Yaroslava Kellermann – Designer

Yaroslava Kellermann – Designer

About myself

My brother and I were raised in a family of teachers. Except of math and history, both of my parents studied music, so we were surrounded by it and by books. The last years of the Soviet Union and the first of Ukrainian independence were extremelly harsh, but I remember that my mom tried to dress me in the best way possible. She knitted, sewed, managed to get materials in exchange. And another small details – I had a pair of matching bows to every clothing. I think it was this kind of approach, which included love and respect to handwork, creativity and assiduity, had a significant impact on me.

Sources of inspiration

There are three sources, which I am strongly influenced by. First of all, I adore colours. Before I started making jewellery my colour fascination was realized in a slightly different way – by writing scientific articles and conducting researches, which aim was to check how colour influences people’s political and consumer decisions. I prefer vivid colours in my everyday life too. Despite popular Scandinavian trend my home is full of strong accents – red sofa or cobalt tiles are only a part of them. Many people are rather reluctant to surround themselves by similar colours.

Second source is folk culture. From the very beginning I looked back to my native Ukrainian tradition, because it was something I knew the best and what I wanted to share with the people abroad. There are many things which are extraordinary inspiring like painted Easter eggs, ceramics, embroidery, decorative painting of Petrykivka etc. As a result a line of wide beaded necklaces of a rectangle shape emerged. These are my interpretation of Ukrainian seed bead necklace named gerdan.

It’s interesting that women wore ribbon gerdans or pieces with diamond-shaped pendant, on the contrary in some regions of Western Ukraine a rectangular ones were only a privilage of men. I was extremelly surprised when later (approximately a year) I found photos of native Americans wearing rectangular beaded necklaces. I knew that Indians made beaded accessories, but I wasn’t aware they made something so similar! On the other hand gerdan can recall Bysantine lorum. It is fantastic to discover such things and to realize that all of us have more in common than we imagine. That´s why in every country I visit I try to find a book about traditional costumes and jewelry. The more I sink into the topic, the broader my horizons are. Yesterday, for example, I got to know exciting jewelry piece from Netherlands – oorijzer. I’ve never seen something similar!

Since March I have been working on a collection of enamelled pendants, which recall traditional Ukrainian jewelry piece called „dukach”. It’s a pendant which consists of a brooch-like upper part and a medaillon (traditionally a coin). My idea is to involve enamel (cloisonné technique), which wasn’t done before. I would also like to introduce more variation in terms of form and patterns as well as to use art pieces (female portraits) instead of religious motifs.

Finally, the third one is art. What could be more inspiring? It seems to me that I became more sensible to art while studying in Italy. Thanks to the knowledge of Italian language I could get to know about the culture and classic art sights I visited. I feel especially bound to Renaissance, although I find impressive primitivism and art-deco as well.


I prefer to use ancient Ukrainian patterns for my necklaces, because I think that new colours and new interpretation give them new life, revives them. Additionally, I keep searching traditional patterns in the other cultures – I have already made necklaces featuring Estonian, Hungarian and Southern Slavic motifs. I am also enchanted by fabrics of the Italian Renaissance.


When I was a child my mother discovered that I was synesthetic – I claimed that I see people’s names have their colours, for example, Anna is red, Nina is grass green etc. Although synesthesia is not a well-explored phenomenon, I think it may have impact on the way I combine colours in my jewellery pieces.

Why jewelry?

I may be boring, but I think that nothing can differentiate and emphasize our personality better than a well-chosen accessory. And jewelry is something natural for the female part of the humanity, I am convinced that every woman has unconsious affinity to it in blood since centuries.

Examples to follow

There are two wonderful ladies, whose example I would like to follow – Masha Archer and Iris Apfel. Both are not afraid of colours and prefer abundance to minimalism. I share this kind of approach with them, which probably originates from my Eastern roots, although I admit that minimalistic jewelry has its own charme. When it comes to cloisonné, my absolute is Khatuna Roinishvili. Her cloisonné works aretotally breathtaking, so precise and colourful that nobody could stay calm while seeing them.