Monday, February 25, 2013

Creative accessories handmade by Natalia Sinelnik

It's so much fun to come across a truly talented and creative person who makes one of a kind, bright and happy accessories. I stumbled upon Natalia Sinelnik's on-line shop Nathings while looking for bright accessories for spring and summer.

Could you please tell us a bit about yourself?
I was born in a Cossack family at the South of Russia in Krasnodar region. After graduating from a local art and design school with a diploma in interior design I worked as an architect in Adidas in Moscow. That was a great experience but I decided I have to strike it out on my own eventually. I switched to visual arts mostly photography and painting (watercolors). On top of this I knit and sew a lot as it's something I've been doing all my life. I sketch my own designs and hand make accessories for my friends and family.

How did you start?
My wonderful mom knows how to professionally sew, knit and crochet. She taught me all her secrets so that they are not lost eventually. I remember myself operating a small treadle sewing machine at the tender age of 6. What my mom couldn't teach me I learned by reading books and magazines. I've always been making fashion items for myself. But my true passion is lady's hats. Since I was 16 I've been making one or two hats for myself every year. I've accumulated a wonderful collection of beautiful and unique hats at my house.

What are your main sources of inspiration?
I love to travel. Every time I'm in a new place I try to go to all the local museums to learn about local artists. If I cannot take pictures for some reason I always sketch the ornaments and patterns in my sketch book. I love the history of fashion. Early 20th century is my favorite time. I love Art Deco, Russian Modern, Flapper style and the silent movies era. I research millinery (hats' fashion) archives as many of the secrets of the hats' craftsmanship are unfortunately lost. Those who make hats today have to reinvent some of the hat making techniques and come up with their own now hows.

What fibers do you use? For the summer accessories I prefer cotton and linen. For winter items I mostly use silk, velvet and wool. I like to experiment combining different fabrics with hand felted wool, hand knitted and crocheted pieces. It works well to add buttons, ribbons, etc. to accent a piece. I've recently got a new mannequin head for my hat making. I'm in a process of creating my summer hat collection that will be just amazing!

Friday, February 22, 2013

Hand embroidered accessories by Galaborn

I'm sure many of us own one or two hand embroidered pillows or wall decorations inherited from our grand mothers. Often times hand embroidery brings memories of the past and something old fashioned. However, nowadays hand embroidery got a new twist. A few very talented and creative artists made hand embroidery fashionable again. One of them is Gala of Galaborn who lives in São Paulo, Brazil.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?

I'm originally from Russia. Some time ago I moved to Brazil with my husband and that changed my life completely. I feel like I belong to the whole world now and can pretty much live in any place. I started my on-line shop a few years ago. Having an on-line shop gives me a lot of flexibility. I can plan my own day and yet I'm able to do something I really love.

How did you start?

I started with making gifts for my friends and family. People I know really loved my items and started ordering not only small hand embroidered accessories but home decoration pieces as well. The word spread around and before I knew it I was hand embroidering items for my clients. The time has come to open my own shop. I believe that each piece should not only be beautiful but unique. It has to have its own character and style. I've graduated from an art and design school in Russia and my training helps me a lot.

What inspires you?

Folk ornaments and crafts inspire me a lot. Sometimes my friends come up with a new idea and share it with me. I very much love what I do and this positive attitude somehow makes me very creative and productive. I know that eventually every piece will find its owner and will be mailed to a place far away.

I really like to work with natural fabrics and yarns like cotton and linen. They are so great to work with. They basically radiate positive energy and are a real thing. Most of my embroidery is done on thick cotton by cotton threads. I try to use only natural and eco friendly supplies. My buttons are made of wood or coconut shell. They have unique designs and shapes as I pay a lot of attention to details. I very much believe in handmade and in every item being totally unique and special.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Face to Face art work by Marina

I've recently discovered an amazing artists Marina who lives in San Jose, California. Marina graduated from Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry. She is an accomplished artist whose beautiful pieces could be seen in private collections all over US and abroad.

How did you start?

I always liked to draw. When I was a kid I used to go to a neighborhood art studio. Later I got accepted to an art college where I continued my training. Finally, I got into Stroganov Moscow State University of Arts and Industry the most famous and prestigious art school in Russia.

What is your favorite painting technique?

I love to draw with oil and acrylic paints on canvases. I do ENGRAVINGS ON PAPER that is an original technique developed by me over years. I basically cut an image right on paper and then rub oil paint into the cut grooves. I like to add collages to my paintings as well. Sometimes I used ink, colored pencils, and acrylic paints to create images on pieces of handmade paper. I just really like to experiment!

What inspires you?

Believe it or not but I actually get inspired by art supplies. When you are in an art supplies store you have a chance to take a close look at all the paints, papers, pencils, pastels that are available for artists to experiment with. I always get an urge to go home and try a new pencil or a unique handmade paper.

