Sorry for the silence, friends. A weekend trip to Utrecht became a family emergency trip to Utrecht and Germany, and, upon return, some loose ends at the coffee shop. But enough about me and my excuses, because I have a lovely interview for you today. Please welcome Miss Babacilu, a talented jewelry maker.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Name, age, education and artistic background.
My name is Ioana, but since Babacilu and Miss Babacilu my customers and fellow artisans, who all become my friends, called me Miss B so that’s one familiar nickname for me. I’m almost 23, finished Political Science, now I’m studying for my MA. I have no other artistic background than a home education for everything beautiful, especially for jewelry and clothes. I come from a family with a wonderful dressmaking history and I like to believe my love for <vanities> is in my blood.
You create delicate, elegant tea-party jewelry, as you yourself call it. How and when did you discover your passion and how was the road this far?
I started drawing a cute little girl, who had her own world, with cats, dogs, smiling clouds, and so on. She was Babacilu, living in a tea cup. I made brooches with drawing of Babacilu and her world, then I bumped into some tea set miniatures. That was the moment when my brand was in its tea drunk days. Then I discovered lockets, I always had a great love for family jewelry, old jewelry with a story so after I made the locket necklaces I started using pearls, then all kind of gems, and Babacilu became a miss, in love with fashion jewelry.
Miss Babacilu is the history of my jewelry passion, from cute, to elegant things. While traveling this road I developed a great love for tea parties, they went together with my love for manners and diplomatic protocol so I decided Miss B will be about the jewelry one can wear while attending a tea party, because tea parties are all about warm afternoons, laughter, joy, colorful dresses, flowers and pretty hats. Then I said to myself, well, this sound like the perfect living, how wonderful must be living a life as happy as a tea party! So Miss B’s motto is < Life is an endless tea party> and I make jewelry precisely for this kind of living, a bit romantic, a bit modern, quite elegant and always positive and happy.
What aspect of your craft appeals to you the most and why? How does this keep you on your way?
I love everything about what I do. I love buying materials, having all in front of me and deciding what should I make with them, I love matching props for nice photos, I love packaging the orders, I love writing to customers and I love promoting them. I’m not a professional in many of these domains, especially in photography, but I try my best making everything look and feel as I see and feel them.
I am fascinated by the idea of adornments, of the little things that make a woman feel more confident, more beautiful, and I feel blessed to have discovered this road and being able to make pieces of fashion jewelry. A necklace can make your face look more thin, a bracelet can make your wrist more graceful, jewelry has such an amazing effect on one’s outfit, and I love the fact that my work can make this for some ladies.
How is it for an crafter like you to live, work and create in Romania? Any challenges you face? Maybe some advantages?
Since Romania is part of the EU and we have great internet connections, I have no challenges to face other than the ones all crafters have, in matters of bureaucracy and other little problems. I cannot think of specific advantages, but I’m sure there are some, simply the fact that I can speak my mother tongue when dealing with the postal service or others can seem like an advantage. I’ve always worked here so I have no other countries to compare it with.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
As most of the people I’ve read about, I would say everywhere. But most of all, I am deeply inspired by garments, pieces of embroidery, especially those on clothing, of photos of different kind of fabric and textures. And by lifestyle photographs, they are an immense source of color combinations that make me think and start drawing or matching beads.
How does your studio look like? What do you need to get that creativity flowing?
My studio is dominated by my desk and a small table I set my boxes on. Plus a great panel where I set my drawing and my unfinished pieces. I have a beautiful Victorian like mirror on my desk, some tiny perfumes bottles, jars with pearls, they get me in the mood I want my pieces to reflect.
Do you think you will be doing this for a long time? If you wouldn’t be an artisan, what would you be?
I surely hope to be doing this all my life. And if not, I would like to work in a field involving creativity and a positive result for the world.
What do you plan or dream for your future?
I dream of making statement pieces selling online and in shops I love, I dream of being able to do this as long as possible. And to see more and more women wearing my pieces, it’s such an amazing feeling seeing someone wearing your work!
What is your most treasured handmade possession?
To be honest and a bit selfish, because I have quite some wonderful things made by artisans or by my family, my dearest handmade possessions are first of all the skirts my grandma made me and second, a drawing I did in the 4th grade, a drawing of the ocean life, with lots of creatures. I did it amazingly good, only by looking at a similar photograph, I did it at night quite mad because my mother, who draws beautifully didn’t want to help me. Looking back, that seemed to be more than a <do it yourself> moment, but the moment when I did it all by myself, for myself, and succeeding, just as I am trying to do now with Miss B.
What advice would you give to an aspiring crafter?
Oh, all I have now I’ve learned mostly from mistakes and from google, so I would have appreciated some pieces of advice myself in the beginning. The best idea I can give to an aspiring crafter is to value his work as he would like it to be valued by a boss, to make amazingly good pieces in terms of quality, and to promote them, as much as possible. And most important, I think there is no golden rule, only the aspiration to have a work done as perfect as possible.
Have a lovely day, creative friends!