Local Artist Creates Jewelry
and Cards Laced with Love

Written by Susan Mayer Davis

For many, European-inspired jewelry and greeting cards adorned with lace, flowers and intricate metal design is the epitome of romantic expression.

Newnan resident Yana Pidorvan incorporates all these elements – and a bit of her soul – into each of her creations.

Originally from Ukraine, she uses soft natural materials, neutral colors and handcrafted accents to create pieces that seem to open a door to her heart. Her artistic bent is reflected even by the way she dresses – relaxed yet sophisticated.

“I learned all about handwork from by wonderful grandmother, Maria, who taught me the basics: knitting, embroidery, sewing, sculpture and so on,” says Pidorvan, noting that her artisan mentor lived through World War II. “She learned to make something out of very little and passed that on to me. I remember her every time I create a new piece. I added education to what she taught me, stirred in some Southern style and my own aesthetic, and the results are the pieces that I now produce.”

Pidorvan worked in Ukraine as both an architect and an artist, primarily creating one-of-a-kind greeting cards. She learned local crafts, such as designing pysanky, Ukrainian Easter eggs decorated using a wax-resist method to showcase traditional folk designs. Incorporating her own ideas into the craft, she created Easter ornaments in her homeland for more than 15 years.

“It just wasn’t for me,” she says. “I worked in my home country, but I never worked in their artistic style. Of course, I would try anything, but I don’t make art to please others. If I make something and I think it’s beautiful, it’s pleasant, it makes me happy. Then I am pleased with it.”

Her husband and soulmate, Yegor, enthusiastically supports her creative efforts, according to the artist.

“He understands me as no one else can,” she says. “He helps and supports me and my creativity as much as he can. You would not see my artwork today without his steadfast love and support.”

The Pidorvans came to the U.S. in 2013 after Yana was granted a green card on her first try. Leaving everything and everyone they knew behind, they became strangers in a strange land, with only one friend, Elena Saitz, who lived in Newnan.

Yana explains the difficulty of starting a new life from scratch: “I came here as a nobody. Yegor and I were here alone but together. We survived together, and we are starting to thrive together. Thanks to the Newnan community, we are no longer alone.”

Slowly but surely, Yana continues to learn the local culture and to make herself known through her artwork. She says joining the Newnan Coweta Art Association helped her find acceptance and encouragement. And now her artwork is available at Wisteria Lane in Newnan and Heirloom Market in Sharpsburg.

Her necklaces feature intricate designs that pair metal and lace, beads and ribbon. Her chokers are hopelessly romantic with baubles, beads and bows adorning velvet or lace ribbons. Her greeting cards are fashioned with lace borders, vintage photos and tiny trinkets oozing with eclectic charm.

Along with the love she exudes for her husband and her art, Yana has developed a love affair with her new community.

“I could say I like it, but that’s not true. I really love Newnan and the wonderful people I’ve met,” she says. “Here it is pleasant and calm with very intelligent, nice and kind people. My creativity took off once we arrived in Newnan. The Southern environment, the history – it all just inspires the romantic in me.”

Yana compares the limited availability of craft supplies in Ukraine to the plethora of items around Coweta County.

“The locals have beautiful opportunities here,” she says, noting the abundance of big box and small boutique stores that sell crafting items. Repurposing items passed down through families is another way to find supplies, according to the artist.

“Those old jewelry pieces in your grandmother’s chest can be refreshed into modern, yet romantic, pieces to wear today,” Yana concludes. “My message to those who are thinking about making art is: Just try it. Try, look, feel, make your own mistakes, and appreciate people who help you and teach you. You are so blessed to have this opportunity.” NCM