Interview to Annelise Mercier, student at Le Arti Orafe and Amber Prize winner

Annelise Mercier, 24, French, student of the first year of jewellery making at Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School, was awarded the Amber Prize at the “Amberif Design Award International Amber Jewellery Design Competition”.

The jury’s reasons for assigning the prize to the Arti Orafe’s student: “the piece shows sensitivity and intuition in the crafting of this special material”.
This is an important recognition to Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School as well, which has gained within the Amberif Design Award aknowledgements of four more of its students through the publication of their works in the contest’s catalogue. These are: Giulia Maestripieri, Zhang Hao, Maria Domenica Pittorru e Yuri Di Marcoberardino.

Back from Amberif 2017, the most important exhibition on amber and the biggest jewellery event in Central Europe with more than 450 companies and 7.000 visitors, Annelise tells us her emotions on this significant experience.

– Annelise, congratulations on behalf of all the staff at Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School, what motivated you to participate at this important  international competition?

I decided to take part on this competition for its concept and because I found it interesting to work on such a particular material as amber is. The competition’s theme also inspired me, the suburbs, which I find especially current in this period of contrast between city suburbs and centres.It was a challenge to understand my ability in creating a project based on a specific subject. I find it was a beautiful experience because we designers will have to respond to our customers’ requests in the future. It was certainly interesting and also a little stressful.

Such an experience has allowed me to learn new techniques and I enjoy having been able to combine two different crafts: jewellery and wrought iron. I also had the opportunity to work with a stucco master for the moulding and the resin.

– What did you want to represent in your work?

I wanted to work on the contrast between the suburbs and the centre. The centre represents development, safety, the known, power and wealth.
But the centre is also a comfortable prison, a comfort zone in which one prefers to remain for fear of change and of the unknown.

On the contrary, the suburbs surround the centre, they are the less deveoped part, in search of an identity and thus more open to the unknown, to surprise and to change.
These two parts seem separated but one  somehow needs the other: the suburbs need the centre to grow and the centre needs the suburbs to understand that there are many things to discover and that it must open to surprise and change.

One difference that I decided to keep also in the selection of the materials. The centre is represented by the ring in iron, a cold and dark metal. A ring which is not completely closed, it leaves in fact a little opening to the suburbs. The suburbs are represented by the part in amber which, due to its color and transparency, reflects the openness of the suburbs. The faces have a mocking expression towards the centre and its close-mindedness but at the same time a certain excitement for what it represents and the wish to share.

– Would you like to thank somebody in particular for your success?

I thank the teachers and workshop assistants at Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School because without their help I wouldn’t have been able to win this prize.

– What do you expect from your professional future?

I have a diploma in Interior Design and a professional certificate in Wrought Iron Crafting. This year I am in Florence at Le Arti Orafe Jewellery School to study jewellery making and gain the skills and abilities to keep on growing professionally and artistically.

Thank you Annalise Mercier and congratulations from all Le Arti Orafe’s staff.