Nicolás Estrada: “Winning the Enjoia’t award opened doors to a fascinating world for me”

Nicolás Estrada lives and works in Barcelona as a jeweller. Trained at the Massana School and with extensive international experience, this 49-year old professional offers personal and transgressive work. Some of his jewellery can be seen in galleries all over the world, such as Glasgow, Turin, Riga, San Francisco or Medellín, the city where he was born. In 2003 he was the winner of the Enjoia’t Contemporary Jewellery Awards and this year he will be one of the judges together with Ruudt Peters, Pilar Garrigosa, Roberta Bernabei and Imma Jansana.

At En Primera persona we talk about the jewellery sector and his participation in this competition aimed at professional and student jewellers.

From 22 September to 24 October the best designs can be seen at Disseny Hub Barcelona. 

How would you define the current state of the sector?

I consider the more traditional jewellery sector to have become stagnant for some time now. However, that of more artistic jewellery is unknown. On the other hand, I believe that contemporary jewellery is an unknown field for most people at the moment. 

Do you think that contemporary jewellery is a way for more traditional jewellery to “re-emerge”?

No, I don’t think so. On one hand because contemporary jewellery contributes a lot, and on the other, traditional jewellery doesn’t need to re-emerge, it is already huge. 

Which materials and techniques are most used these days?

I don't know. I would like to think that signature, artistic or contemporary jewellery has nothing to do with trends or fashions. 

The Enjoia’t Awards are an essential event for jewellery lovers and professionals. What value does it have for the sector?

It is increasingly important, but it should be even more so. All the initiatives that arise in our field are for a very small segment [of the population]. We are unknown to most people. 

This year you are part of the panel of judges. What did winning this award mean to you as a jeweller in 2003?

For me personally, it was a launching platform; it opened doors to a fascinating world for me, one I still love, and it allowed me to meet people who have helped me a lot. 

Regarding your professional career, what obstacles have you encountered along the way?

It seems to me that one has to overcome obstacle after obstacle in the artistic world: emigrating, trying to belong, standing out, doing things well, expressing oneself, pleasing, selling, etc. Obstacles are routine for those of us who are in this world. I don’t know how to summarise the obstacles I have had to overcome in the more than 20 years in this sector, and I’m terrified to think of those yet to come. 

If we asked you to choose one single piece from all your creation, which one would you choose?

I wouldn’t know which to choose; in 20 years, I have made many pieces, some have been more successful than others, but I cannot say there is one that represents who I am, I have written my story with all of them. I cannot define my life with a letter, rather, my life is a paragraph. 

To finish, what would you say to someone who is starting out in this sector?

That standing out in this niche market is very difficult. This sector is very satisfying for the soul, but it is very difficult to make a living from it.

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