This week's blog was written by Karin Kaufman of Nadelwerk. Karin interviewed husband and wife leather handcrafters, Simona and Mircea from Belamy Leather.
How long have you been a part of Artistic Portland, and what appealed to you about joining the Co-op?
We have been members of Artistic Portland for a couple of months now. We wanted a place where people understand what it means to create things with your own hands, to pour your heart in every piece.
What’s your background?
Well we are a team: my husband worked with leather for a long time back in Romania and now he is teaching me the art.
Why do you do what you do?
We love to create together. The moment you look at a piece of leather and ask yourself what can I make out of it?! The funny thing is that we start with an idea but then as we work everything changes. The final piece will never be what we started in the beginning.
What would you say was your “ah ha” moment in going from thought to passion to actually starting your business?
We always wanted to work from home together. We were looking at the market and realized that not a lot of people do quality handmade leather goods anymore. Everything these days is made industrial and with no soul. There are people out there that still appreciate and prefer small businesses that work to make each client happy. At the moment we still have day jobs but we hope that our business takes off and we can focus on Belamy Leather full time.
Describe yourself in one word. Why that word?
Adventurers. We love to travel, love to explore new places, new stuff, new people.
Where do you create?
At the moment we work in our garage.
What motivates/inspires your work?
The idea of making something new and different every day.
Who inspired you if anyone?
Well my husband inspires me every day. He shows me new “tricks” every day.
Tell us how you choose your supplies, material, you use in your Art?
We try to get the best leather we can find. There are only a couple of leather stores in the area, but they usually are well stocked.
Did anyone ever tell you couldn’t do it?
Maybe they did but we are not really listening to anybody.
What kind of creative patterns, routines, or rituals do you have?
There is no routine or pattern to our work; we like to play with ideas.
What is the most difficult thing about making your Art?
The most difficult thing is making people see how much love you put in every piece.
Do you have other staff, partners etc.?
No other partners, just us two.
What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever created?
We can’t pick favorites. They are all our “babies.”
If you could wake up tomorrow with a new artistic skill, what would it be?
Hmmm…… that is tough. We can’t decide.
What do you like to do when you're not creating?
We like the outdoors. Everything that can be done outside it’s a go. That is the reason we choose to move in the Pacific Northwest.