When I first discovered Etsy, I was a bit jealous that not many Romanian artisans were present there. But with time, I realized that there are a few that bring pride to the Romanian handmade market. This is why I am very pleased to have with me today two beauty makers from Cluj Napoca, Ildiko and Flavia, creating under the name of Harem6. Let’s welcome them.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Name, age, education and artistic background.
Hi everyone ! We are Ildiko Muresan and Flavia Marele and our artist name is Harem6. We‘re both 32 years old with a great passion for art, vintage, nature and animals. We met in 2003 and we’ve been creating together ever since. We both went to study at the Art Academy in Cluj Napoca where we got our art degrees.
You create beautiful dolls and wearable art out of clay and fabric. How and when did you discover your passion and how was the road this far?
Ildiko: I have been creating for a very long time, I don’t know for how long anymore because I can’t remember when I started. So it must have been at a very fresh age when I started. I have always been fond of drawing. I know that my very first teacher, in my 1st school year discovered my drawing skills and encouraged me to create. I inherited my mother, she used to play the violin and draw.
Flavia: I have always liked to paint and draw. I especially loved to draw foxes when I was a little girl.
Ildiko & Flavia: Being an artist is extremely challenging. One must be sure that this is what you want to be in your everyday life because this path isn’t always bright and shiny, at least not in our country. We love what we do and the joy of creating gave us the strength to go on and embrace all the good things that came along this road and God gave us the wisdom and power to deal with the hard times. It’s great that we met amazing people who believed in us and what we create.
What aspect of your craft appeals to you the most and why? How does this keep you on your way?
We love every aspect of what we do, of course some of them more and some less. I totally love drawing (Ildiko) and … I love shaping the forms of our creatures (Flavia). The most interesting part of our work is when we’re trying something new, something we haven’t done before. Although it can be quite difficult, this starting process of discovering a new technique or adding something never made before to an already existing process is extremely rich in a positive way, it’s filled with great expectations.
How is it for a crafter like you to live, work and create in Romania? Any challenges you face? Maybe some advantages?
Our country is in a changing process. People struggle to have a good life and by now they couldn’t focus on art too much due to the problems that they face day by day. What we like is that we see more and more people interested in what we create, the materials we use … That’s a good thing because it means things are getting better. Romania is a country where many great people are still waiting to be discovered by the world.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Inspiration can come from anywhere, there isn’t a pattern or a precise way it comes. You can get inspired at a time you wouldn’t have thought about. And that is great about inspiration. Of course there are certain activities we enjoy and inspire us: reading, we love seeing beautiful interiors, collecting vintage, films.
How does your studio look like? What do you need to get that creativity flowing?
Our studio is our home. We love moving the table we work at. Ha! Ha! Ha! Yes, that’s true! We get a bit bored of the room we’re working in, so we move it to another one. We might also change things in room, move shelves and pictures on the wall to change the atmosphere. We love collecting things from the past, so we like to think of our home as of a miniature museum.
Do you think you will be doing this for a long time? If you wouldn’t be an artisan, what would you be?
Well we certainly do hope we’ll be doing this for a long time.
Ildiko: I think I’d be a biologist, I love plants and nature.
Flavia: I’d certainly be a vet. I love animals!
What do you plan or dream for your future?
We don’t like making plans, we try to be awake and strong to follow God’s plans for us.
What is your most treasured handmade possession?
Ildiko: My most treasured handmade possession is a silk dressing gown made by my grandmother who was a dressmaker.
Flavia: A crocheted hen costume I once bought at a flea market. I’m only sad I can’t wear it because it’s too small.
What advice would you give to an aspiring crafter?
Stay positive and strong! Always see what your goal is!
Hope you enjoyed the visit of these two lovely creative ladies. You can find out more about their work on their blog, where they share incredible work in progress photos, on their Facebook page and in their cozy Etsy shop.
Have a lovely day, everybody!