interview with amira mednick

While attending Art Hop in Portland last spring I discovered the colorful and intricate jewelry of Amira Mednick.  I remember thinking," this girl has a great understanding of color and composition."  I've become obsessed with Amira's work.  My interview series gave me the perfect excuse to learn more about Amira and her jewelry line.

Where do you draw your inspiration?
I spend a lot of time looking at things, all kinds of things.  I don't always know where or when something I've seen makes a mark on me.  Often I see a new design while I am working on a current piece and this makes me want to finish the piece I am working on so I can start the new one before I forget it!  I do sketch out some of my ideas, trying to document an idea before it escapes my mind.  I wish I kept a note pad with me at all times so I could really get down every idea.  I find inspiration in the colors; lines and textures of nature, hiking in the Columbia River Gorge, camping in Bend surrounded by sage green dried desert bushes and bluish gray grasses.  I think that most of all I am inspired by the colors I see all around.   Other designers are a huge source of inspiration for me.  I am constantly looking at the work of other designers and artists.  While I was living in Argentina I came across the shop and studio of designer Gabriela Horvat.  Seeing her work was a very important moment of realization for me as an artist.

Where did you learn the knotting technique you use to make pieces?
After graduating from art school, I traveled throughout Argentina, Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Uruguay.  My boyfriend (and best friend) and I wanted to volunteer and see more of the world.  I brought string with me to create friendship bracelets for the children with whom we would be volunteering at the end of our travels in Buenos Aires.  The first stop we made in Argentina was in a small town named Bariloche along the Andes Mountain.  There, I saw artists in the plaza displaying their knotted jewelry.  Their work reminded me of the bracelets I used to make when I was eleven years old, all summer long, knotting away with my friends.  But, their work was different and I wanted to learn.  While traveling I asked various artists about their knotting techniques and the materials they used.  I even found a store in some remote town on the eastern coast of Argentina that sold some of the string they use, a waxed nylon.  I looked over artists shoulders while they worked on the street to figure out how they started and finished a bracelet.  While on long bus rides, I spent much of my time trying to figure out how to make these pieces of knotted jewelry.  It was only until about 4 months into our travels that I finally asked an Argentine artist in Buenos Aires if she could teach me.  We spent a few hours at a coffee shop knotting and she told me more about the string and where to buy it.  There are so many artists in Argentina making elaborate and intricate macrame jewelry.  Since then I have been experimenting a lot trying to create modern macrame pieces, pieces that translate to todays' fashion.

What are some of your favorite tools and materials?
I could not make the pieces I make without this incredible waxed nylon string.  It holds the knot well and I can burn and melt the ends eliminating the need for glue.  I also love incorporating metallic beads into my woven pieces and various glass and stone beads.  A few months ago I began experimenting with canvas, vinyl and leather, painting it, varnishing and creating wearable art.  I think it is exciting to find new uses for materials, like canvas for jewelry.  But, above all, I think my most favorite artistic tool is color!

What inspired you to sell your work at Portland Saturday Market?
I moved to Portland about a year and a half ago.  One detail I had researched about Portland was the Portland Saturday Market.  It seemed like a place that has been allowing, encouraging and supporting creative and innovative people to suport themselves as artists. Once my boyfriend and I arrived in Portland, it took me sometime to apply and start selling at the Market.  The first show I participated in was the Portland Rose Festival, which is where I met an artist who told me great things about the Market.  I signed up as a Guest Vendor after that and eventually became a Fill-in Member.  The Market is a great networking tool.  I have learned of many great shows, made some wholesale contacts, created relationships with returning customers and met many wonderful artists.  I am lucky to live in a city that supports local creativity.

When you aren't creating, what do you enjoy doing?
So, I really spend most of my time crafting.  I am totally obsessed and have countless ideas and color combinations running through my mind all day long.  I have lists everywhere of pieces I hope to soon create.  But, when I am not creating, I love going for hikes in the Gorge, cooking and painting - more creating!  I also love watching movies, going to yard sales and shopping at Goodwill.

Picture taken by Amira while hiking in the Gorge.

Can you share a few of your favorite places in Portland?
Kennedy School, Next Adventure, Tender Loving Empire, Forest Park, Laurelhurst Park, the Daily Cafe on Grand Avenue - super friendly staff and yummy food, SCRAP, Grilled Cheese Cart, Spring Water Corridor Trail, Mississippi Studios, and I could go on....

Upcoming events for Amira Jewelry:
Portland Saturday Market various weekends until December 25th
Crafty Wonderland Pop Up Shop Mid-November thru end of December
Handmade NW Holiday Show December 19th

Thanks so much, Amira!

Amira Jewlery:

1 comment:

dirtbike said...

ouuu i like the rings bestest