This week on the blog I'm featuring Natalia from Natalia Lovat.
Tell us a bit about yourself - (where do you live, what's your name etc..)
My name is Natalia, but everyone calls me Natasha! Lovat is my middle name (my grandfather was Scottish) and Natalia is Russian (my grandmother was Russian) so coming up with a name for my Jewellery wasn’t difficult.
I live in Chessington in Surrey, I used to be a London girl but once the kids came along we felt the need to move out to the burbs (and nearer the grandparents!) We have lived in Chessington for nearly four years.
I have always been creative since I can remember. I got my first sewing machine for my seventh birthday. My grandmothers both sewed and knitted and I was fascinated, always helping out and asking for them to show me how to knit and sew.
My Russian grandmother was very creative, as was her whole family, many artists, writers and designers on the Russian side. She made everything and was one of the most glamorous women I have had the pleasure of meeting. She was and is my inspiration in so many ways.
So I always followed a creative path throughout school. I went to Art College to do a foundation and then onto do a degree in Knitwear design. From graduating I started working for an accessories designer hand finishing scarves in a basement in Marble Arch, oh the glamour! I somehow progressed onto becoming a production manager for a children’s wear supplier. I gained a lot of experience from my time working in fashion, travelling to Paris fashion week, London fashion week, meeting buyers, going to India to inspect factories and production.
All the while I had plans to one day start making and selling my own creations. Three years ago I signed up to do a Silver Jewellery course for a year and I fell in love! I loved working in silver and making jewellery and haven’t looked back since. I did a short course in creative bead jewellery and from there started to make my own jewellery. I am still doing the Silver jewellery course and I think working in Silver and metal is something that you can constantly be learning something new in, I’m hooked!
What do you make?
I mainly make beaded jewellery using vintage and recycled beads and jewellery. I have just started to add some handmade silver pieces to my collections which have sold really well so there will be more being made this year.
Why do you use that medium?
I love turning old forgotten about, broken jewellery into something new and beautiful. I spend a lot of time sourcing the beads and treasures. I have been lucky to find some beautiful things. I get very excited!
When/ how did you start crafting?
I have always been crafty, but Natalia Lovat was stated up around 12 months ago.
When did you start selling your stuff - where do you sell?
My first proper sale was April 2010 at a school pamper evening. From there I had a sale at home where I invited friends etc to come and eat cake, drink wine and buy my jewellery! I do a lot of private sales where people contact me or pop in to see what I have. I have also made some beautiful commission pieces, which I loved doing. Mainly I have so far been selling locally, family, friends, friends of friends etc. The response has been amazing and hugely flattering, but can be limiting so I need to branch out. My aim for 2011 is to sell more online and to go to some craft fairs. I do however prefer selling face to face rather than online.
A 60th Birthday commission
Retirement present commission
Do you also have a day job, or is this your main job?
I wish this was my full time job but sadly I’m not there yet! I work part time in a community centre as an administrator, I also am a freelance media analyst and a part time web administrator. Finding time for Natalia Lovat is often very hard!
What do you love about your medium, what do you hate?
I love silver, I love how you can shape it into something really beautiful. At the moment I love heating up the silver and getting the hammer out to change the shape! With the beads I of course love everything, but as each piece is a one off I can get attached and feel sad when I sell something as I will never see it again! But then I find some new treasure and get excited about them.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
Everywhere! With the silver I have a thing about circles and circular shapes. I find fashion magazines a good guide when I’m stuck on what to make. But inspiration can come from a conversation, nice walk, something I’ve seen on TV, an exhibition or museum, a book, or just a light bulb moment!
What is your favourite music to craft to?
I tend t have 6music on most of the day. But at the moment I seem to be listening to Rufus Wainright, Bombay bicycle Club and Arcade Fire while working.
What is your favourite piece of your own?
I have two favourite pieces which are both made in silver. One is a chain which took me forever to make, but it’s just beautiful. I wear it lots, and will gladly make another as a commission. The other pieces is a lovely long silver necklace with silver beads hanging from the chain, they make a lovely sound as I move. This also can be made as a commission piece.
Silver chain, took forever to make!
Where do you do your crafting (specially built studio - sofa??)
I have a desk in the corner of the dining room, next to the window. I am starting to spread out a bit though, under the desk is full and boxes are appearing next to the desk. It won’t be long until I need more space!
A HUUuuuuuge thank you to Natalia (Natasha) for taking part in the interview, and giving us a great insight into Natalia Lovat!
If you would like to be featured on the blog (and haven't been in touch already) do let me know in a comment below, or contact me via the folksy shop. It'd be useful if you could leave a link to your shop too!