On a gorgeous day like today, a Happy Friday for many of us, I would like to take you on a tour to Turin (Torino), Italy. Here we’re going to have a delightful time with our weaver Mirella from Mireloom store.
Mirella’s story is full of magic, artistry and inspiration.
About a month ago Mirella was featured on Etsy Blog called “Open Studio Tour”
Random Facts about You?
I live with my husband in a little town near Torino, in North Italy. My grownup daughter lives in downtown Torino by herself. Our house is situated along the river Po, near a wonderful park where I often take walks and pick plants for my hand dyeing. I always wanted to live in the woods, but my husband is a city person, so this is a good compromise for both of us!
We are passionate travellers and our best travel experience was in South East Asia. There I got to know a few prominent weavers who were also very nice people. That trip made me fall in love with Thai weaving. I was inspired by those textiles where weavers play, in such a creative way, with their ancient geometric symbols! In my artistic textiles I get play with some of those symbols like hooks, spirals and so on.
From my childhood I was an art lover because of my parents who were always about finding beauty in everything. So I grew up thinking to become an artist or find some creative work in my life. But I never could distinguish between an artist, a designer or a hand-crafter. So the final decision of “who to become” was never made. It's so difficult for me to separate those three things... I'm - all of it together! Luckily I was supported by my family members, still helping me to grow my work, even though they do different work from mine (she is a translator and he is a geologist)
How long ago have you started weaving?
Almost thirty years ago, after getting my anthropology degree, I went to a weaving school....my parents weren't so happy about that! ;-)
What got you started weaving?
When I was a teenager I went in Stockholm where I visited the crafts museum, and there I had a sudden inspiration! There I saw the fiber-art that captured my imagination! But the most important thing was ….. Love! I fell in love with a Dutch boy when I was nineteen. He educated me about an ancient weaver and her big loom, as big as a room... The image of that loom and beautiful work on it is still vivid in my mind...
Any particular technique(s) that you enjoy the most?
Even though on Etsy I list my simplest work, I very much love intricate techniques, double weaving, warp and weft substitution, often combined. Even more I love tapestries.
What part the process makes you the most passionate?
Hmm... If I make a tapestry I like every phase of the work, (the warping - not so much ;-)))) from the idea to the result. But making scarves or a shawl - after the first 3rd one I'm already thinking – what’s next!
What is your source of inspiration?
Many! Colours of nature, art, some accidental ideas from films, magazines and (why not!?!?!?) sometimes after looking at the work of another fiber artist I jump with a new idea of my own!
Where do you sell?
Hand craft markets for shawls, bags, and scarves; at an art gallery, and naturally on Etsy.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
As I told before I'm a passionate traveller, even around my own house, where I always discover a new hidden corner!.. I also love drawing and looking for wild herbs for eating or dyeing….I know so many of them! Even more I love to read, to take walks, to meet with my friends and have entertaining dinners with them!!
What first made you want to become an artist?
Perhaps the art books that I had seen in my parent’s house from when I was a child, and also the fact that we have so many artists in our family!
Please describe your creative process: how, when, materials, etc.
Materials are a big source of inspiration! Sometimes I think for a long time with a ball of yarn in my hand, trying to create some work specifically out of this yarn!
Sometimes it’s a sudden idea, just when I am about to fall asleep, or during the night, when I can’t sleep...
Which of your creative knowledge do you cherish the most?
Definitely the tapestry technique
What advice would you give to artists who are new to Etsy?
Don't get discouraged, but don't become slaves to Etsy!!!
What do you like about Etsy?
I like it for many reasons! It is beautiful aesthetically, and most importantly it gives me the chance to get in touch with many people who love craft and weaving, and more because it is like a game where you can win sometimes and have some success!
How do you promote your work?
I have a gallery that promotes my fiber art works. I also go to art and craft markets. I do more on Etsy, for example by creating a treasury…hoping for the FP!
What weaving activities or guilds to you participate in?
I’m a member of Coordinamento Tessitori http://www.coordinamentotessitori.it/ - the Weavers Association that gathers weavers from all Italy. Every year it organizes a very beautiful meeting in Torino. I’m also a part of a fiber art group that helps me to participate in many art shows.
Do you have a website, blog, Facebook page, or other online endeavours?