Designer Spotlight: Amy Kanka Valadarsky
A BRIEF STORY OF WHAT YOU DO AND WHY YOU DO IT
People would say I create jewelry pieces, I want to think I can make dreams come true. There is nothing like watching the delight of a customer putting on my ‘walk on the beach' ring on her finger for the first time and telling me it so much more beautiful than in the picture. Or seeing the amazed look on my mother's face when she gets her birthday gift – ‘You really did this? It's the most beautiful thing I have …'
HOW DID YOU GET INTO JEWELRY DESIGN?
There was a time in my life when life revolved around doing business for 20 hours a day, and I took a conscious decision I want more than to help company sell software. So I enrolled to a jewelry making class, followed by 3 years of studying metalsmithing in a private studio. And the rest as they say is history
What Makes Your Collection Unique?
I think that what really make my collection unique is the fact that the pieces have a story and a meaning. And yes, I do think they are beautiful, but I really think the greatness of a jewelry piece is in that it should inspire and uplift your spirit not just adorn your body. My new collection, ‘gentle strength' is my way of saying that aggressiveness is not the only way to be strong and gentleness should not be mistaken for weakness. As Goethe once said ‘ there is nothing as strong as gentleness, nothing is so gentle as true strength'
What Are your inspirations?
In almost all cases I can trace my inspiration back to nature. It can be a beautiful natural stone that needs setting, or a walk on the beach or the budding leaves in the spring. I just love nature and love the fact I can capture its spirit in a piece of jewelry.
HOW ARE YOU MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN YOUR LIFE?
I think one of the best ways of making a difference is to be an optimistic happy and creative person and inspire your close family, friends and people you come in contact with. I also volunteer once a week, meet with a teenage girl – be a ‘big sister' and recently started to play with an idea to combine volunteering with jewelry making and maybe create a class for young woman teaching them a bit of jewelry design.
What's something unusual about you that makes you “you”?
That's a tough one…I guess it is the combination of my love of learning, love to create and love to make people happy. I am young enough to enjoy and experience new things, and old enough to know what a gift this is.
WHAT'S THE BIGGEST STRUGGLE IN RUNNING YOUR JEWELRY BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS? OR WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SUCCESS IN RUNNING YOUR BUSINESS LIKE A BUSINESS?
My biggest challenge is exposing my work to the right audience. I think partly is that only lately I was able to define more clearly what is it I want to achieve with my jewelry. Also, I know…..it takes time