We interviewed Milena CM from Lithuania the emerging designer of  Misshapen, a jewelry brand focused on slowness.

Porcelain jewels with fluid and imperfect shapes based on the concept of the lack.
A creative process that is a philosophy of life of the designer.
Pure creative calm.

Tell me about yourself and your work.

“Misshapen” was born out of many things: adventures and life experiences taking place in parallel, simultaneously. For me, it’s like a blending of consciousness and subconsciousness: you look for something beautiful and interesting out there but can’t find it, so you decide to create it yourself, while at the same time your own life is taking its course. The concept for “Misshapen” was born in Berlin where I recently lived for a couple of years. Berlin has a very strong art scene that I was very happy to be able to observe it during those years. I was going to lots and lots of exhibitions and was amazed by some of the artists’ works. I think it had a huge impact on my own work. Now I have come back to live in Vilnius which is where I finished the collection and I think this has also influenced the final result. Vilnius is much calmer, cleaner and slower than Berlin. I think the latter was great for inspiration, while I can’t think of a better place than Vilnius when it comes to aesthetic finishing. There is a slight bit of sarcasm in it too, in terms of why I chose jewellery. I have thought and discussed quite a lot about what jewellery is. Do we really need it, is there a practical side to it and does it have a deeper purpose than just to make somebody prettier? That’s why when I decided to create my own jewellery line – by the way, I don’t like calling it that, I find porcelain on-body objects more suitable – I was thinking that it should be impressive, gigantic and at the same time ironically unpractical. I see the person who chooses to wear my creations as someone who is bold in life, likes attention, crosses boundaries, but at the same time has this other soft and caring side, because they chose jewellery from porcelain rather than precious metal.

What does inspire you during creation?

Silence, concentration, forgetting everything around me and porcelain’s fragility that requires absolute focus – neither thoughts nor actions can be distracted, at certain moments you need speed while at other times what is required is carefulness and softness. I am very grateful to the circumstances that led to me getting acquainted with porcelain, I don’t even know whether it was I who discovered it or porcelain that discovered me. At any rate, I feel that it developed in me certain qualities that had not be very strong before – now they’re only getting stronger and stronger, which makes me extremely happy.

Tell me about the concept behind your collection.

The concept is quite simple – imperfect shapes, strange and unusual aesthetics and fragility. The concept has also been dictated by this almost conscious break with today’s jewellery trends. I wouldn’t say that I follow other designers’ work or jewellery trends, on the contrary, I don’t look for inspiration on Pinterest or similar places online, but today it is hard not to notice what’s “trendy”. I believe that unworked and raw natural materials are living a kind of renaissance in jewellery right now (for instance, pearls and shells). I don’t use them on purpose – I prefer organic side of the process and then trying to make it as natural as possible, as if you were faking nature. That’s why the shapes of earnings are organic. I like to use luster “mother of pearl” and other techniques that let me achieve this partial “naturalness” in the end, which, however, I had worked on myself.

What is your connection with the “miss”? What does it mean to you? Do you miss anything? 

I miss everything and all the time, my artistic statement is based on the feeling of missing, and I truly think it’s the best answer to this question. “When I was a kid, I used to miss lines in colouring books. Missing a moment to leave the club early became my thing later. Now it’s shapes when moulding. I have always missed something. And if I lost this part of me, I would MISS IT. Just like I miss summer in January, or the taste of a cigarette after making some life changing decision. To miss. That’s me”.

How does this “miss” influence your work and creation?

MISSHAPEN objects have flowing, irregular shapes and when I’m creating them I lose the sense of time and of all affairs and the world around me. I think that this “miss” has a big impact on the process and is reflected in my work.

Tell me three adjectives that describe your design.

Deformed, imperfect, outstanding.

Every piece you make is unique, so I’d define you most like an artisan: what does it mean to be artisan today and what are the pros and cons?

We live in times when, again, having less means more, when having a morning coffee ritual is an aspiration for slow living people. That’s why I think that artisans are on the rise. I’ve always been fascinated by this profession, perhaps that’s why, unconsciously, I became one. Plus, that’s what the line that I create necessitates – I can’t draw natural feelings and give it for somebody to recreate them. MISSHAPEN is not only about aesthetics, once again, this project is very personal, this project is me.

While the biggest advantage in this process for me is using handwork to recreate the feelings you had when you were creating the product. This very dear feeling of passing something from one person to the other. I might be naïve but I deeply believe in this and whenever I have the possibility to meet my clients in person, I always mention that I put a lot of calm into the objects and that I believe that some of it remains in them. That’s why I sincerely pass it on with the objects.

The con would be the slowness of manufacturing, continuous trials and endless remaking, searching for the right technique, imperfections, a very long process till you see the final result. Although for me it is also a con – this way you develop your patience, you think, you look for solutions. Also, with this project I am not seeking financial success, that’s why I’m happy that all I need is my two hands to make it happen. 


Why do you use porcelain? Does it mean something to your or is it just a stylistic choice? 

I’ve already mentioned a bit about what porcelain is to me and why I chose it. I start working with porcelain when I’m sure that my thoughts will not be distracted, when I feel calm inside and can focus all my attention on the process. I’m very grateful for the circumstances that led to me discovering porcelain. This material allows for a lot of creativity, but it also demands a lot in return. All the processes require total dedication: both your body and thoughts have to be focused on porcelain. If I rush or try to sidestep a couple of nuances, it never works out and I just have to start everything anew. Porcelain is like a live and extremely sensitive personality with whom you have to be very gentle and careful. If you press a tat harder, the whole work will burst into pieces and you’ll have to start from scratch. At the same time this process gives you a lot – it develops your patience and lets you dive into mediation. And this is what is so important to me, as before “Misshapen” I could never do it. In life I’m a very straightforward and organized person and I used to look with envy at people who lose they sense of time, while now – eureka! Now I too can lose it. And this brings me happiness.


Have you ever worked with other materials?

I have done a few tests before but I wouldn’t call it work, so it would be correct to say that no, I haven’t.


Which is your favourite jewel to make?

I don’t have one.

What do you listen to while creating?

I was happy to live in a home with a backyard garden, the first series I created there, it will sound so romantic but it’s true, I was always listening to the nature, the sounds would come from the sky: birds and planes (I live in the capital Vilnius), even for MISSHAPEN launch I chose the sound very specifically, it was LP by artist Henrik Håkansson, THE SKYLARK from nowhere and somewhere, no melody, just sounds of the sky. Perfect.


Are there any designers that inspire you?

Truly, no, I find inspiration more in art than in design, so if I still had to name someone, it would be Anton Alvarez and Slavs & Tatars, but just because of this thin line between design and art in their work.


What about your future projects?

All my life I was thinking about the future. Today I try not to plan much, instead, I like to miss something.


Tell me three adjectives that describe your Country.

Rainy, sunny, snowy, we have all four seasons here, and I’m very happy about it. 


Close your eyes and think about your country: what shape or object would it be?

A CHINKALI dumpling, maybe because I’m very hungry at the moment.