LAU alumna’s sparkly creations
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April 8, 2015—
23-year old Karma Salman’s future looks as bright as the 15 earrings that adorn her ears.
Since graduating from LAU with a degree in fine arts in 2012, Salman has been working towards fulfilling a longstanding passion: becoming a jewelry designer. Her first collection was launched at the Beirut Port District exhibition on the sidelines of prominent Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz’s Christmas exhibition.
“I was in Turkey when I was approached by Rabih, and couldn’t believe what I heard,” says Salman. “I had to come back to Lebanon as soon as possible and produce an entire collection in a couple of months.”
The London-born budding designer chose to name her collection “Akana” (Turkish for “warrior”), based on her conviction that “existence is resistance.”
Before she started creating her own designs, Salman experienced people’s interaction with jewelry firsthand at Selim Mouzannar’s store, where she held a fruitful internship over the summer of 2011. She also interned with Lebanese accessory designer Nada Zeineh.
“I just wanted to be in the jewelry production world,” Salman says. “I rotated between the sales department and the workshop. People would come in with all kinds of interesting requests for so many different items.”
Reflecting on her LAU experience, Salman calls it one-of-a-kind. “Studying fine arts remains the best opportunity I have had so far,” she enthuses. “Our instructors gave us undivided attention and I learned so much, including a solid skill set which I now apply to my work.”
After graduating, Salman went to the Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London intending to study art business, but decided to follow her true calling and enrolled in the jewelry design program at the Gemological Institute of America (GIA). There, she started developing her own identity as a designer.
“I worked long hours and on very demanding tasks, but I would do it all over again,” says Salman of her time at GIA.
The young designer is inspired by the unity created by the jewel and the skin, which she believes become one entity. Her designs are huge, hard to miss, and, in her own words, “assertive.” Each piece includes a little opening showing some skin.
“For me, it all goes back to the artistic approach I was exposed to and the rigorous training I received at my alma mater,” she says. “I strongly recommend LAU’s fine arts program to anyone interested in a career in the arts.”