Monday, April 8, 2013

Innocuous treasures

Hello lovely people,

Sorry for the delay and inadvertent break... sometimes we get caught up in doing other stuff or life simply comes in the way. Plus it's been a pretty weird winter so let's call this hibernating.
Back to business. Just because no text or images has appeared here, that does not mean that nothing is going on at Mariana's beaded crib. Quite the contrary...

But now for a bit of me-me-me time. I have let my hair grow. All my life I've had super short and quasi-boyish. But about a year and a half ago I decided to bight the comb and let it grow out. After an awkward mop-like phase, I've managed to get a respectable coiffure. And this new element has opened up an entire area of retail previously unavailable to me: hair accessories. Sadly nothing I saw in stores quite tickled my fancy, until an idea occurred to me: Mariana. So we brainstormed a bit and came up with a design for a unique headband that will make me feel quite regal as I take the subway to work. It's the little things.
This was the design blueprint (not printed or in blue, but equally professional and precise)

Base of the headband. Astonishing the small amount of stuff you need, really...

The knots and the beads- specially designed so as to not leave a painful pattern on my skull- thank you, Mariana!

Work in progress- but oh! so promising!
   Now, enough about me and more about Mariana's latest obsession: wood. Mariana lives in my hometown and we have a bunch of hills around. These hills are more than abundant in trees and bushes and hedges and a whole bunch of plant stuff. Mariana has decided to take some branches from different trees, polish them and see how she can use them. Mind you, different types of wood have different properties, textures and even smells. So she has decided to create accessories for reflexology therapy or even something pretty to stick in a bun on top of your head. Dealer's choice.
It's just amazing that you can make such beautiful things from something that one would usually discard as useless or dull! Plus the wood makes the whole line look and feel more natural more attuned to your needs instead of some dull plastic off-the-shelf product.

Raw, unpolished wood- dull as bricks, right?

Wrong! With a bit of love and care you remove the banal surface and bam! delicate lines and shapes.
Practically begging to be given the fancy treatment

I mean, now look at these puppies!

Don't they just brighten your day?

The colors...

The textures...

And trust me! they feel awesome to the touch!
 And to end on a more pragmatic note. You know how sometimes you get stuff on your keyboard? Dust bunnies, lint... crumbs? Well, Mariana has decided to make cleaning a bit more fancy. Just because it's a chore, it does not to also be a bore!

So that's it from me you guys. Be good, stay safe and keep an eye out for things that may seem boring but who knows? will actually become something new and amazing.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Stop being a child!

 I miss being a kid. If that is not a truism then I don't know what is...

I remember being a wee lass of 5 or 6 looking up in wonder at kids who were in the 2nd grade and who could multiply with two digits- what was that sorcery?! Then I learned how to do that and I wanted to be able to do geometry and then I wanted to own big notebooks with metal spines instead of my boring tiny A5 stationery.... then I wanted to go out with members of the previously-disregarded gender, then I wanted to own my own lipstick, then I wanted to leave home and go to school in a big city and feel cool and mature, then I wanted a job and then I wanted to travel and now I have a list of stuff I want to do that could cover the walls of my room in some sort of weird, tiny written and personalized wallpaper.

The only problem is that I think I've lost that sense of wonder I had when I was as tall as pot plant.

When Mariana moved back to Romania, her idea was to teach people her craft and give them the chance to make stuff they would wear- stuff that would be THEM- stuff that would be cool and unique! Sadly, whenever something does not have a practical application, around here it's filed under useless shenanigans and people move on. Why spend hours on a trinket when I can go to a shop and buy something already made, give them my money and it’s a done deal?

But do you know who does not ask such a pragmatic and realistic question? Children.

Mariana sent over some photos from last summer, when she set up a booth of sorts in front of the town museum. One of her friends is an architect who brought over her kids to look at Mariana’s finished work and her materials and technique. I’m pretty sure that at no point did any of the kids ask why they should be learning knots or making necklaces or being intrigued by beads. All they knew was that they were given free reign over a kingdom of shinny, colorful stuff that they could shape and mold in any way they chose.

