Design of the Times: Alex Sepkus

Alex Sepkus is a jewelry designer known for his remarkable focus and artistic expression. He concentrates so heavily on detail that his workforce requires microscopes to execute his designs. Drawing inspiration from ancient Greek, medieval churches, and his favorite fantasy literature, Sepkus expresses an enticing playfulness and an unparalleled style of work as a goldsmith. See what he had to say about his design process, his inspirations, and how he began working in jewelry:

What is your background in the jewelry industry, and how did you get your start?
I studied industrial design at the Vilnius Institute of Arts. The curriculum included academic drawing, painting, graphic and interior design, art history and philosophy, instrument design and even designing cardboard boxes to transport small chickens. Jewelry is the only subject where I am an autodidact and since my graduation in 1977 I made only jewelry.

Has your background in architecture helped in creating jewelry designs?
My father was an architect and a graphic designer. He taught me letter design, which became a big inspiration for my work. Letters, among other things, always fascinated me.

What was the initial inspiration for your brand?
I don’t consider myself a brand. I am a jeweler who got tired of working for someone else and decided that I have enough ideas myself.

How would you describe your brand in only three words?
My pieces are well-made, mysterious and beautiful.

We’ve heard you’re a big fan of English author P.G. Wodehouse – he’s mentioned on your website. 
It’s interesting to think how literature or other forms of art could be translated or could have influence on designs to be visualized and worn by others. Has his literature influenced your designs? If so, in what way?

Wodehouse’s stories are fantasies – he describes an imagined world which is warm and appealing but also touches the human longing for order, beauty and laughter. Those things inspire me and my jewelry-making.

A lot of your designs look reminiscent of ancient Greek and medieval churches. They are beautifully crafted and each one is unique. Are these some of your influences or inspirations?
Yes, the mysteries of Byzantium, the fragrances of the Orient and the majesty of Gothic inspire me. Renaissance spoiled the visual arts and begat modernism.

How has your Lithuanian background influenced your designs?
I am Lithuanian – I grew up there, but my jewelry in the U.S. is entirely different from my work there, before 1988.

Can you give us an idea of what your design process is like?
Very simple. An idea of a new piece appears in my head and I use my fingers to make it appear in material.

How long does it typically take to create a new piece of jewelry?From one day to a few months, if you count leisure time into it.

Describe your target audience.
I have no idea. I make what I like. If some people also like it, everyone’s

happy.

Have you noticed a shift in consumer attitudes since you were named “New Designer of the Year” at the Jewelers of America show in 1993?
I can’t tell, I was entirely unknown before 1993. By the way, I strongly dislike awards and am proud that in my career I only received only that one.

What are you most looking forward to at JCK Tucson 2019?
I’m looking forward to coming to Tucson and driving around in the desert.

Discover Alex Sepkus’ collections here.

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