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MAKING CONNECTIONS:

Jewellery with meaning TEXT: SIMON WILLMORE  |  PHOTOS: ARGO STUDIOS JEWELLERY

Most people only buy jewellery for its aesthetic quality, but Margo Dubovik is aiming to create a more meaningful connection, with her company, Argo Studios. “I started with mini-sculpture five years ago,” starts Dubovik. At the time, of all things, she was working in computer science – and has a Master’s degree in cybernetics – but she ensures me that such turn of events was not too dramatic, because the artistic part of her life also requires technology. The equipment may be cutting-edge, but the inspiration reaches back much further in time, to ancient Japan. “During my childhood, I spent a lot of time in the State Museum of Oriental Art,” explains USSR-born Dubovik, who moved to Amsterdam in 2016. The jewellery beads – netsuke in Japanese – are not just Asian in design; ancient approaches required that such jewellery also 18  |  Issue 53  |  May 2018

have a functional aspect. Dubovik’s beads operate as a kind of good luck charm, or ‘introverted artwork’ as she describes it: “The pieces, that you know are there but are not obvious to others, help you to feel connected. Other companies just focus on the look, but my pieces focus on the meaningfulness of the sculpture – they symbolise something.” The symbolism is also clear in her ‘Grim’ series, a study of the journey to the underworld, as represented in different cultures. “Each religion we looked at has a character that transports souls to the afterlife: Yama in Hinduism; Hermes in Greek mythology, the Grim Reaper in the west; Anubis in ancient Egypt,” explains Dubovik. She tells me the collection asks “What comes next?”, displaying more evidence of connections – this time, between life and death. It is this sense of connection that means Dubovik’s clientele are crucial during the design phase of her jewellery. “I have a community where we exchange ideas.

Peace; comfort; strength; energy; these are what people want. People enjoy talking about the jewellery, and participating in the process, so much, that we often become friends.” The designs themselves are prototyped in wax before a metalworking cast is printed. After casting, polishing and painting, they are ready – the manufacturing itself is easy and “can be done in a day,” she assures me. However, the visualisation is the hard part, and certain pieces – like the face of David Bowie – can take more than a year. “My general idea is that we need to enjoy this current moment more, so I have tried to create light-hearted joyful objects that make us feel happier about the now,” concludes Dubovik. That is a design mantra that anyone could agree with. Learn more about Argo Studios at argo-works.com or follow her on social media: facebook.com/argostudiosjewellery and instagram.com/argostudios.