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Your Names: Liliana Mandziuk & Maja Piechocka

Name of Business: Destreza

Artform/Specialisms:  Jewellery and candles

Destreza are Maja Piechocka and Liliana Mandziuk; designers and creators of a range of bespoke jewellery and unique candles.

What are the things that have inspired, and continue to inspire, your work?

Maja works predominantly with silver and brass, exploring colour through mediums such as spray paint and resin. She is strongly inspired by street art, graffiti and abstract art. Rather then merely following current trends, Maja’s collections each have a strong theme and a great amount of work is put into research. It’s this that that gives her jewellery its unusual and unique style.

Liliana has always been fascinated with geometric and organic shapes and it’s these that dominate her pieces. Liliana’s area of expertise is working in silver but she does incorporate a lot of colour into her designs using different techniques such as weaving, enamel paints and setting stones.

What is the most memorable (positive) reaction you have had from a visitor to your work?

Words like ‘different’ and ‘beautifully finished’ are music to Liliana’s ears. “What I like to hear the most is that the visitor has ‘never seen anything like it’ – in a good way of course! It’s a real challenge to stand out in such an immense international craft community full of unique and talented makers.”

Maja had a special story to share about her very first day here at MCDC. “A visitor told me she had been dreaming about a pair of my earrings for four weeks after seeing them in another local jewellery display. She’d finally decided to wear them for an upcoming interview at Central Saint Martins in London and that particular jewellery display had finished! Luckily she’d found me round the corner at the craft centre- I hope she got a place on the course!”

When you are not producing new work, what do you like to spend your time doing and why?

Liliana loves spending time with her family and being outdoors. “I come from Poland and have a young family so I try to spend most of my holidays there, spending quality time with my son and his grandparents and enjoying the garden, which I lack here. When the weather is not so good I enjoy swimming and baking and always appreciate a good documentary.”

Maja also likes spending time outdoors. “I like to take photos, mostly of street art and graffiti. I find it very relaxing and inspirational and it’s usually a starting point for majority of my work.”

If you were asked to describe the experience of visiting Manchester Craft & Design Centre to someone who has yet to come along, what would you tell them?

Liliana loves the diversity of the people she meets here at MCDC. “It’s the only place of its kind in the UK. Its unique presentation of artists designing, making and displaying their work makes it a very special place to be, not only for the those who work here but for visitors who get to experience the magic of this place.”

Maja loves the relaxed atmosphere and the food, music and excellent service. “It’s a truly magical place where you can find some very unique handmade craft, produced to a very high standard and you can actually see things being made. On top of that you can chat and meet the designers and makers yourself and find out about their work first hand.” 

Did You Know…

Maja graduated from Manchester School of Art in 2012 where she studied Three Dimensional Design, specializing in glass and metal work. Only two years after graduation, Maja already has a few major exhibitions under her belt, such as Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester Craft Centre, Royal Exchange Theatre, Salford Galleries and New Designers in London.

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