THE BEGINNING OF GAROGOSI
In 2014, the London born multidisciplinary artist Sevan Garo, was asked to create a series of sculptures for an exhibition in The Hague, Holland, entitled 'Your Engagement has Consequences'. At the time, Sevan was based in London. When I heard the title of the exhibition", he explains, "I immediately thought - GLACIERS."
Sevan planned to take moulds from the surface of a glacier, and to cast these moulds into a series of sculptures. These would capture and preserve the form and fingerprint of the glacier. Glaciers are retreating at an incredible pace around the world, so these sculptures perfectly depicted one of the consequences of our engagement with the environment.
He travelled to the Alps with some friends with the intention of taking a mould from the surface of one of the most iconic glaciers in Europe, Mer de Glacé, or 'Sea of Ice'. He had never been on a glacier before, let alone taken a mould from the surface of one. He had also been told that the mould would not set on ice. "All I had was the materials for the mould, and an old ice axe. I had no idea if it was going to work."
He planned to use a unique blend of materials that had to set for 24 hours after casting the mould, hoping that this would work on the ice. However, this also meant that it had to be left overnight. "It was one thing going up there the first time, but on the second day a storm had come in, so that was a whole new level. But we couldn't just leave the mould up there. When we finally made it back up to where we'd left it, we could see it had all been worth it. The glacier had shed the mould like a skin, leaving a perfect fingerprint of the ice."
Three months later, Sevan was in The Hague installing his sculptures for the exhibition. He had produced six large glacial sculptures, cast in pure white pigment.
"I turned my back and suddenly heard a large smash. I knew straight away what it was." One of the sculptures had fallen off the wall and smashed into hundreds of small pieces.
"There was nothing I could do so I just began clearing up the mess. While I was clearing up, I held one of the small pieces of shattered sculpture in my hand. I thought 'this would make a really interesting and conceptual piece of wearable sculpture.'" This was the beginning of GAROGOSI.
"My intention was to make a few necklaces to get the money together to cast the glacier sculptures in bronze. At the time, I would never have considered going down the road of starting a jewellery brand."
While Sevan had no formal training in jewellery, his skills and experience with the manipulation of materials and metals as an artist and sculptor lent themselves easily to GAROGOSI’s creation. "I had never made a necklace, ring, cuff or bracelet before, and had never cast with silver or gold, but I knew the basic principles of casting. I also had no idea about developing a brand and setting up a small business. But I thought, f**k it, let's give this a shot."
Three months later, Sevan had made a full collection of wearable glacial sculptures including Rings, Necklaces, Cuffs and Bangles. A month after that, he launched GAROGOSI in London.