(jiří macek) I was absolutely flabbergasted by the black necklaces and brooches made from perspex, hematite, and glass in the WRAF collection by the Slovak designer Bety Majerníková. They were reminiscent of the beautiful blue eyes of the witch from the movie Big Fish who was played by Helena Bonham Carter.
“WRAF is based on the Bubbles collection. It is just a bit darker, more black,” says Majerníková, who has been nominated for this year’s Milky Way of Central European Design exhibition that is a part of the Designblok event by the Slovak curator Lubica Hustá. The Bubbles collection of necklaces and brooches is an irreproducible play with pop culture, tenderness, kitsch, and the iconography of feminine beauty. “The two collections reflect the world of women and the feminine perception of the world. The slightly ironic Bubbles collection reflects naivety and real beauty. The WRAF collection is more serious and critical.”
What does WRAF mean?
“WRAF is an acronym for Women\\\'s Royal Air Force. But I use it as an abbreviation, as a symbol only. In the WRAF collection, I try to reflect the continuous fight of contemporary women with the surrounding world. I do not want to generalize and really would not like to be perceived as a feminist, which I definitely am not. However, I can always see many skillful and beautiful women around me who are constantly unhappy with themselves and their appearance. I think the current environment confronts them with artificial models and sets up unrealistic criteria for them. Thus, they have the impression that they have to fight all the time – for their status, career, visions, but also against bacteria, wrinkles, and overweight. Although these fights are sometimes petty, these women take them very seriously, which can result in self-mutilation, anorexia, etc.”
Why is WRAF an ironic collection?
“I would say it is more critical than ironic. It criticizes both sides. On the one hand, it criticizes the strong pressure that the media puts on certain target groups. On the other hand, I also make fun of the campaign targets because they often do not fight for themselves but against themselves, against their interests, their health, and their own bodies.”
The black pearls that I apply to the perforated parts of my objects – jewelry – symbolize missiles, bullets, and other methods of attack. These missiles are made from various materials: hematite, marble, glass, plastic, steel, and nacre. Some parts remain perforated like symbols of hitting a bull’s-eye.
The collection is being designed at the moment. I started working on it only a short time ago. I am focusing on several objects at the same time. They give a little bit of an abstract impression at the moment, but are reminiscent of the silhouettes of real things. I would like to complete the collection during the summer. I am happy that I will be able to present it at Designblok directly.”
Bety K. Majerníková is a graduate from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Bratislava. She also studied in Sunderland (UK) and Triery (D). She specialises in jewelry that – as she says – she perceives as an independent means of expression. Her original collections often blend opposing influences - for example, contemporary design with national elements. Together with Marian Hornyak, she founded a gallery of jewelry (www.nuee.sk) in Bratislava. However, she regularly exhibits all over the world.
One can find her charismatic original jewelry in New York, Holland, France, Belarus, and BosniaHerzegovina. What kind of jewelry does she wear? “I do not wear a specific piece of jewelry every day, I have to admit. Jewelry that has some sentimental value for me (jewelry from my Grandma, my mom, my boyfriend, etc.) is deposited into a box at my place. Those that I like from an artistic point of view are not usually very practical to wear, so I only wear them on special occasions. I draw a strict line between everyday jewelry and decorative or artistic jewelry that contains a set of ideas and opinions. I know my answers may seem too serious. But, well, what can I do? I am dealing with a serious issue.”
Kolekce WRAF, náhrdelník, foto: archív autorky