last interview

I've been asked by some of the contributors of this first knots collective whether I had the intention to interview myself...I said: " no, you do it if you like". And so they sent me a couple of questions each.... 
I've  decided not to put pictures of myself but of the latest things I've been working on ( like a mini collection), the model is my friend Aya, (who kindly accepted to pose for me although she doesn't like to do so!). Thank you Aya.

What motivated you to do the pop up shop or where did the idea come from?
I always wanted to do something like that, when I was a kid I used to get a cardboard box, set up my little stall and sell the potholders I crocheted to the old ladies in the neighbourhood.
However, the idea grew stronger on me after a short but intense visit to Antwerp and the Atelier Solar Shop last year. That place was exactly my idea of perfect shop and shopping experience: so relaxed and friendly, full of beautiful handmade things, a well minded vintage selection and a cafeteria. The motivation behind it was to organise something different than what you usually see in London; there are many makers and designers there but there is little deviation from what I perceive as “British taste”. The main idea was to put together a bunch of European Designers and Makers that handmade what they sell, as well as adding some vintage findings: part of what I have been doing almost everyday (finding and collecting old stuff) since I was a teenager.
Is there any artist or designer or work of art you've been particularly inspired by lately?
I will be forever inspired by Louise Bourgeois; not only for her art but for her way of life and determination.
In the blog world I find very inspiring Maria Alexandra Vettese, aka MAV. I like her sense of aesthetics, the fresh approach she has on things, her ethics. I admire the fact that she has remained humble despite her success. 
I tend to get inspired by the impression that colours leave on me.

What is your favourite moment of the day?
When I can finally sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee and do nothing else but taste my coffee. I also love nights in my studio room working and listening to the radio when everybody else is fast asleep.
What do you like most about living in England?
It’s dynamic, there’s little bureaucracy, it is quite tolerant.
I also love the British sense of humour, is very similar to mine (I was often misunderstood in Italy but here people actually laugh when I say something funny).
What's your favourite season?
How will your life look like in 10 years’ time?
I have no idea. I get pretty paranoid when I think about the future, so I tend not to think about it.
What's your favourite spot in your house / city / world?
The garden/ Fitzbillies Café in Cambridge/ near my family.What is your favourite smell?
The memory of the smell of my daughter when she was a baby: when she was asleep she smelt of freshly baked bread and we used to call her “panetto” (small bread).
I like the smell of fresh air.
You are an excellent crafter Alessandra, where do your skills come from?
My skills come from different experiences: I started to knit and crochet when I was 6 years old, then had my first sewing machine at the age of 9; my mother excelled in these skills and was very patient while teaching me. All her friends where either knitters or crafters in some way and I used to nag them a lot to teach me what they knew in terms of crafts. My father was an amateur painter and I spent a lot of time watching him painting and going with him to local painting competitions. He also was very good with DIY and he taught me how to use lots of tools. When I was 14 years old I went to a girls’ only school where there were many courses related to women’s crafts; however, I found it so boring that I quit and started skateboarding instead!
I eventually studied Fine Arts and took a degree in Painting. I worked with my brother for a little while in the field of Antique Building Restoration, then as an antique furniture restorer and decorator and finally as a prop designer in theatres.
I think this also comes down to genes: both my grandmothers were seamstresses and my paternal grandfather was an iron smith whose work had an artistic streak.
What era/decade are you most inspired by, in terms of design and lifestyle?
1920’s for the impeccable style, 1940’s for the ingenious ways of survival, 1950’s when the best design was created.
Is there a talent you don't possess that you wish you did?
Playing an instrument.
Which book was the last that made a deep impression on you and why?
An art book on Christian Boltanski works. Because his images say more than million words.
Describe your style.
Granny meet tomboy.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
What spare time? ;D ...sometimes I give myself a day off and I go to see exhibitions or museums. In the evening I usually knit and watch a film at the same time.
What are your favourite food, music, and film?
I like simple food, I have many favourites but if I have to choose one then it will be “pappa al pomodoro”. Again with music I have a broad taste and interests in different styles; lately I’m listening to a lot of pop: Stephen Malkmus and the JicksRadiohead, Bill Callahan, Yo la tengoDirty Projectors, Panda Bear, but a lot of classical music and blues too. All time favourite film is Manhattan.
What part of your creative process do you enjoy the most?
When I’m actually realise the idea…hence making.
What would be your dream home?
A cottage near the seaside with a big garden.
Which places would you like to visit the most?
The Scottish Highlands and Islands, The Balcans, Japan, travelling around USA and Canada.



Jo Waterhouse said...

I will miss these interviews, they've been wonderful!

fen and ned said...

Fantastic, I loved reading this Aless! And yes you are very funny!
We have a few more things in common, I'm a massive Puccini fan, and I would love to go to the Scottish higlands, and I'd like to go in Autumn too, so maybe a trip together! ;) xx

fanja said...

nice one Alessandra.
it's been a pleasure to read the interviews and participate, thank you.
and i see we like te same people..

WSAKE said...

thank you for all those interviews - and for your own one - it has been such a pleasure to get to know these amazing people!

all the best for your shop!!!

S. said...

i enjoyed a lot reading your answers Alessandra
'granny meet tomboy' actually made my day :)
and i love the mini collection, the first photo is perfect ♥

Bichos da Matos said...

I reached the end with great pleasure:-) I wish you all a big success this weekend, I wish I could see all your wonderful creations with my own eyes, bacci

mav said...

what a lovely interview and i was so very touched to be mentioned. i wish i could come to the pop up! xx mav

Laëtitia said...

Great interview ! thank you Alessandra ! and I can find others common tastes between you and I ;-)

Patrice A. said...

hello you!
I will miss those interviews
and enjoyed this one very much

like you I like to knit
and watch TV at the same time
and there was more
which made me smile
like the smell of your daughter
I remember that smell....

happy weekend
and thanks for sharing!

Patrice A.

at swim-two-birds said...

great interview Alessandra!
I'm so glad I'm participating.
wish you all the luck with the pop-up :^)

Jenni said...

I really enjoyed reading this Alessandra, also love the granny/ tomboy chic! Would love to have visited your pop up & the stellar cast of participants, I've got a feeling you will HAVE to do more :D xx wishing you the best!

Our Strange Nature said...

I like that you were inspired by our city Antwerp and in particular Atelier Solarshop. It's a great concept !