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‘I loved playing with Yiayia’s jewellery box’: Zoe Grigoris on her first solo exhibition

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Zoe Grigoris is an Adelaide based contemporary jeweller and artist. Her work is feminine and romantic and plays on ideas of daydreams, nostalgia and themes inspired by childhood memories and travels to Greece. 

In between working in her studio space in Adelaide’s CBD and her visits to the JamFactory where she presents her first solo exhibition in this year’s South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival, Zoe sat down with The Greek Herald to discuss how she brings her heritage in her art and why creation is important in a fast-fashion and trend-led world. 

Q: Zoe, tell us a bit about your Greek heritage and how it inspires your work?

A: Mum was born in Athens; her family are from the Peloponnese and Dad’s family are from Sparta. When I visited Greece, I was inspired by the artists I met while travelling – their work was really different to what I’d been taught at University, they had a more playful approach to technique which is something I’ve tried to bring into my own practice.

My work is inspired by nostalgia and memory, and growing up I loved playing with Yiayia’s jewellery box. I remember she had a pearl necklace that was strung together like lace, which inspired the technique I used to make my Springtime Necklace in my current exhibition.

Photo R: Jeweller and artist Zoe Grigoris and Photo L: Zoe’s Sprintime Necklace

Q: When did you first realise you wanted to pursue a career as a jeweller?

A: I always wanted to work in the arts, I studied Drama at Flinders Uni before moving into Jewellery. I was drawn to the intimate nature of jewellery and the attention to fine detail – But it was when I started JamFactory’s associate training program that I realised I wanted to focus on building my career as a contemporary jeweller. 

Q: What it is like being a jeweller in a fast-fashion and trend-led world?

A: I love fashion and feel inspired by well-made, creative design but I don’t pay too much attention to the whims of fast fashion. I’ve learnt the beauty of creating work that is timeless and doesn’t follow trends. I also feel a responsibility to produce pieces that can be passed down through generations and loved despite the ever-changing trends.

Q: What do you want people to feel when wearing your jewellery? 

A: My work is very whimsical, so I hope they feel a sense of wonder and given that my pieces are often gifted or commissioned to commemorate a special moment, I hope that people attach their own memories to their unique piece.

Q: What is the most treasured item you have created so far and what makes it special?

A: I’ve made so many special pieces – but I think the engagement rings I’ve made for close friends have been the most treasured, especially the ones that were surprises. 

Wedding rings created by Zoe Grigoris. Photo: Instagram/zoegrigoris

Q: You are currently presenting your first solo exhibition named ‘Social Medea’ what does it include?

A: I’ve made a collection of jewellery and wall-pieces which are accompanied by a short film by Steph Daughtry. Each piece is hand-made with my unique pattern.

The exhibition was inspired by the nostalgic ideals associated with jewellery and the way memory slips and transforms, it feels very magical and romantic.

Q: What is your advice to younger people who would like to follow in your footsteps? 

A: I really believe in practice makes (almost) perfect, so if you have an affinity for art then continue to push your creative and technical skills and build your own aesthetic as an artist – sometimes you have to make a bunch of terrible things to reach something you’re really proud of.

To find out more about the South Australian Living Artists (SALA) Festival visit: www.salafestival.com 

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