work, always a lot of dust. And if I have an idea, everything can go to the corner of my desk until I get it done… Of course, cleanliness is essential to me, and I couldn’t live in total disarray, but… if I were told to choose between dusting my room and reading a book, the choice would definitely be the book.
You live by the sea. Do you think that your hometown Klaipėda influences your work?
I won’t be original, but nature is a significant source of inspiration for me. Birds and flowers are the main elements in my work, and the crown is a signature feature. I started using it 25 years ago in my first phase of work. In my graphic drawings, I used crowns on the background, so the crown came organically into jewelry and eventually became a trademark.
And do you think about the person who will wear your jewelry? Tell us about him.
When I create jewelry, I don’t think about the person who will wear it. I design what I like, with some awareness of trends. However, I pay attention to the person I sell my work to. If I see that it doesn’t match, I suggest another piece of jewelry. I care about who wears the jewelry because it’s like a piece of me and a brand representation.
How is the design community in Lithuania? Is there a specific change, and is it important to be part of this community?
Year after year, Lithuanian design never stops impressing me. Our designers are genuinely dynamic in this field, open to new things, and innovative. From jewelry to furniture design, there are real gems in every area. I am happy to be part of this community.
What about the music? Do you like to listen to it while you work and create? If so, what kind of music could we hear if we came to your studio unexpectedly?
Ooo…music has been a big part of my life since I was a little girl. But I’ve always been afraid of the stage, so a brush and pencils replaced the piano. I still play the piano today; my sons are very musical – the eldest and I play four hands, and the youngest plays the violin, so I accompany him.
I owe my musical taste to my mother and her brothers. As a child, we listened to Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, Phil Collins, Elton John, Chic Corea, John Anderson and Vangelis, Kate Bush, and others. (I don’t know where he got them from in those days – which was another unique thing, listening to something other than what everyone else was listening to ☺.
I often listen to classical jazz when I work – Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Stacey Kent, Lizz Wright, Randy Crawford, and Diana Krall, amongst the modern ones. I also love the classical genre – Bach, Haydn, Tchaikovsky, and Chopin – and I enjoyed playing their works. Of course, I’m not without contemporary music. I like severe instrumental music with tasteful vocals. As a fan of mystery and fairy tales, my favorites include names like Colleen McKenneth, Enya, and Clannad. Sometimes I listen to the sound of the sea, specific hertz or…silence.
I can say that I am a happy person because my dreams are coming true. By the way, talking about dreams and music, I remember a moment in a small town in Spain: we went into a cozy little art gallery, and there was music playing. When I asked who it was, the first thing I heard was Billie Holiday. Then I thought: “I wish one day I could have my studio with Billie Holiday’s music.”