Truth is a gem

Local artist/jeweler Alexandra Tumanov finds wisdom in her work

  • Local jewelry designer Alexandra Tumanov. – Dylan Hewlett

  • Dylan Hewlett

  • Dylan Hewlett

  • Colin Vandenberg

A society that values critical thinking over any sort of certitude or emotional reasoning produces a lot of cynics. And beyond just a general distrust of others, cynicism often comes with a loss of hope - in others, in ourselves, and in humanity on the whole.

That’s why we need people like local artist/jeweler Alexandra Tumanov. We need people to believe that, as she says, “When you find the right medium, it chooses you.” We need people who believe that being a full-time artist is a profession; people who still leap into the fray, instead of just dipping a toe in.

“I was just thinking the other day, ‘You’re living the dream,’” Tumanov laughs.

And, in looking around her studio space nestled about the Exchange Community Church on Albert Street, littered with plants and projects frozen in mid-thought, it’s not hard to believe.

Though she’s only been a full-time jeweler for a year, and still developing her line, Regalia, business is great.

“Word of mouth is spreading fast and gaining speed, and it’s making me gain speed, so it’s a win-win situation,” she says.

That being said, she doesn’t give in to false sense of urgency so many of us are prey too.

“Taking it slow in the beginning is important to me,” she says. “I want to be able to enjoy the steady rise.”

That sincerity, and unabashed joy for what she does, is what makes her part artisan, part sage. At 30, she already understands that delicate balance between commissioned work and passion projects.

“I love that this is my my job now - making jewelry - but I don’t want to be somebody that just does their job.”

“I want to still be considered an artist and not just a jeweler,” she continues. “There is a distinction - a small distinction - but (it’s) an interesting one to me.”

Eyes wide, Tumanov starts listing off the unlikely places she finds inspiration to keep it fresh. Among them: magic realism, music, Italian cinema, and above all: people around her.

“I just want to put jewelry on people. (I see) people who are really artistic looking, and I really want to enhance their look. So, all day I beat on metal because I want to make people look really cool.”

Watching Tumanov fire up a ring, and pound it to size while talking about the patron who gave her her first big break, feels somehow like a break with reality.

Apparently it takes a city to raise a jeweler; a city like Winnipeg with a strong artist community.

“Winnipeg is a total gem for artists,” she says, getting animated. “Artists flock to each other, and get into protective little circles…and each circle is so distinct and has its own aesthetic.

“And we all support each other - all these little circles floating around together.”

For more information about Tumanov’s Regalia line of jewelry, visit http://forfantasticpeople.blogspot.ca.

Published in Volume 67, Number 12 of The Uniter (November 21, 2012)

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