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Beauty is in the simple things

01 July 2013 / 19:07:45  GRReporter
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Victoria Mindova

The main topics of conversation in Greece over the past three years have been mainly related to the complaints about the economic situation, the resentment of the government, and the exclamation, "See where they have brought us to" is probably one of the most commonly used phrases in informal conversations. Despite the overall lack of attractiveness, there are still ordinary people in the country who refuse to make "complaining" a way of life, even though they themselves are also feeling the pressure of the economic crisis.

One of these people is Irini Skevofilaka who is the creator of Cuculus creations - handmade jewellery from natural or processed materials. During the day, she works along with her brother in the family business for the maintenance of carpets. Like many small businesses theirs is not flourishing either, it is just surviving. What is more important is that Irini has found her own way to maintain a healthy mind in unhealthy times. Her hobbies are modern dance and sport climbing, and handmade jewellery is her passion to which she would like to completely devote herself some day.

At the end of the long working day, after putting her daughter to bed and taking care of the household, she starts creating and making necklaces, earrings, bracelets and other accessories from the most trivial material that is not usually associated with the idea of ​​jewellery.

Her interest in recycled materials comes not only as a natural need to take care of the environment in her own way, but is also a challenge to change the function of a simple item that is no longer necessary and to turn it into an ornament or even into a object of art.

She started to become involved in jewellery making 10 years ago. First, she acquainted herself and experimented with silver and metal plastic arts. "I attended various seminars related to fine technique and jewellery, but then I realized that I prefer a freer expression that gives new life to used items."

Her favourite material is paper. "This is a very simple material that is inexpensive and we take it for granted in our life, but it has a great value for us. It comes from nature and we use it every day. Paper is directly related to human development and culture. It is the carrier of our messages and wisdom through the ages. I think it has a lot more value than we actually attach to it," says the artiste.

Her most recent collection is created mainly from recycled paper and other materials. "Basically, I choose a topic and create variations on it through my jewellery. Currently my inspiration is the paintings by famous Austrian artist Hundertwasser."

Although she loves all of her works, Irini has a particular fondness for wide bracelets with rich colours and great central themes. She has noticed that during the summer, women prefer to wear bracelets whereas earrings are more popular in the winter. There are no seasonal preferences for necklaces.

One of the biggest challenges to Irini is to make Cuculus creations a more popular brand. Marketing and advertising without a budget are not an easy task. So far, her creations reach a larger number of people only through the power of the kind word and she believes that this is enough at present.

Athens has been the centre of independent artists and creators for several years now. There are unexpected impromptu exhibitions where you can see organized groups of people with different interests almost in every street downtown.

"I find it very positive that the crisis in Greece has triggered the desire for greater ingenuity. Various fairs and exhibitions of young artists are being organized now more than ever." Irini kept her creations more for herself and her close circle a year ago. Now, she wants to expand her horizons and share her works with more people.

"Initially, everything I made was only for personal satisfaction. The feeling that you are creating something beautiful and new, which seems a useless material at first, is very nice. Now I'd like the people to be aware of my work and one way to do this is through participation in small bazaars and independent exhibitions."

Regarding the crisis in Greece, Irini has adopted a positive view on things. "I do not accept all the pessimism and negative attitude towards the situation in the country. I am not saying that these feelings are not grounded but I do not think that this is the way in which we should live from now on. My personal choice is to look at things positively. Life is short and we should not live it complaining. We should try to make it better instead."

Tags: SocietyJewelleryHandmadeGreeceCrisisIdeas
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