Eva Papadopoulou is still inspired by myths and legends. Any piece of jewelry that the Paris-based Greek designer creates could have been worn by Hecuba, Helen, Ariadne or Olympia. All the pieces from her first collection are handcrafted in Greece, cast out of sterling silver, then plated in 24 carat gold. Only 50 copies of each piece are made. Eva Papadopoulou worked for many years in her family’s art foundry and has met with, and observed the work of, many Greek and foreign sculptors.
For your first collection you were inspired by ancient myths. How about the perfect muse of today?
She is a woman in love with timeless beauty beyond what is in fashion, the aristocratic woman, feminine and spontaneous, the woman with poise and balance.
You were fortunate enough to grow up in an artistic environment. What did it teach you?
I grew up honing my tactile and visual skills on forms that were sometimes modern and at other times strictly academic. By working in the foundry I had the good fortune to meet some acclaimed contemporary artists, both French and Greek. I heard them talk about their work, watched them create art right before my eyes, visited their workshops filled with beautiful items, often a lifetime’s worth of work. This experience shaped my aesthetics and triggered my imagination. The only thing I had to do was translate this experience into an integrated concept.
What are the similarities and differences between sculpting and jewelry making?
For some conventional jewelry designers there might be a big difference, but not for me. Pieces of jewelry are forms that are part of a series and constitute a history, much like any other object an artist might create.
You became a jewelry-designer because wanted to tell your own story. What is it about?
Initially I started to design jewelry just for myself, because I always wanted to wear something unusual and unique. I liked to imagine that I had ancient and precious pieces that had been found at an excavation site. I always admired and was jealous of the portrait of Sophia Schliemann wearing the original dazzling jewels of the treasure of Troy.
How personal can you be through your work?
I am convinced that for people to like something I make it has got to be authentic. A piece of jewelry that is the culmination of experiences is by its very nature very personal and that is what I like. I express myself through my work.
Your family comes from Skyros and Macedonia. Which are the sounds, movements and colors that you can remember?
The history and culture of my country is a source of inspiration for me; the language, music, dance. Both my parents are from places that have a rich heritage. From my father’s side I cherish the warrior sounds of the Pontos, the dances of the fearless black-clad men who make the earth tremble, the sturdy physiques of Macedonian warriors, and then the aristocratic women of the Pontos with their intricate jewelry. My mother taught me folklore art and tradition. I learned to appreciate that customs, sounds, music, folkloric ceramics and embroidery go way back in time. The blending of past and present is what appeals to me and inspires me. I would have nothing to tell if there were no past.
Why did you choose to live and work in Paris for five years?
My choice to live in France was for personal reasons. I met my husband in Paris and started a family, so I stayed. I always miss the light and the sea of my country and so I hope that one day I will return.
What’s the best compliment so far about your work? “I haven’t seen anything like this”. That was what I always wanted to hear.