Kadri Mälk is an Estonian jeweller living in Tallinn. and she’s a teacher and coordinator of the jewellery course at the Estonian Academy of Arts.
Before starting in jewellery, she studied painting and only then she decided to invest in the art of creating jewels. She was 28 or 29 years old when she graduated. She is the starting point of a generation whose work is robust, individual and definitely Estonian. She kept herself as a freelance artist and worked alone for about nine years. In the meantime, she was invited to teach.
Initially, that represented solely a small workload, happening once a week. She enjoyed staying in her studio and working according to her own schedule. She wasn’t attached to delivery dates. It was a kind of wildlife, a way of life that she really appreciated.
After her graduation, she started doing some studies on stonework. The first took place in San Petersburg, in a huge stone-cutting factory that was supplied with high-quality raw materials from Siberia. That was when she started to study geology in Finland, at the Lahti Design Institute, for two years, and for some time in Germany, with Bernd Munsteiner.
Kadri Mälk’s work is dark, poetic and has a very unique voice. Using traditional jewellery materials like gold, silver, precious stones, jets and fur, she creates jewels whose melancholic fragrances permeate all her work.
She appreciates the dusk, for its darkened colours and emanating tones. These colours are depicted in her pieces of jewellery, hence they are often dark, as illustrated by this article’s images. Kadri Mälk paints with the black – in all its possible shades, from black to anthracites and purples. Her work is associated with a poetic overtone, correlated with that same penumbra that inspires her. The pieces are almost always ornamented with pearls or stones of strong colours. She regularly creates brooches, but her work also includes necklaces and, sometimes, rings.
She creates non-figurative pieces. Each piece has its own title. These are helpful when it comes to reading the meaning of each piece, although we often have to rely on the translation from Estonian to the language we speak. They metaphorically represent elves and figures who populated the evening.
Kadri Mälk exhibits regularly in many countries in Europe and in the United States. She has been the curator of several exhibitions of Estonian jewellers, sometimes associated with artists from other countries, with shows in Tallinn and other European cities, in museums, galleries, churches and cemeteries.