27 February 2012

A Portrait of the Artist: Fianaturals

Welcome back to A Portrait of the Artist after 3 challenging weeks of simple living. I hope you are ready for some creative handmade love and inspiration!

Photo by Mauricio Lopez
Today I would like you to meet Fia, the amazing crafter behind Fianaturals. For quite some time I have been frequenting her etsy shop just so, to enjoy the vibrant colors of African seeds and beads. What impresses me about Fia is her firm belief that women could be beautiful while keeping their respect to the planet Earth. This is what led her to the idea of creating natural eco-friendly jewelry.

Every piece you see in her shop is a handmade, unique combination of natural stones, shells, wood, seeds and recycled glass. Nature is clearly the greatest inspiration behind Fianaturals and yo can feel her love of color and the ease with which she plays with color, just like the sun, passing through fluffy clouds and casting shadows down on the multi-colored ground.

Tell us a bit about your background. How did come up with the idea of creating natural jewelry?
I have a MFA and I have been painting(oil on canvas)for 10 years. I have always liked natural jewelry made with seeds, wood, shells, glass, leather. I decided to create Fianaturals with the idea of ecology in mind because I was becoming more involved in my Community Garden and concerned about the environment.

When did you first feel the need to be eco-friendly and how does this affect your daily life, apart from your creativity?
I had the feeling from the beginning that I wanted to create Eco conscious jewelry. I often wear my creations and people I meet ask questions about my seeds and beads, I love it!

It affects my daily life to be eco-friendly I rarely take plastic bags when doing groceries,recycle as much as I can, buy local fruits and veggies at my local food coop, make a compost bin on my rooftop,grow some of my vegetables in a raised bed,participate a lot in activities in my community garden.

We do art for kids, barbecues, movie night, art show, bike fair and coming soon... a farmer's market. So excited!

African recycled glass seed necklace

Can you take us through the steps of your creative process? It must be exciting to use different types of stones, shells, beads and recycled glass.
It is exciting to learn about seeds, nuts, recycled glass: their origin, history and their uses.

Using sustainable seeds, recycled glass makes me feel good about my involvement as a human being on this planet.

When I compose a necklace, earrings or a bracelet, it's like a painting: contrast of textures, contrast of colors.

Everything in my creativity is connected. My latest painting was called “Palm roots”.

Tell us more about the African seeds that you implement in your jewelry. What is special about them that you cannot find anywhere else in the world?
African seeds are fabulous because they give me the opportunity to bring something original to the world .The more I learn about them the more I want to discover.

Most of them are found only in Africa. I'm proud to give that originality to my customers.

Seeds are the essence of life.

Palm Roots - painting by Fia

Have you always been creative?
I've always been creative since my childhood. I was surrounded by a beautiful garden in Benin full of tropical flowers, and trees because my father is an horticulturist.

My connection to nature is deep and my jewelry is a reflection of my philosophy of life: respect nature and reduce my impact on the environment.

I am creative every day, all the time:cooking, gardening, beading, painting.

What is the most challenging aspect of your work?
The most challenging aspect of my work is making it happen with my two young girls!

African green Mali wedding glass earrings
Where do you see yourself creatively in 5 years?
Keep having wonderful feedbacks from my customers and continue to make jewelry that follow my philosophy.

What is your current favorite item by another etsy seller?
My current favorite item is African Print MixWinter scarf by ifenkili on etsy.

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