Friday, 15 August 2008

Set the controls for the heart of the sun

Chaincreative has arrived in Lisbon, Portugal sparkling in a southern sunshine (the atmospheric picture is from the Flikr photostream of Marcin Gorski). As we heard from Karlita last week, there's much to appreciate of design from the Iberian Peninsula (check Karlita's blog) and her trip to Seville. Still, today we're in the westward facing Portugal. Like many catholic countries there's a strong religious aspect to much of the crochet you'll find there - altar cloths etc but our interest at the moment is in contemporary design and what the designers are thinking at the moment round the world.
Let's get our bearings and pop into a picturesque bar before truly enjoying the vibrant street-scene and beautifully preserved architecture and storefronts. It's such a pleasure to see so many historic buildings preserved and still commercially functioning.

Once we've enjoyed some liquid refreshment, let's find out a little bit about what cultural offerings we design fans can find here.
I've made a new discovery in the virtual world, Vanda Sousa, and her blog has given me some pointers to where a design hungry crocheter might find some inspiration. The blog and shop, Pedra de Toque, looks a positive treasure trove and chaincreative can't wait to mooch around it's discoveries! I love these tiles, which remind me alot of little jewels of crochet. Lots of ideas to go rummaging through my store-box of yarns and colours. Ooo, looking forward to getting back to my crochet hook when I at last return home!!!
Vanda also suggests that a good time to visit for the craft markets, July, for the Feira do Principe Real and the Craft and Design Show in the Jardim da Estrela and this takes place the first Saturday and Sunday of each month during the summer! That must be beautiful, in the gardens everyone sets up their stalls and it's party time!
Well, that's all very satisfying and it's great to find that the creative scene is thriving and that, again as with Belgium, the age spread is huge. There's life there to carry on the traditions. Hurray.
Now is a great time to check out a chaincreative friend that has impressed many more than just me - Karlita name-checked her last week and I know that her work is well-known and appreciated. We've mentioned her before and I'm glad we now have the opportunity to introduce you more fully. Maria at kjoo. Maria is a graphic designer by trade but expresses herself most beautifully through crochet and felt. We caught up with her for a short chat about her creativity and inspiration. Maria apologises for her English (not necessary) and asks us to make our corrections (again not necessary)!!!
My name is Maria João Ribeiro from Palmela, Portugal. You can see my work at Flikr. (Beautiful pictures, Maria!!) I learn crochet with my grandmother when I was very young. In my childhood I use to make some dresses for my doll! I rediscover crochet in 2006 after many years of pause. (I think alot of us would sympathise with that - life has a habit of coming in the way of our love for crafts) I love the diversity of shapes and textures crochet allow. Also, since the process of crocheting take some time, it´s possible to slowly figure it out new ways to finish the piece in progress. I love to start a piece with a final result in mind and be surprised with the unexpected final result. That is pure fun, but not necessarily always good surprises. :) (Ha ha, I know just what you mean. How many of us have started something only to undo it a hundred times over, before finally we're satisfied with it. Then never pick it up again!)
I write the word kjo randomly wile making some font type tests for a graphic design work. At the moment I find the word attractive, and keep it in mind. So when I opened my etsy shop I just added one more -o-.Doesen´t have any special meaning but I think it´s a catchy and pretty name.
Inspirations? Influences?Those are really difficult questions...I got inspired by everything I see, I feel or I experment.Colors inspire me the most I think, a good color combination is most of the time the begging of a new piece. I can figure it out just by myself, or see on someone clothes, on some websites even on some dish... Traveling usually get me very inspired, I would love to traveling all the time. :) (We know JUST what you mean!!!)Also new supplies, ready to use get me always inspired.
Detail, detail, detail. I love details.Also I try hard to give to my pieces impeccable finish. (Wow, that's fantastic. So much in the shops today is sooo badly finished) My favourites are hard to chose, because I always have new faves. I love the berber inspiration choker: (necklace #141) The necklace #172 was the greatest challenge I face in crochet and was a pleasant surprise when I finish it.Finally the brooch ##261, was one of my all time faves. When I start a project I have in mind and final result came out prettier then I expected, make me really happy.Generally working make me happy. Receiving positive feedback from others make me more then happy. (I looooove it - it's stunning) Thanks so much*smiles* Maria!

And thank you, Maria!

Now chaincreative must pack up and head off for the next exciting destination in the tour of countries, their crochet and creativity!!!


karlita said...

I loved reading about Portugal and about Kjoo - she makes beautiful things and is a sweet person!

Maria said...

I just came from my vacations,and love to see this post about Portugal!
Thanks so much for including my interview and for your sweet comments along!

Very best*

Vanda Sousa said...

Hallo! I've just noticed your comment about my blog. Better late than never ;-)) Thanks for mentioning it. It's nice to see portuguese artists featured as well.

Vanda Sousa said...

I've just realised you've made a comment about my blog. Thanks for that. I'm also very happy to see portuguese artists featured ;-))