Virag Andersson is a self-taught enamel artist and jewellery designer. Her main profile is enamel on big chunky metal jewellery.
When and how did you get started on your artisanal skills?
I have been creating art for as long as I remember. My early jewellery was worn by friends and family in the 80s and 90s. The idea of Virag Andersson Jewellery was born on this gorgeous island of Malta in 2012, and since then my creations are shipping to close countries and far-reaching continents like Africa, Australia and the United States too.
My technique involves fusing molten glass on certain metal surfaces. The fine glass particles melt and merge with the metallic surface in a kiln heated to approximately 850 degrees. Once the hot metal cools down the result is a smooth glossy hardened glass surface. My jewellery pieces develop their colours differently every single time, letting me achieve a nice organic look.
Describe your work in 10 words or less.
My work is a journey through colours and materials.
Do you have a favourite from among your own creations? If so, why?
I love my signature sea creature necklaces, all of them are one-of-a-kind pieces. I especially love my huge ‘Seaweed’, the ‘Queen of all Sea Urchins’, and the ‘Empress of the Sea’ necklaces … I can never choose one. I love them all. I love enamel, because every piece created with this technique is a piece of unique art. How could I choose only one?
What are you working on at the moment?
I must say it is a secret, I can only tell that I am cooperating with an amazing local brand, and we are cooking up a new line for 2018 spring/summer. What I can definitely add, that it will involve many vibrant colours and the shapes will be slightly different from what people would expect from me.
If you weren’t an artisan, what would you be?
I worked as a corporate lawyer in Budapest before my whole life turned upside down and I dropped everything for Malta. So law would be the logical choice. On the other hand I don’t think I could ever have an office job again. I realised over the years that I have a need to use my hands and create to be happy. I believe that cultivating vegetables and running my own organic farm might suit me very well one day.
What is the epitome of happiness for you?
My earliest and happiest memories are about colours and shapes. I am sitting with mum colouring and drawing. I might be around three and I always wanted to use all the colours. Mum and I had loads of fun together with art. We did not have too much money, but we had more painting adventures and gallery visits than most people have in a lifetime.
Art is happiness for me.
What brought you to Malta?
I met my Swedish husband in Budapest and soon after I left behind everything for a dream of living in the middle of Mediterranean Sea with him and with our two kiddos. The idea of Virag Andersson Jewellery was born on this gorgeous island, and I have never looked back since.
What do you love about Malta?
Everything. I love the kind Maltese people of the little villages, I love their passion for family and kids. I love taking photos, and walking, and chatting with the elderly. Malta is an all-year-round playground and inspiration for me with its breath-taking cliffs and amazing sea-sides. It is like an art exhibition … many times you cannot reach these cliffs and rocky beaches, you can only admire them from a distance.
What do you hate about Malta?
Hate is a strong word. I rather tell you my dreams. I wish Malta would be more environmentally friendly. The kids and I are compulsive litter-pickers wherever we go, and unfortunately we never run out of things to pick.
Favourite colour and what it means to you?
My jewellery pieces are full of Mediterranean vibes, inspired by the azure blue sea, golden sand and warming orange sun of the Maltese islands. These are my favourite colours too. They represent freedom and happiness to me.
What is your favourite indulgence?
Definitely travelling. Life is an adventure to me, and it includes travelling.
During my university years I won a cultural scholarship in New Zealand, than worked to be able to travel and get to know new cultures, new languages. Later I lived in Rome, London, and Switzerland, now I seemed to be anchored in Malta.