As the Conseil des Métiers d’Art du Québec and the City of Montreal were revealing the names of the finalists for the 2019 François-Houdé Award this week, we were delighted to learn that two jewellers are on the list: Gayane Avetisyan and Dominika Durtan. This is the first time that graduates of the Basic Techniques program are among the finalists, and we are always pleased to witness the talent of those who attend our school.
Before discovering their creations during the finalists’ exhibition, which will open its doors on November 28 at La Guilde, we offer you a brief portrait of the two featured jewellers.
Born in Armenia, where she grew up, Gayane Avetisyan was fortunate to be surrounded by several artists. This led her to study fine arts, specializing in painting, printmaking and ceramics.
She has travelled and lived in several countries, from where she has been able to accumulate a variety of cultural influences that have had a great impact on her work. In Georgia, she was introduced to enamel – considered a national art form. Later, in Haiti, she began to introduce more colours and a dazzling character to her creations, reflecting the local culture.
Her introduction to jewellery through enamel immediately appealed to the visual artist in her. As she enters the final stages of her jewellery training, she finally sees how to combine her conceptual mind with her sense of aesthetics. She believes that jewellery represents the culmination of everything she has done before.
Having grown up in Poland where she obtained her Master of Arts degree, Dominika then lived in the United States and Dubai before finally settling in Montreal. A multidisciplinary artist, she works in ceramics, drawing, watercolour, graphic design, photography and sculpture. Already proficient in several mediums, she attended a micro-pavé course in Antwerp, Belgium, lapidary art courses in Sri Lanka and gemmology training in Dubai. It was finally at the École de Joaillerie de Montréal that she learned how to solder, shape and polish metal.
Jewellery has allowed her to return to manual work, after having spent many years working as a designer and artistic director in large corporations. As she became more and more comfortable with the various metalworking techniques, she began to be able to naturally use jewellery as a vehicle for personal expression.
The François Houdé Prize 2019 finalists’ exhibition, as well as the 2018 laureate Aurélie Guillaume’s solo exhibition, Les Masques amoureux, will take place from November 28, 2019 to February 23, 2020
1356 Sherbrooke Street West
Gayane Avetisyan’s portrait and jewellery: Anthony McLean
Dominika Durtan’s portrait and jewellery: Dominika Durtan