by Becca Lemire
Photos by Miz Monday
Elizaveta Yankelovich is the ambassador of rainbows and unicorns and chocolate ice cream. Elizaveta makes kick ass larger-than life jewelry, some totally wearable and hot, and some more sculptural, like beautiful inspiration pieces to hang in your closet or wear on certain holidays (or every day if you’re kway-zee like that). Elizaveta works in advertising, makes jewelry, doodles (pencil crayon drawings), writes stories and is also a full-time single mom to future heartbreaker (and ball of energy…my hat is off to her 4realz) Izaac. She was born in Russia, grew up in Italy, came to Edmonton with her family when she was 5 and spent her teenage years in North York. She dropped out of High School but eventually got her GED and ECE Diploma. I spent one evening recently in her just-moved-into apartment with the biggest deck overlooking the city, sipping homemade ginger carrot soup, some good old red wine and chatting about life and jewelry in between Izaac jumping onto her face. I also tried on pretty much every single one of her pieces, loved them all, and went home with 3 that I can’t wait to turn heads with around the city. She did a really amazing job of staying relaxed while he was literally bouncing off the walls with 5 year old enthusiasm, and they have an invented game that seems to be called “I’m not your friend”. After being there 10 minutes, I realized that she’s a better human being than I’ll probably ever be, and the world needs more of her rainbows. On top of being one of those moms that defies all logic and raises a perfectly well rounded kid, she’s cool, creative and hot. Take that, stereotypes.
Elizaveta sells her jewelry mainly on her Etsy and says mostly people from the states are her customers, like this chick from Florida who buys all her stuff. She’s done consignment, had a show at FAT last year, pursued styling full time awhile ago, all that jazz. When showing her styling portfolio to an agency a while back, they asked her to tone it down and come up with some more commercial looks, but she didn’t want to create things outside of her own artistic vision. When she’s not in creative control she says, she loses interest. The part about it that she loves dies, and she’d rather do whatever she wants, if only for herself.Her prices are very modest, because she says she doesn’t want just people with money to be able to afford art; art should be for everyone. She’s never made 2 pieces that were alike, starts with an idea or object plucked from reality, and builds and builds onto that. Her materials come from Canadian Tire to Queen St., among other places. She’s somewhat retired from styling, although for friends she will always make the exception. Her frequent Facebook status updates are fantastical visions out of a kid’s book, and funnily enough, may turn into one sometime soon. She’s working on some children’s books right now. Here are some Elizaveta-visions, plucked directly from her wall:
“I followed a squirrel to work today and also realized that pink underwear is awesome…”
“I want to get a large jar of peanut butter and fresh baked whole wheat
bread …I want to slather the peanut butter on the bread…slather slather
slather….slather….then I want to take each slice and stick each one
onto my body covering myself from top to bottom with an intricate
pattern of peanut butter slathered sliced …bread…”
“Friday: In honour of you I shall make cookies, think of dead people I wanna have babies with, imagine myself covered in peanut butter toast and think about the awesomeness of an apple and pear having sex…”
“Dear Beer and Wine I Pledge to always ALWAYS only drink you if you have an animal on your body… unless you are free”
They tend to kinda jump out at me from the sea of “going to work”, “omg just saw the hawttest dood on da bus” “10 hours of essay writing = FML” that my Facebook homepage frequently looks like (you know who you are, and you know I got love for ya newayz). A unicorn in a sea of horses: that’s how I would describe Elizaveta Yankelovich.