Victoria Sorkin



Victoria Sorkin weaves colourful stories with her beaded creations.

by Sarah B. Hood

“EVERY TIME I CREATE ONE OF MY PIECES, I envision a noble woman,” says Ukrainian-born jewellery designer Victoria Sorkin. Although she has only lived in Canada for a little over three years, she has already established her unique, handmade brand and is working to develop it from a part-time proposition to a full-scale business.

“All of my collections always use beads, semiprecious stones, gemstones, freshwater pearls and Swarovski crystals,” she says. Sorkin’s work is striking for its vivid colour harmonies and sometimes, for its interplay of unusual tones like yellow with violet or turquoise with orange. Not only that, but her pieces have original and evocative names like ‘Night of Stars,’ ‘Infinitely Calm,’ and ‘Latin Dance.’

At the moment, Sorkin is showing four collections, of which the Holitache Collection is the most prominent. The name of the collection combines two words: “soutache,” a beadwork technique that involves sewing multiple strands of cord or ribbon by hand in order to sculpt them into shapes that will frame and anchor the various beads, and “Holi,” the Hindu religious festival of colours.

Sorkin’s line of work also includes a Wedding Collection and a Royal Collection, both boasting large pieces with grand stones and bold beads. The Little Wonders line uses similar designs, but features smaller elements and pieces. Price points vary widely.

“I have pieces starting from $45 for very small earrings, and I have statement pieces that would go up to $600 in the Holitache Collection,” she says. For the Royal and Wedding Collections, prices go even higher, with one-of-a-kind statement pieces ranging between $300 and $1,500.

“When I’m creating, for me there is no season, because what I do is colourful,” she says. “I do look at fashion, what is the colour of the year, so people will find the fit in my collection, but I don’t really do spring, fall and summer. I’m creating everyday, new jewellery. For me, to stick to just one collection – I can’t do it, because it’s art!”

Born in the small town of Stakhanov, Ukraine, Sorkin had the opportunity to travel extensively in the Soviet Union as a child, soaking up architectural and design influences around her. When she was about 12, her family moved to Israel, where she grew up, obtained a finance degree and married. It was there that she was first exposed to jewellery design, almost by chance.

“I had a three-hour beading course,” she laughs. “No, really. It was when my second child was born. During my maternity leave, I was with two kids, tired, and my husband knows how I like to do things creative.” Sorkin’s husband arranged for her to take a beginner’s beading course as a gift.

“From that moment, I fell in love with the structures and with what you can create,” she says.

In late 2010, the family moved to Canada. “Canada is a peaceful place, and Israel, is not so peaceful,” she says. “I have two boys and I just decided that I didn’t want my kids to grow up with that.”

With some family members already in Canada, the young family was settling happily into their new country; however, in 2011, Sorkin’s husband fell seriously ill. During his convalescence, he helped her develop her business, “and when he recovered, I decided I had to go with my passion,” she says.

Today, Sorkin’s work is carried in seven locations in Toronto and one in Montreal, with an additional outlet in Los Angeles coming on board very soon. “I have a lot of sales, but this is not full-time right now,” she says.

For now, she works days in a financial institution, “but my main passion is jewellery, and my main work is to become 100 per cent in the jewellery industry.” With her family obligations, her day job and her personal aspirations, she says it’s like, “having three jobs.”

It’s the evenings that give her time to design and be creative. “I can create five to ten pieces in an evening because I’m by myself and everything is flowing; every artist has their moment.”

“I’m not creating trendy jewellery,” says Sorkin. “I believe that jewellery is something that you want to carry on for generations. I want people who buy my jewellery to feel it.” CJ

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