I am almost 25 years old, but when I met Mariana and saw her little workshop I got a little giddy inside. I mean there were boxes and boxes of stuff and I don’t even know how to knot or knit or how to properly sow a button (don’t tell my mum! J ), but I thought that it was awesome that someone took something so mundane and so dismissed and turned it into literal head-turners.

Not only does Mariana knot the whole bead thing, she is also moving on to wooden accessories. Who else would see a tiny cherry wood twig and decide to make a hair pin out of it? One that shines brilliantly under New Year’s Eve fireworks, by the way!

So I guess what I’m saying is that it’s a shame when people lose their inner child or tune him out with too much pragmatism. I don’t mean we should all act as children- that would be really creepy. I just think that from time to time, we should listen to that version of us from ye’ olden days and let go for a while of the boring and the mundane.  And maybe wear something fun and one of a kind or why not even make something with your own two hands? Mariana does and I have rarely met someone with more optimism and more drive for something she truly believes in.

So what if people might think it’s a wacko endeavor? So what if people think it’s useless and with no practical application? Just look at kids and the stuff- it’s like freakin’ catnip without the frowned upon side-effects of course.

Added bonus to the impromptu photo shoot: photo of a really cool piece Mariana designed and perfected also a sneak peak at her treasured aloe cove.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Turning over a new leaf

Give me a sec while I dust the place and open some virtual windows for some binary fresh air to travel around a bit. OK... that ought to do it. Now take an imaginary seat and let's get this started.

2012 is almost over and since the end of a year is a good a place as any to begin new things, let's go with that particular cliche of turning over a new leaf.

As most of you know this blog was created to connect Mariana with loads of people from all over the world who share her passion for making stuff with their own two hands and for preserving the dying art of handcrafts. Unfortunately, while no one can deny Mariana's enthusiasm for her creations and goal, keeping an updated blog slid slowly but surely down her priorities list. Which was a pity and it's where I come in. (drum roll please!)

Hello, everyone! My name is Mara and I will be handling the nitty-gritty of updating this blog. Mariana was kind enough to entrust me with the blogging baton- she would much rather stick to designing and creating amazing pieces and will let me describe and spin a tale of what's going on in our little neck of the woods.

How did I end up here? Well, a couple of months ago my mum told me that a lady near my hometown was a jewelry designer. My curiosity was peaked when she also mentioned that the lady had moved back to Romania following a long stint in the good old U.S of A. You need to understand that whoever comes back from the "foreign lands" is regarded with at least a modicum of suspicion: "What do they want?" "Why are they back?" and "Will they steal my livestock?".

So off we went to meet the strange lady. Turns out she is strange, but in all the right ways: strangely enthusiastic, strangely talented and strangely determined to do something different in a place defined by its inflexibility on all planes. I was amazed by all the stuff she would pull out of different pouches and drawers and pockets and bags.... the colors.... the shapes.... the textures. I am not a huge fan of accessories (my style is more of a "waaaaay less is more" kind of approach) but her pieces made me think of outfits and occasions where they could be worn and paraded. I ended up getting a necklace for my office Christmas party- a necklace that spoke to me and sort of molded with who I am- and a promise for some bangles.

The bangles were delivered by Santa on Christmas Day and they were amazing and they make me happy when I look at them. And if that's not good advertising then  I don't know what is! But Santa came up with more tricks up his red and baggy sleeves: a bunch of mismatched earrings and a fantabulous hair accessory thingy that makes me feel like an Asian princess (one living in eastern Europe, but please allow the comparison).

So everyone, that's it from me for now. Will be back soon with stuff and news and anecdotes and rants and stories and whatever Mariana will be up to.

Be good and have a great New Year! 

I leave you with a picture of my current haul of Mariana's stuff and some snaps of the ye' olde' homestead (quite pretty this time of the year).