Other artists' paintings and creations inspire me a lot. I buy books with artists' prints to look at for inspiration. I could compare it to a silent conversation between two artists. You see something beautiful and unique created by another artist and in response you feel an urge to create a piece of your own.
Occasionally I come across my old and forgotten piece and get inspired by it.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Floral arrangements and designs by Agnes Stillfried

Agnes was born in Germany and worked as a Master florist in Hamburg. While living in Germany Agnes had 2 flower stores and a thriving floral arrangements and designs business.

20 years ago Agnes moved to a farm in Virginia where she resides now. That's when she started her US floral arrangements business. At her beautiful Travelers Rest Farm Agnes grows all sorts of flowers, herbs, beautiful flowering bushes and trees. She makes frequent trips to the ocean to collect sea shells for her wreaths and flower arrangements.

Agnes gets inspired by amazing nature of Virginia, old wooden barn structures, ocean shells and aquatic life. She is a huge fan or recycling, upcycling and sustainable living. She turns old wood, last year's flowers, walnuts and pine cones into unique and beautiful wreaths and home decoration pieces.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Winter flower

I found this simple flower walking by my house on a snow day. The color combination chocolate brown flower on white snow caught my eyes. I simply couldn't walk by:)

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Upcycled cashmere by Irina Baranova

Richmond, VA is famous for it's beautiful James river, southern cuisine and historic landmarks. It's now getting more and more attention for its vibrant arts and creative talent community. With the local university (VCU) art's school being ranked among the top art schools in the country and a number of local companies attracting international talent the city is turning into a very cool place to live in.

One of the very talented and unique local textile artists is Irina Baranova who is originally from Russia. Irina works with luxurious textiles like cashmere, silk and linen turning them into wearable pieces of art.

Irina upcycles items donated to her by friends and clients turning them into completely new designs. Mixing different fabrics, colors and fibers Irina creates stylish and beautiful sweaters, coats, skirts, vests that look luxurious and cozy at the same time. Every item turns out to be unique and special. Her style is instantly recognizable and you might have seen women and men wearing her designs in the streets of Richmond.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Печём домашний хлеб - полезно и не сложно

Вы когда-нибудь пробовали испечь свой хлеб? Если нет, то давайте попробуем. Это совсем не сложно. Все, что вам понадобится это немного терпения и чугунная кастрюля с плотно прилегающей крышкой.

Хлеб, который продается в магазинах зачастую не самый свежий и вкусный. В какой-то момент мы набрели на статью в газете Нью Йорк Таймс, где рассказывалось о том, как испечь хлеб в домашних условиях без хлебопечки. Мы решили попробовать и оказалось, что это совсем не сложно. При этом результат превзошел все наши ожидания! Такого вкусного хлеба мы наверное никогда еще не ели. Было особенно приятно, что испекли мы его сами, своими руками!

Вам понадобятся:
500 гр. неотбелённой муки высшего сорта
375 гр. воды (75% веса муки)
1 и 1/2 чайной ложки соли
1/4 чайной ложки сухих дрожжей

Чтобы хлеб получился воздушным и сдобным его необходимо выпекать в толстой чугунной кастрюле с плотно прилегающей крышкой (утятнице).

Секрет выпечки домашнего хлеба - в точности измерений! Чтобы хлеб получился, надо очень точно отмерить пропорцию муки и воды. Именно поэтому и вода и мука приводятся в граммах. Вес воды должен составлять 75% веса муки.

Процесс приготовления:
В отдельной кастрюле или миске легонько перемешайте муку, воду, соль и дрожжи. Достаточно просто дать муке немного намокнуть. Накройте миску полотенцем и забудьте про нее на 15-18 часов. Желательно, чтобы кастрюля стояла в месте с комнатной температурой. За это время дрожжевая культура разрастется до нужных размеров. Через 15-18 часов на поверхности муки вы увидите много больших пузырей. Наш хлеб готов к выпеканию!

Чуть чуть присыпьте ваш хлеб мукой и выложите его из миски на стол. Сформируйте из массы круглую булку. Накройте булку полотенцем и дайте постоять 1,5 - 2 часа.

Поставьте чугунную кастрюлю в духовку и разогрейте вашу духовку до 260 С. Кастрюля должна нагреться. Очень важно, чтобы на чугунной кастрюле не было пластмассовых ручек, иначе они расплавятся. Чугунная кастрюля будет очень горячей и поэтому надо очень аккуратно вынимать ее из духовки!

Аккуратно переложите вашу булку в горячую чугунную кастрюлю. Накройте кастрюлю крышкой и выпекайте в течение 30 минут. После этого снимите крышку, убавьте температуру духовки до 215 С и выпекайте еще 15 минут, чтобы корка хлеба подрумянилась.

Вот и все! В нашей семье этот хлеб съедается моментально! Мы заметили, что друзья стали чаще заглядывать к нам в гости. Уж не хлеб ли этому причиной?

Удачного вам выпекания!