“My passions are my inspiration” – Atelier Francois’ creator shares her story

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Today I would like to share the interview with Ioana Ciolea – one of the activists in Resita. She has been involved in many projects in urban exploration and exhibitions. But one of her passions and personal ongoing project is the so-called Atelier Francois. Let’s discover more about this art space.

Ioana, can you please tell us a little about yourself? How do you define yourself? Are you an artist?

I never liked to call myself an artist, even if most of my life I was involved and surrounded by art. I would rather say that I am a very creative person. I am a person who is always interested in visual arts and would like to try new things, learn new ways to do stuff. If I have an opportunity, I always try to give back to community what I know, and to share the things that maybe not a lot of people know.

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What is your background? Photography, architecture?

I studied Plastic Arts since 5th grade and highschool. Then I continued with the Photography and Video Arts studies in college.

How did you decide to open an atelier? Have you been always doing things with glass?

Back then a friend of mine was working with stained glass technique called “Tiffany” in Bucharest. I thought it would be great to see the process and try something new. She showed me how to work on transparent glass and it seemed pretty easy. After a few months, I decided to buy beginners’ kitfor myself. At first, I was cutting the glass very wrong but I was playing with it, little by little it went for me. Then I decided to incorporate my passion for green plants – that’s how the terrarium idea came up. I was experimenting with the forms, using 2 mm thick glass which is easily breaking with your hands – easiest kind of glass to work with. A year later I had an exhibition and one guy asked me why I am not working with colored glass. I told him I do not have a polishing machine because it is quite expensive. Several days later I got a call from him saying that he found one from second hand and wants to give it to me for free as to encourage me to work and progress more. I was really glad and from that moment I actually started buying colored glass. I played with it and started applying my passion for geometry and abstraction – that is how I began to make jewelry.

How is the process usually going? First an image, then what?

First, getting ideas and adapting to my own style, sometimes I get inspired from Pinterest. Next step is the drawing, then drawing on actual glass, cutting it and assembling – this is exactly the moment when I can see it looks the way it should. Ending with finishing details– clearing and putting patina, clearing again, then putting an oil protective stuff, and then finally clearing the oil.

How long does it usually take to make one piece of art?

It totally depends on what I am making. Some works can be made in 10 minutes, others – in hours.

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What is the hardest thing in the process?

It could be the polishing, especially with the smaller bits.It is hard to keep it in place and be able not to cut your fingers.
Where do you get new ideas for your art?

New ideas usually get to me like in a flash. For example, I’m imagining how a brooch would look if I make it from colored glass. In this case,Iget inspired by the patterns of the glassor I play with the textures. I am inspired by other ideas with colored glass that I see online – and it is sort of a challenge for me to try to make with non-colored glass. There are many differences between color and non-color glass–it cuts and breaks differently, the non-clear one is also harder to polish.

Any special order or work that you are most proud of?

It was not an order, but the first work made – a stained glass window. The concept was to make a window for Neptune Baths in Herculane and use clear and textured glass together with found glass from the site. The biggest challenge was to get it done in 3 days, in a place without electricity.

Do you get some crazy orders?

I would not call them crazy, but there were specific orders, like flowers or butterflies. I usually try not to make them because they are pretty common in this artistic field, and I want to stay authentic.

How did you come up with the name of an Atelier?

I really liked the name Francois, because I would love to live in France. At the time, I used to say online that my name is Francois (Jesuis Francois). Later, Francois was the name of one of my personalities (of course it’s a joke or maybe not).

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What inspires you?

I think that my passions are my inspiration. I’m obsessed with hands, plants, geometry, architecture, abstract stuff.

What is the most “attractive” and interesting thing about other people for you?

I like people who have passions. At least one. About anything. You can come and talk to me about how you love matchesor socks, or plants – I would be so interested, because I like to see that spark in people’s eyes when they talk about their passion, that crazy thing that makes them alive. That is it for me – just have one thing that you could talk hours about. But usually I like people that are curious, and want to know things about the world that we live in.

Let’s support local creators, because it is always so much better to get some special gift for your closest ones that is being created not by the mass market chain but by an actual person that is putting her personal effort, art and positive vibes to each tiny piece.

Autor: Anastasia Zhmankova