Be wary of deep snow (got my knee stuck for a while to the general amusement of my mum)

Apple orchards and a tiny bit of lost mist

Church steeple- highest church in Cimpulung. Legend mentions some star-crossed lovers, but then again most high geographical points involve one love-lorn individual taking a nose dive at one point.

December haul: hair thingy, bangles and earrings.


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Looking for new shapes and volume...In cautare de forme noi

I have to recognize that I am in a creative U-turn!
I jump from an idea to an other and ...nothing seems to come out right....
A couples good ideas arise from this week work...but I need to   perfect the steps of knotting.
I am spreading myself to thin into to many ideas... and I have to admit that I experiences often creative U-turns! Specially when I finish a piece and  I am looking to create the next one....
All artists do!
As much as talent, the capacity to avoid or  recoup from creative U-turns
distinguished their careers.
Bells bead-design 

My newest creation are  X Large beads ...bells- like  of 7 cm ...The pictures are made in association with my smallest round bead of 1.2 mm... I m planning for a sautoir style  design?! Searching for new STYLE is the most difficult.... mostly we create variations of basic styles....We re-create an existing style , we interpreted sometime , in our own way of working, expression...
The pictures are not so good...Just study: some new ways of knots combination....
With my technique of knotting is more difficult due to uneven size of beads and thickness of the thread.... I have to work each piece a lots of time until the exact step is found.... But this is the beauty... I follow no rules... I AM MAKING THEM!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Searching for new shapes....

I have un obsession for shapes and dimensions!
The knots are my tool and beads and threads are the material that I use. I have to find shapes, forms, motives of different dimensions so I can make a composition, a design.
In this case I had in mind a necklace , with a classic shape but the motives I had to make it in a variety that will have unity, harmony ,contrast, rhythm, balance , proportion and form.
In the search of right forms I have made ...86 pieces- I used 30 for this design and I have motives to other!
The colors that I choose are well coordinated ...but classic... Actually, color not my forte! I work with low quality beads and 3 to 4 mm.... not calibrated I have to choose combination based on availability and best option!
In my technique, thread is a part of design. I used a gold-like thread for motive construction and satin cord for arrangement.

So the result you can see it!

Pending design...

I found in my boards ...the rest of the motives... and I will added here... and still on pending with next design and the girandole earrings.... I am working on volumes and forms now...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Paste Fericit! Happy Easter!


I am in my Easter's break... and since I finished my necklace, I am looking for earrings to match .... I designed a lots of earrings in my career as a fine jewelry designer, but in the new technique of ornamental knots.  I am   searching now... 
I always was attracted to the romantic  designs ... and -The Girandole style- is  the big challenge....
My new project will be on  "The age of Elegance"...the 18th century...

Through out of  time, since I have s lots of materials left  from other projects,  I made some tassels....I love tassels...
Tassels- endless possibilities

Thursday, April 5, 2012

I finish my necklace!

With all the motives on place I start assembling the necklace inspired from the design of an old piece of mine. Very flexible and comfort fit choker type of necklace with dangling knotted beaded-beads .... .
For me the fitting is very important! Every piece of mine has to fit perfect ; to embrace any type of neck size.. The center piece has to drop perfect straight down and has to be free of twisting with the neck movement.In the next pictures you can observe the work progress of assembling.
The attachment of parts-motives are done with the same technique of knotting in mesh pattern.
For each element I use approximate 1.5 m of silver like thread.The necklace contains 35 pieces, plus 3 pieces at the closing; for assembling I used  approximate 4.5 m....The beads are common 4mm seed beads, clear white, light blue and blue color. 
The fastening is provided by a button hole and a small bead-button . The two dropping beads are my signature as far is back closing.
Old necklace 
Start- front side 

Start - back side
Center motives 

Work in progress

Back side  detail
Closing - front side

 Necklace- done

A definite center of interest that sets the character of this design, I hope to assure a unified result.

The necklace is rich, with romantic air and flexible features.

P/S: Personal note: I apologize for the pictures quality....