Hi my dear readers!
Today I want to introduce a phenomenal crochet designer who I am sure will capture your hearts with her amazing and unique creations.
1. Can you introduce yourself to my readers? Who is Elena Stavreska?
When it comes to self-introduction, what comes to mind first is - an artist, a creator - someone that is able to create something with his/her hands that has an aesthetic value. By profession, I am a graduated painter. Pure art and high aesthetics are my foundations, the basis onto I build my creations. However, what I have been passionately doing for the past two years is design and creation of unique jewelry and fashion accessories. Crochet is the technique I use to spring my creations to life.
2. How did your relationship with crochet begin? Whom did you learn it from and what was your first creation?
Art is the reason I learnt to crochet. Namely, I was preparing an independent exhibition - a huge project with art objects of great format. One of the pieces had to look like a giant spider web. I thought long and hard how to make this so that I could capture more authentically the spider web. I decided it was best to crochet it instead drawing it on canvas. I consulted close friends and relatives regarding the basics of crochet and I also made my own researches and "experiments". So now I feel the hook as a kind of anatomical extension of my hand.
My first creation was a necklace made with purple thread and crocheted semi-precious stone - a pink quartz. It was a birthday gift for a friend. I was immensely happy I could materialize my idea. So I was inspired to make some pieces for myself. And that was the beginning. I haven't stopped creating since then. I simply got addicted to the process.
3. What is the design process like? Do you plan in advance your pieces or everything comes spontaneously?
I am a visual type - I fill my soul with what I perceive with my eyes. Ideas for potential creations spring through visualization. Since the stones are main characteristic of my designs, this process of creative visualization is provoked and nurtured by them - the stones. The color, shape, texture of the stone... all its characteristics inspire me and determine in a way the final look of the piece of jewelry (the color of the thread, the shape of the crocheted parts, etc.).
My creations include various types of fashion accessories: from necklaces, bracelets and rings, to belts, amulet pouches, hair accessories even cell phone cases. I use crochet thread for my creations, in different colors and sizes. Some designs consist of purely crochet elements, others have various beads (glass or plastic), pieces of sea glass, slag, etc. Still, as I have already said, designs with crocheted stones are at the top of my list. I take pleasure in working with semi-precious stones and minerals, but sea, lake and river stones are also an never-ending source of inspiration - I use them in their natural state - I don't make any additional changes and I don't polish them. The stone as a natural material is my fascination, a unique and unrepeatable energy that I try to respect to the maximum when designing a piece.
I have noticed that everything that comes through the sense of sight might be a potential inspiration. I recognize art elements and principles around me, which implies that it is completely unforeseeable where and what the trigger for the next design would be. I am also positively inspired by other people's creativity and ability. I enjoy looking at pieces that result from someone's unconditional dedication and focus of energy, regardless of whether it is art, a photo, piece of jewelry, clothes or a unique designer's solution from whatever area.
6. What motifs appear in your designs?
When it comes to motifs, I think that my designs do not possess exact, typically set motifs. I could set apart a common characteristics, a trait that makes them recognizable. I'd say they have a "double aura", because on one hand they leave the impression of something old, folk, maybe medieval, while on the other hand they are modern designs where there is an established order between fine elements and principles. It is interesting that many people have given me the same feedback - that my designs make them think of fairies. Most probably that association is triggered by natural materials I use. Maybe that juxtaposition of the softness and vulnerability of the cotton on one side and the constancy of the stone on the other gives that ambivalent, untamable nature that reflects the fairies as mythological creatures.
The process of creating my pieces is quite long - it takes me several days for a piece. It requires perseverance and patience. Each stage of the process is enjoyed differently. Maybe the most intensive charge I experience is when I search adequate materials to make a new, specific piece I had visualized. The materialization of the idea is experienced as a kind of mediation - the dimension time becomes completely irrelevant. I take joy and immense pleasure when I put my new piece on me.
8. Is there a favourite place for you to work at?
To be honest, that is not really important, at least not at the moment, because the sole process creates a specific atmosphere around me, makes me feel as if I am in my own parallel universe, so I can work anywhere. I mostly work at home, however I sometimes take my hook and thread when I visit friends, or while I am on the bus. Of course, it would be fantastic if I had my own workshop, a designer oasis where I would make a perfectly ordered creative chaos that would not bother anyone and would infinitely be useful to me. I hope I would make that true in the future.
9. Do you have a favourite design and what inspired you to make it?
I cannot say there is a design or a piece of jewelry that is my favourite. I invest the same energy in a piece so all are equally dear. However, I can pick out a certain type of jewelry that I personally like because it fits my dressing style. Those are the so called slave bracelets.
10. Is there a technique or a style that you would like to try in the future?
Of course there are other techniques to make jewelry that fascinate me and I would love to learn. Filigree is one of them. Besides looking magnificently, I like that this technique elicits the same meditative condition of "sinking" into work I mentioned earlier.
It is a characteristics of mine that I don't divide time to free and not free. Simply, I spent all my time doing things that make me happy. I consider them a constituent part of my identity. Besides designing jewelry I practice Tai Chi Chuan. I am an assistant instructor at the Wushu Club Fei Long, I am also a certified instructor for Chi Gong and recently I have become the general secretary of the newly established and only Macedonian Wushy Federation. But I have another energetic filter I couldn't live without. That's singing. Currently I sing in two heavy metal bands and that fulfills me greatly. Seemingly these three fields have nothing in common, however for me they represent a whole: pictorial art - martial arts - musical art... it becomes clear what their common axis is, doesn't it?
I am not a big fan of planning the future in details, but I have some wishes I gradually work to realize. One of them is making handmade popular, especially this kind of jewelry I make. I would love very much to have my own work and exhibition space - that would give my life and creations a new dimension. I hope I can make them true.