Eleana’s Handmade Ideas: When Imagination Turns Into Business!

Artistic personality and sensitive by nature she dreams of a better world, full of love and happiness and she wants to be one of them who contributes to make this happen.  Eleana Tsakiropoulou, philologist, wife and mother of a 17-month-old boy but, most of all, one of the most creative talents in Greece of the economic crisis, proves that the combination of talent, love for what you do and optimism can become the recipe to realize our dreams even in the darkest times and get out of the ”dead-end” our modern society tries to impose us! She is a quiet force full of potential and she talks on bellasrealworld…

                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Bella: Eleana I’m glad you accepted to talk about your creations on bellasrealworld

Eleana: I am glad you made this proposal and gave me the opportunity to talk about what I love so much to do!

B: Why does a philologist decide to deal with hand-made creations?

Ε: Actually, the decision to get involved with the handmade creations didn’t happen to me suddenly. Since I was a little kid I always liked to create original things with my hands and I always remember myself having many and very original ideas for creating various objects, things of everyday use but with an unusual appearance that would help one to cheer up. For example, I remember when I was at the Primary school, I had a strange idea; I wanted to make a lipstick, the outside of it would be like a house with a windmill and when you turned the windmill over, it would bring the lipstick out of the chimney! Hahaha! Generally, I would always do something. It was and it is still my hobby. Of course, the decision to get involved with the handmade creations professionally was indeed a sudden “bright idea” that came to me in a difficult time.

Β: Was your decision influenced by the financial crisis in Greece?

There is something good that can get out of something bad. I believe that everything in our lives, good or bad, happens for some reason, and it is always in our favor!

Ε: Exactly. This ‘bright idea’ occurred to me when I was trying to find a solution to help my husband who had financial problem due to crisis in Greece. He was in a very bad financial situation and we were both very sad. There was no work for me as a philologist since this profession is quite saturated and so I had to find an alternative solution. Thus, I made the decision to deal professionally with the handmade creations. So, the financial crisis was the reason for me to focus more on what I always loved so much to do! Creating gives me great joy, much greater than teaching. There is something good that can get out of something bad. I believe that everything in our lives, good or bad, happens for some reason, and it is always in our favor!

B: Did you attend any seminars before you start this business?

E: Yes, I did. For some basic techniques such as decoupage, wet glass, macrame, knitting, etc., I had to attend some seminars. I want my job to be professional so as to what I do, do it right. Generally, I like to learn new things, new techniques and I want to evolve. However, I would never want to lose this sense of pleasure that I have when I deal with it as a hobby at the expense of more professional point of view.

B: Do you think that a person has to wait for the right opportunity to realize his dream or that he needs to create this opportunity by himself ?

Ε: Just waiting for something to happen is never the best choice. As the ancient Greeks said “Συν Αθηνά και χείρα κίνει”. It doesn’t pay to just wait and pray to God to do something to help you! You have to do something on your own, as well! When opportunities are not given, then man has to create them on his own. We should never abandon our dreams or wait for them to happen on their own. The financial crisis in Greece can become the hand that pushes you to get up of the couch and be more creative in order to achieve your dreams. Find alternatives and create opportunities. Hobbies, inherent talents, skills and abilities that can be considered negligible, such as the daily cooking of a housewife, can turn into the most successful and profitable jobs!

B: They say that artists are distinct individuals who try through their creations to express their internal world. Do you consider yourself an artist, and if so, what messages do your creations send?

the messages my creations send are joy, optimism, expression of emotions, originality, and recognition of uniqueness and the special personality of an individual!

Ε: Very nice question! It’s true! I express my inner world through my creations! I would say that the messages my creations send are joy, optimism, expression of emotions, originality, and recognition of uniqueness and the special personality of an individual! My creations express that we can be happier in our everyday life and break the routine wearing a jewel with a humorous image / pattern / message, such as a pair of beer caps, where on the right is the image of Scrat -the squirrel from Ice Age- and the acorn on the left, for example. The poor Scrat once again will never catch his acorn with your face in the middle! Hahaha!!

I also think it is important that the environment in which we live or work reflects our personality and our desires in order to feel intimate and pleasant! So, we can incorporate humor, romance or whatever else we want in our home or workplace with decorative objects that reflect what we want. That is why the decorative objects that I create express each one individually and make people feel good! In addition to that, wearing something we love, for example photos of our loved ones or our favorite places, makes us feel good! Whenever you need it, you will look your ring with the photograph of your loved person, and you will feel all these nice feelings that this image is causing you – especially when you are not at the best mood! Generally, the expression of our emotions is very important for our mental health.

Hobbies, inherent talents, skills and abilities that can be considered negligible, can turn into the most successful and profitable jobs!

