At the intersection of art and jewelry is a unique and enchanting creative space created by the designer Milena CM herself. Through her artistic research, the designer invites us to stop and connect with the present moment. In this interview, we have the privilege to get to know Milena’s creative process, inspirations, and insights and experience the thought and consciousness behind her work.
What’s behind the MISSHAPEN brand name? Is there a story behind it?
The name MISSHAPEN (meaning deformed or having an unusual shape) was born from the idea that the beauty of jewelry should not fit into conventional frames or reflect traditional aesthetic values. The name holds a lot of meaning for me as I have always felt that my perception, particularly when it comes to beauty, is a bit misshapen. I have never found what is conventional or acceptable, and sometimes just to avoid an awkward situation, I would acknowledge society’s accepted standards of beauty by thinking: “yes, it is beautiful,” but in my mind, I would finish the sentence with “but not for me.”
Therefore, the word MISSHAPEN is multi-layered, and in the first collection, it reflected visually through misshapen, unusual, and deformed objects. The second collection, IOCUS, acquired a much deeper meaning. It shifted from matter to perspective, about human perception, what adorns and what does not, and whether these “standards created by society” or thought patterns shaped by trends are not misshapen in themselves.
How and when did your love for jewelry begin?
It did not appear, and it does not exist. I know how it sounds – a madwoman who makes jewelry and has no great affection for jewelry (and who sometimes boldly criticizes it) But! Reflecting on the origins of jewelry and why it came into being – jewelry was a tool to help you recognize your tribe, or a slightly more mystical function – an amulet, a stone to protect you from the evil eye, from bad luck. Jewellery, since its origin, has fundamentally changed. It has lost its original idea and its function.
Today, jewelry has become a means of showing status, expressing luxury and financial wealth, or a symbol of following fashion trends, and I choose not to be part of it. Besides, I have never referred to MISSHAPEN as a jewelry brand; I always try to emphasize that they are wearable design objects.
The concept of the jewelry’s value is very rarely discussed. How would you define the worth of jewelry yourself, if you would like to define it at all? Who is a well-dressed person to you?
I want to define values. I talk a lot about this in my latest collection, “A third of a second.” But if we talk about the importance of beauty or what makes us beautiful and what maybe doesn’t, I would like to emphasize that we are most outstanding simply while being ourselves. And speaking about Jewellery — it is just a small detail which sometimes may be adorning, sometimes – disturbing.
I think another thing that adds beauty to a person and separates them from the crowd is their manners. The way they speak, not only with words but also with body language, while walking down the street or dancing in public. And if I had to single out one piece of jewelry which I wear everyday, it would be perfume.
It’s been five years since your first collection, in which you talk about nostalgia as a kind of moment of self-identification. Are there things that you particularly miss now?
Thank you for your reminder and your thoughtfulness. Indeed, in the first collection, I talked a lot about longing and not being able to be in the present because, in my mind, I was already longing for something that was yesterday.
And today, I can happily say I have learned how to stop, connect with the present moment and enjoy it while it last.
You’ve been exploring people’s fascination with luxury in your recent works. What does “luxury” mean to you, and what do you value most in life?
Freedom to be. As you want, where you want.
Are experimentation and freedom a big part of your work? Or is everything more structured and well thought out?
And yes and no. I am a very structured, pragmatic, and precise person. So the structure is the basis of my work and the beginning of my creativity. However, I have noticed that I often deviate from the first plan and that the initial hypothesis I set out is only sometimes correct. So I have to take an unexpected direction. There are a lot of structured experiments in my work, even though the two words don’t really go together.
Do you see any changes in yourself as a creator and person from the beginning of your work until now? May you have developed an interest in other themes and ideas?
Yes, very. Going back to the meaning of the word MISSHAPEN, which is the basis of my work, I am getting increasingly to the point where I am no longer interested in making objects. I want to go deeper into the question of the ethics of jewelry, not the aesthetics of it. Therefore, the central part of the new collection is the artistic research and the accompanying article rather than the creation of a new product.
What could we see in the future of your work? Do you already have any ideas?
You might not see any of my work in the future. That’s exactly the primary goal of the new MISSHAPEN collection, to create nothing that could be consumed. And although there is a piece in the collection — and I have to clarify my point — the goal for the future of my work is to avoid bringing another new product to the market.
It’s always interesting to get to know local creators through music. What musical sounds and rhythms fill the air around you, and how do they inspire your work? Or perhaps you find inspiration from other sources?
Music is an integral part of my life, but when I create, I prefer silence. If you still want recommendations, I’ve included Sega Bodega, especially cover’s and for this discovery, I have to thank my Dear friend Stefanija Jokštytė.