Thursday, May 27, 2010

interview with creator Alexandra Yanofsky of Glassiette

Today's post is *the protagonist studio*'s first interview with a fellow creator: Alexandra Yanofsky of Glassiette. Alex makes beautiful tiered trays that can be used in multiple ways, or just to make a room snazzy. Introducing the creative people I know and admire in *the protagonist studio* is one way I'd like to contribute to the discussion about the role creativity plays in people's lives. Information on Alex and her works are found in the links below.

What was your original inspiration to make glassiettes?

on holiday in amsterdam with my husband and daughter, we wandered into a shop selling all sorts of things made from older things. like notebooks with covers made from old hardcover book covers. really cool wallets and purses fashioned from older purses (i think). throw pillows covered in vintage fabrics. things like that. and there were these sort of wine glasses, made from the old wine glass stems with teacups glued on top. super cute. and cake trays made from a mug and plates. back in montreal, i was strolling by the salvation army store near my house and some dishes caught my eye. so i brought them home to see what i could come up with.

Where do you find all those great dishes? (without, giving away any professional secrets, of course!)
there's a salvation army store right near our house, so i wander in when the spirit moves me. and these days, tiz the season for yard sales. also i've been getting kind offers from folks wanting to clear out their cupboards. i really have to like the dish though. it doesn't have to be bone china all the time, but, there has to be something particular about the dish that i find special, or some combination that occurs to me that i want to see. i'm very excited because my aunt is giving me some nice pieces to work with that were my late grandma' those will stay in the family as a new sort of heirloom.
What role does being environmentally-friendly play in your design process?
first, we live in a disposable society, where things are built NOT to last, so that we will go out and buy more. secondly, personally, i like things that hold a bit of history. as you know, dear protagonist, i can't get enough of good second-hand stores, yard sales or clothes swaps.*

(*caveat/confession: i have been found on more than one occasion wandering that maze we call Ikea with glazed eyes and a lot more in my cart than i'd planned. no judgment here.)

all that to say, re-purposing dishes that previous owners no longer wish to have in their cupboards is definitely part of the allure for me. as well, i became a little obsessed with finding the right glue. luckily, i did. strong enough to hold, and non-toxic for serving food.

What other types of other creative things do you do? Do those things inform how you make glassiettes, or vice versa?
these days i am enjoying being creative with cooking. if there's something i'd like to make, i look up several recipes in my books and online, and then make some approximation of my own. i've been known to dabble in playing guitar, singing and songwriting. i went through a phase of making textured string paintings (don't ask). i've knit a few scarves here and there. i've written my share of heartfelt, embarrassing poetry (that's right, i said it)! before the baby, i worked for more than a decade in television, film and web content, where creativity is a job requirement...not just for the stories we'd tell or document, but also in terms of strategic planning and problem solving.

the way creativity works for me is, i decide it would be fun to (*insert idea here*). then i see about getting my hands on what i need to make it happen and giving it a go. if it turns out that said idea IS, in fact, fun, then i keep going as much as time allows or motivation persists.

i don't know if all this is connected to the glassiette project. glassiette is fun for me right now: walk with the baby, go on a little neighborhood quest for fresh materials and then when she naps, make something pretty and useful where once was something kind of rejected and not living up to its full potential. and then blog about it, which is also a nice creative outlet.
On your blog you show pictures of your (very cute) baby - what is it like being creative when you’re a new mother?
creativity for me as a new mama is a necessity and an inevitability! babies change constantly and quickly. well, mine does. so something that works (or fits) like a charm for 3 or 6 weeks is suddenly so OVER and you have to figure out the next new thing.

it requires what i think of as all the components of creativity - learning, conceiving and executing new ideas, flexibility, adaptability, motivation, momentum, finding your own way to do things (in the face of a whole lot of unsolicited advice and critique)...and oh yes, fun!

but i will also say parenting is creativity geared toward someone else's needs. once the the first little while whizzed by in a consuming, confusing, sleep-deprived blur and i came up for air, i rediscovered creativity geared toward my own interests. and that's necessary too. very!

Where can *the protagonist studio* readers view and/or buy your work? Do you take commissions?
a lot of my pieces can be seen on my blog: email ayanofsky at gmail dot com to inquire about buying. in montreal, go to co-op la maison verte or fuchsia. and so far i've only done commissions for friends but i'd be glad to for anyone who might be so inclined.

Alexandra in her home studio in Montreal, 2010.

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