Lilly Zeligman - Conversations with Artists
What is the art of what you do?
I help people that come to me in search of beauty by connecting their energy to specific pieces of jewelry I create. When that happens, I can see a reflection of that beauty in their smile and changes in their body language. Women sit up with a straighter back, they have a sparkle in their eyes. It brings out something in people that the may not have dared to show before, or they don't know they have. I guess the art of what I do is to help bring beauty out of people.
So what's the process, how does it work?
I don't have a formula. For me, jewelry is non-verbal communication with the outside world. When you wear a piece of my jewelry it speaks to who you are in a subtle way or an outrageous way. It really depends on the character of the wearer.
Two people could wear the same piece but it would speak differently on each of them.
Absolutely, and at the same time, I don't have two pieces that are alike — I work mostly with one-of-a-kind pieces. If a woman wants earrings, I look at the dynamics of her energy. I don't really look at the clothes people wear, but I look for the small things that make a person unique. One might be shy so she’ll want something subtle, someone else who is more outgoing might like a cheeky piece of jewelry. For myself, I always wear big pieces because I have a strong personality. If I were to put a big piece on a shy person, their body language would change - she wouldn't be proud of wearing it, she’d be uncertain and insecure. People often tell me that I can wear everything — but that’s because I truly love jewelry and I don't see it a thing of material of value - I see it as a symbol of me. It makes me happy.
What I’m hearing is that you do a lot of energy reading.
Yes, and I think it’s something you’re born with or not. If you have the ability in even a small way you can develop it, but it’s not something you can just learn. I can feel energy in spaces and in people. In the past I was uncertain about my conclusions, but now I know that my intuition is very sharp and strong. I use my intuition in navigating the world and also when people come into my boutique. For example, I can feel if their energy is positive or uncertain. If someone is feeling negative, and they are able, I always suggest that they come back when they are feeling open. There's no use trying to advise someone who is closed. It just doesn’t work.
Are you able to transform negative energy?
There are very subtle ways you can transform the energy of others. A smile, eye contact, listening. When you have the tools and you understand what’s happening it can be a simple thing.
As you're creating your jewelry, how do you use this energy?
I am moved by the color and the energy of stones. If there is a pile of stones, usually there's only one that I connect with. Normally it’s because of the color or it's the brightness or the shape. It's difficult to explain.
How do you find your stones?
The stones find me. I never know what I will find. I go to small firms with good reputations in Munich, Italy and Switzerland. I know their stones are of high quality, they’re not colored, not treated.
Tell us about the piece you’re wearing.
This is not my creation but it’s a new Italian brand called Vhernier which I am launching in my shop. I admire the craftsmanship of this brand because it’s truly perfection in the sense that the proportions are perfect. Perfection is like a puzzle when all the pieces are in place. If you change just one piece even in a small way it’s out of alignment and no longer perfect.
Do you draw your designs?
I visualize and create sketches and ideas. I create the idea and the story and I work with incredible craftspeople — I’ve worked with the same craftspeople for almost 20 years. They know that what’s important to me is the movement of the piece I’m creating. Our bodies are always in motion and so jewelry should be fluid and moveable. For example, when one wears earrings they should flow and move easily and naturally with the movement of the head.
Let’s talk more about energy.
To me, energy is what's beautiful. I think charismatic people are beautiful, and it’s their energy that attracts. I am convinced that inner beauty shines through your eyes. It's the soul that talks through your eyes and through your smile. I also think eye contact is very important. It gives people around you a feeling that they matter, that they are seen.
So what is beauty for you?
I have one answer; it's a vibration. When I see beauty, something answers inside. I am convinced that it's an internal sensation that everyone feels and interprets in one way or another. For example, looking at a beautiful sunset, one person wants to cry, another is happy and a third person feels differently. Everyone experiences it in a different way, but it's still the same scene.
How did you find this path, or how did this path find you?
I am addicted to beauty, and I find it all around me - in nature, in special moments - and it always moves me. I can get really very emotional by looking at beauty. I cherish it. We take almost everything for granted until something drastic happens in life. That’s the point to re-evaluate — and if you work at it, what comes is the next step in development of your spiritual life, where you want to go, and whom you want to be.
Do you think it’s harder to recognize those moments of beauty because of all the distraction in today’s world?
I actually think opposite. Because of all the distractions around us we recognize beauty sooner and cherish moments more because they're so rare.
I'm reading a very interesting book called “The Fourth Dimension.” (Not currently translated into English). We live in a three dimensional world — the fourth dimension is time. The book is about how there are no coincidences in life, everything happens for a reason. We learn to recognize that what happens are not coincidences but what’s meant to be. You have a telepathic connection with the world — you think of someone and suddenly they call you or you receive an email from them. I’m convinced that if you train yourself to recognize this you will see that your life has led you in a certain direction for a reason. It’s not coincidence. It's the frequency of the energy that moves us and makes us do things.
If you could go back in time to 12 year old Lilly, and you could give her some advice, - what would you tell her?
I would tell her to take better care of herself, through self-love and self-acceptance. I'm working on that now. It's a process. I meditate on it. I work on visualization - not just saying the words, but truly internalizing the meaning.
Was this conversation what you expected?
I never expect anything. When you expect something you close yourself from what’s happening, what’s real. If you're open to what is happening you’re truly connected. And every voyage is a personal voyage. If you’re lucky you get support from other people — and that’s what we call a soulmate.