We had the good fortune of connecting with Gioia Clavenzani and Ivano Ghinelli cofounders of JAD and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Gioia and Ivano, can you share the most important lesson you’ve learned over the course of your career?
As a duo that began to work together relatively late, we both had some experience but I would say that being flexible has been our most significant achievement. The inventive capacity of creatives means that their mind is flexible in some fields, but artists can be quite rigid regarding how they see and want to sell their art. It can be a challenge when you try to make a living out of it.
Flexibility – as we have learned – means to blend what you want to create with what can be actually made. It doesn’t mean that you have to forget your values and your inspiration sources, but to understand how to cultivate them in a way that allows you to put them both in the very special conceptual – and probably unwearable – necklace and in the easiest and affordable pair of earrings.
A lesson that takes a while to be learned but in some way, it is also consonant with our idea that art should be easy to experience and enjoy.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
It is not so easy to define what sets us apart from others in our field. It probably is our commitment to always bring art into our work. Even the most simple piece has a concept behind it, an idea, a red thread connecting it to our artistic background. I know that people recognize our style, even if we change through the years. They feel our jewelry has a story, a meaning, that it is something different from just beautifully fixing a stone on a ring
The world of jewelry makers is crowded and full of different good artisans. The risk that you run is to find a good, easy nice and give it for granted, continuing to make the same pieces for long. Innovating without losing your style is not always easy, but it was necessary when we moved from Italy to Malta. It someway forced us to change, adapt, and accept new challenges, but I also think that – as creatives – we love making new, different jewelry.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would surely mix history, archeology, nature, and good food and wine. First of all some swimming, at Ghain Tuffieha, possibly the best beach on the island, with a warm – almost orange sand green crystal water. I would also go to Gnejna and Ghadira Bay.
Mnajdra and Hagar Qim Temples – among the most ancient in the world – should be seen in the early morning or the late afternoon. In this case, I would afterward go to the Dingly Cliffs for a truly special sunset.
Valletta, the capital city cannot be missed. Besides the well-known museums you can find on any tour guide, I would advise visiting the Old Armoury and the fortifications around the city. In the lower area, Valletta Contemporary – the first contemporary art gallery on the island – should not be missed as well as Studio 87, a smaller but impressive gallery.
Until a few years ago, after 5 pm. Valletta was practically a desert but now it is a lovely place for a drink until late, with lots of nice restaurants and wine bars. Alternatively, a very good fish restaurant is Ta’Aannmarì, in Marsaxlokk.
Mdina, the old walled town is another place that should be seen as well as Gozo, the second island of the Maltese Archipelago.
Social life is just picking up after the pandemic, so everything is yet to be rediscovered.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
As many do, we owe huge thanks to our families. Ivano comes from a family of artists and artisans, sculptures, goldsmiths, and jewelry designers. He grew up in a house full of their creations, which deeply influenced his view and ideas on art and jewelry. I – Gioia – want to give merit to my sons for having followed JAD’s growth with interest and passion, dispassionate criticism, and clever suggestions. If it was not for them, we wouldn’t have created several of our most recent jewelry, especially the L+G Collection.