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.