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19 November 2012

A Portrait of the Artist: Flora Beauty



Do you remember the Flora Beauty giveaway in October? Today Mirjam and I are shedding more light on her creative process and the inspiration that drives her.

In the beautiful Flora Beauty etsy shop you can find botanical jewelry with real flowers, designed, created and photographed by Slovenian PhD, Mirjam.

What makes her shop stand out from a bunch of others is the eco-friendly, non-toxic resin she uses for covering her herbaria - the carefully picked beautiful flowers, pressed for weeks to dry completely and embed in jewelry.

Mirjam's love to nature and exquisite attitude to the arts can be felt in every piece in her shop. 



Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you start on your creative journey?
I was born to parents and older sister that all liked to work with textiles and knitting yarns. Father was making upholstery furniture and my mother knew how to sew, knit, make embroidery and crochet whatever she imagined to. When I was 5 or 6 she bought me a little hand-looms. I spent so many hours weaving and weaving. She taught me everything that she knew. My first passion for a very long time was knitting. When I was in high school I made myself 38 sweaters! Can you imagine that? No wonder that I graduated from textile technology and made my Master in the same field.

Your jewelry is unique and truly unforgettable. How did it occur to you to encapsulate real flowers in resin?
Well, my mother also taught me a lot about herbal remedies and natural plants. We've made plenty of greeting cards with dried flowers. But I once read that greetings cards usually stay somewhere in the storing boxes with other things. 

About half a year ago, I started making botanical jewelry. I am trying to keep the lovely plants and flowers forever in a way that people can bring the nature with them wherever they go. Embedding them in jewelry bezels seemed a very good idea to me and not many people were doing this. I have never thought that this would evoke so much passion in me. And my first results as a self-taught jeweler were so great! I was continuing with the creativity and making pieces that were more and more beautiful.
Pressed flower necklace
I know you have been using non-toxic resin for your creations. Most people don't think about the way they work affects the environment. How did you choose that particular resin?
Uff, I've spent so many hours surfing and reading about all sorts of resin. And after reading and reading I was very surprised about the fact that people who have been working with traditional resins for years did not (want to) use the protective gloves and masks. Traditional resins show some potential hazards to health and environment. 

I read that a lot of people did not know that, or even worse that have not inquired about the ingredients of the resin and its toxicity. But one day I came across the new resin that has been completely different from the traditional ones. I have tried to collect all the information about its toxicity and each article, review or research that I have read sounded promising. I have studied the ingredients of this new resin; I even wrote to its designer and manufacturer just to make sure that it is not harmful to the environment or me. And it is not.

Can you tell us more about the way you make your jewelry? How long does it take for a pressed flower to be good enough for a ring or a pendant?
The whole procedure takes quite some time. One of the most important parts of the work is to choose the right time to pick the plants. You should always pick them on a sunny, dry day, neither in the morning nor evening but around noon when they contain no moisture. Then I press them for several weeks (3-4 weeks) to make them fully dry. This is how they keep their shape and most of their colors. But there are flowers that always change their color while drying; red flowers turn to brown almost always and sometimes even pink ones.
Woodland earrings


What other creative outlets do you have?
As I mentioned earlier, I am very experienced in knitting, crocheting, embroidery, sewing, stitching. I have been practicing them for about 20 years now. When knitting a simple pattern I even manage to read a book at the same time ☺. If it is possible I try to combine all my skills when making one single item. Knitting cardigans with appliqued embroidery is one of my favorites. And I adore stitching! I only wish I have more time. Besides the full employment, small child, and my PhD research, there is not much time left for creating.

What do you do to keep inspired?
I must mention first that I rarely wear jewelry. But walking through woods, in the fields, observing the colors of nature get me most of the inspiration. I already get the ideas of my new items when I pick up the flowers. But here is a catch! During the weeks, when the particular flower or plant is drying, I discover so many ways to arrange it in the jewelry bezels! And that makes me sometimes very impatient and confused. But when I lack inspiration, then I open my album, where I keep my dried flowers and plants, and just look at them for a while and the inspiration always returns. It is funny to say but I usually get most of the ideas in the morning just during  awakening.
Real hydrangea necklace
What is your current favorite item by another etsy seller?
I adore Krisztina’s shop from Hungary, My rainbow world. Her creations are so unique! I like her style. Here is one of my favorite necklaces from her shop.

Make sure you connect with Mirjam on etsy and facebook.


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