However, if we have difficulty expressing them in words, we can express them by wearing the respective jewel that reveals that particular feeling. Some jewelry of those I create expresses the different feelings in a direct way, such as written words or pictures, while some others make it more indirectly, such as a romantic jewel or heart, etc. Another very important thing I express through my creations is the value of understanding each person’s uniqueness! Every person is a unique personality! This is why I believe that not all people should wear the same things, jewelry, clothes, etc. This is one reason that my jewelry, and all the rest I create, usually does not follow fashion. What does it mean, “I follow the fashion”? What are we? Fashion workers who do what fashion considers as ”trend”? If the current fashion matches your personality, then yes, follow it. Otherwise, follow what represents better your personality! Every person must discover this uniqueness inside them and, push it out wearing jewelry, clothes, etc. that emphasize their personality and make them distinguish from the crowd. I like to have originality in my creations so that you, who wear an original jewel, as well as the others who see it upon you, will feel the beauty of your personality and the excitement. We need to open our minds to new and original ideas in all things in general.

This is my own inner world and these are my personal beliefs expressed through my creations. I want to contribute as much as I can to a happier and more effective daily routine of people. As for the jewelry, I make to wear myself, they usually have a happy message, or romantic (if I’m in a romantic mood) and, usually have plenty of color and innovation. Also, because of my love for nature tranquility, I usually make and wear jewelry with flowers, mainly made of felt or natural materials, such as shells, real feathers, real flowers that will “live” forever in the liquid glass etc.

B: Do you want to tell us a few words about the type of handmade creations you make?

Every person must discover this uniqueness inside them and, push it out wearing jewelry, clothes, etc. that emphasize their personality and make them distinguish from the crowd.

Ε:  My creations are a wide range of different things, from jewelry, pins, hair curlers to small decorative tables, magazines bags, original interactive greeting cards, knits (wallets, ribbons, rucksacks, baby socks), decorative items (jars, candlesticks, pencils …), Correspondence cards, (even with personal photos of customers themselves) … and much more. Generally, I’m open to any creation I’m asked for. I like to create all kinds of things and listen to other people’s ideas. As for the materials, I usually use felt to make, for example, roses of felt sheets. I enjoy more to cut with the scissors, to shape and create something from scratch, rather than just “assemble” things putting beads in a row. I also use other fabrics (such as jeans), beads of various kinds (mainly crystals, pearls, glass beads etc.), natural materials (such as shells), recyclable materials (such as beer caps, etc.) glass jars, liquid glass, cardboard, various kinds of cords, wire and more. For earrings and rings, I use quality materials that do not cause allergies to the skin and do not discolor themselves.

B: I suppose that there are easy and difficult creations, right?

Ε: Sure! At the beginning, many new techniques seemed hard to me until to get used to them. But, the more I practice the easier it becomes. The other thing is that sometimes what I have in my mind to make, in practice, is not as easy as I thought. Most of my creations need attention, precision and finesse. For example, the earrings need a lot of precision in order to put the beads at the exact position in both left and right earing. And if I do not make right in the first try, I have to make it again, until the result is perfect! However, when I look at the final outcome of the even most difficult creations, the end result rewards me.

B: Are you also undertake special orders?

My creations are a wide range of different things, from jewelry, pins, hair curlers to small decorative tables and other decorative items

Ε: Of course! I just offer some ideas. The best thing would be for every client to tell me exactly what they want and i will turn his imagination into reality! People can (and I also suggest them) to tell me exactly what they want, in terms of materials, shape, size, color, etc. Only in this way will the personality and the taste of everyone become visible through my creations! And that’s particularly useful when my creations are for given as gifts. Making someone a gift that includes a picture of him or what he likes in colors, etc. shows that you really care about them instead of offering them something common you found in a shop.

B: Are the prices of your products affordable to everyone?

Ε: Absolutely! I put myself in customer’s shoes every time i set a price for each one of my products. As a consumer myself, and in these financially difficult times we live, I think that I would not buy expensive things especially if they are not considered as ”basic”. The price of my products, of course, is determined by the cost of the materials, as well as the time I spend to create them.

B: What should we expect from you in the future?

Ε: My ideas never end! That’s why I have given my creations the title:

“Eleana’s Handmade Ideas”. I have in mind to create a series of necklaces that “narrate” a short story illustrating, for example  a flirting or a humorous story, etc. with pictures and photos that will be set waterproof in wet glass.

Another idea I want to create in the near future is the ”freezing” of an important, for each person, object and its conversion into a jewel or decorative object. This object may be e.g. a small flower from the wedding bouquet or any emotional value that will come in wet glass to “live” forever and always be worn on us by giving us a positive energy!

People can tell me their own ideas and together will discuss how I can bring to their hand what they have in their mind!

Another idea I have is a couple of humorous decorative items for the bathroom … and much more. Let me not reveal it all now! Hahaha!

B: Where can people find all the collection from your handmade creations and get in touch with you?

Ε: People can get in touch with me by sending me an e-mail to eleana.tsaki2@gmail.com and I will send them back the entire collection of my creations. They can also tell me their own ideas and together will discuss how I can bring to their hand what they have in their mind!

B: Thank you again for this talk and I wish you good luck in your new gig!

Ε:   I thank you very much for this beautiful talk and for the opportunity you gave me to talk about not only my creations but also the two whole worlds behind my creations: my own inner world and the world that I dream of living!

Interview: Sotia Bella