A talk with... Miriam Vile

A few months ago I spent an afternoon at Miriam's place, the place where the jewel maker conceives her tiny creations. Miriam is a young and cheerful woman who's making her own business thanks to her passion for used and second-hand objects. She lives in a small home filled with objects that carry inspiring past histories (factual or imagined). That conviviality between past, present and future is what inspired me in getting closer to Miriam's working practice. We talked about her work, and she opens up to moodLKI about her story and her passions.
After spending some time with Miriam, I realized how spontaneous and "human" her creations are, following the process behind the final jewel or collection. She takes time to establish some sort of connection with the piece she might have found in a second-hand market or received as a gift by someone, and when the magic happens, the process begins. What she does is taking good care of the pieces meant to become part of a new and unique jewel.

Reading through your biography on your website, I read “[…] They all (the used objects) have a past and a story to tell.”: what's your story?
In the past, I had a job which took 100% of my time, and without knowing and believing so much in my artistic and creative abilities I didn't dare too much. I also went through a bad period, one when you would ask yourself " why is everything happening to me?!". Basically, I lost my job. I interpret that phase as a sign, so I decided to deal with it by investing in myself entirely, doing what I always wanted to do!

The time when your two projects started - your jewels production and your musical project with Camilla Sparksss - seem to coincide: what's the relationship between these two activities?
I think I started making my jewels before... Anyway, after the period mentioned before, I began to perform for Camilla Sparksss. I knew Aris and Barbara, and we had already collaborated in the past: when I worked, I used my holidays and breaks from work to go on tour with their other musical project - Peter Kernel - taking up with the merchandising.
I have to thank the Camilla Sparksss project and everything and everyone involved in it, because it gave me strength and courage and, most importantly, they believed in me. While supporting me, they allowed me to discover a side of me unknown to myself, helping me to feed and listen to this side I still had to discover.

Going back to the beginning of your jewel practice, what was your very first jewel? How did it feel?
The very first jewel I made was a necklace made with a mechanical piece of a mandolin. I was at a second-hand market, and while digging into an old box full of odds and ends, within screws and bolts, I saw it... and I remember that was love at first sight! ...Even if I didn't know what I would be doing with it I took it with me (it was too beautiful to leave it there, in that old box). After that, it took a lot of time to mature at home, one day on the table, another day in the kitchen, close to the plants, and so on... as if it was a decorative object out of place, and I felt that its beauty couldn't find its place. And one day the magic happened: while I was passing through the room I walked in front of a mirror and looking at this reflected image what I saw was a jewel. It started out like this, unexpectedly. So I developed this idea - without knowing the exact steps and how to manage this - and I started working on it.

What helps you while working on a new jewel?
When I work I need to have some music on, possibly so laud to be able to hear it while I silt, cut, hammer, and so on...  Yes, I think I'm a noisy neighbour, but without any sound, I wouldn't create in the same way as I do.

Do you have an icon, or a particular character, that inspires you?
Honestly, I don't have an icon or a specific point of reference. To feel completed the jewel has to please me first. In life, I have several people that I admire, but they are very different from each other, and I don't think they would be a point of reference for my creations. Sometimes I create a necklace, and then I say: "This would be great for that person", but he or she is not necessarily an icon.

How do you get started on a new collection?
Each collection comes from chaos, from a lot of different objects that, for one reason or another, I wanted to collect. I spread them on the table and for a couple of days or weeks the chaos reigns. 
During the year, I collect some ideas in a little book, which is the input during the creation phase. The creation process of each new collection is so long: I'm never satisfied at the beginning, so I make some drafts, I take some pictures, try some different combinations and so on. Then, I look back at what I've done. It goes on like this until the right day arrives and, like magic, something that I like appears, and so I start to focus on that idea.

What characterizes and distinguishes each collection, from the first to the latest?
All the necklaces of the 2014 collection differ from the previous ones (2012 and 2013) because they're more elegant. The mechanics used in that collection are only keys of banjo and ukulele, and they generally look tiny and full of small details than previously, close to a luxuriant and baroque look. Another great news about 2014's collection has been the cufflinks for shirts, for men, obtained by guitar's knobs for regulating the volume of the sound.
The next collection (2015) is going to be based on chains and guitar's, bass's and mandolin's keys. This time, the new items added to the collection are earrings and rings made out of knobs. This collection is characterized by its simplicity, having sober and essential lines, and is thought for a more discreet look, creating a jewel that can be worn on a casual and basic t-shirt.
Right now I've just finished some new entries, a kind of extra items added to the collection: I made some pins, and in the meanwhile, I'm collaborating with a girl who's also creating her own jewels using stones and more natural and raw materials. We're experimenting with something new, summing up our concepts, ideas, bits of knowledge and materials.

Any hope or desire for your future?
My biggest dream is to be able to do these activities for a living... I hope I'll make it!

You can meet Miriam at the following markets:
12.7.2015 at Gitana Market in Milan (IT)
17-19.7.2015 at Buskers Festival in Lugano (CH)
and more date to come... so stay tuned!


Photos & text: Laura K. Inserra