If it’s expressive, eye-catching and intricate jewelry that you are after, then Janina Grigore is the go-to lady. With the belief that jewelry making is more an art form, her love for the art has literally changed her life
Hello Janina, can you please just tell us a little more about yourself?
I was born and grew up in a little town in communist and post-communist Romania and spent a lot of time in the countryside, in my grandparents’ village, at a time when villagers were still wearing gorgeous embroidered and beaded traditional costumes.
It was there that I was taught all types of crafts from sewing, embroidery, knitting to Crochet. I have always loved to draw and paint with watercolours and I was always making dresses for myself and my dolls, cutting up any clothing items I could get my hands on, to my parents desperation. I remember even creating my own fashion catalogue …which looked terrible, but I was so proud of it at the time!
Although I grew up with creative dreams, life took me on a different path. I also loved studying, in fact I was very geeky, and at 14, I started qualifying for yearly National Olympiads in Geography, which required all year round study. After high school I continued studying the subject at university and then after graduation I took up my first role as a Geography teacher in a remote village in eastern Romania, where I lived for two years. In 2006 I relocated to London where I am currently still teaching on a part time basis in a secondary school in east London.
Can you tell us the point when you knew you wanted to become a jewelry designer?
Although I love children and teaching and although I had been using my imagination through my lesson planning, I think my creative soul had been longing to come out to surface in a raw form. Everything changed in 2008, when, in a bookshop, I came across a jewellery-making book, which I bought instantly. I remember the next day I quickly purchased all the necessary tools and materials and started with very simple beading techniques. So, designing and creating has become a true obsession and a therapy for me ever since.
You say that you are fascinated by travel, have you personally done a lot of travelling and if so where have you found the most inspiring place you have been?
When I talk about travelling, I think of both real and imaginary travels. I am certainly a dreamer and having taught geography and studied places for the last 15 years it is obviously one of the reasons why my jewellery making is infused with travelling and exotic inspiration. That aside, I have also visited many beautiful places around the world. It’s hard to choose a favourite but Sri Lanka would come top of my list, which I toured by car two years ago and which inspired me to create my Sigiriya Collection, after I saw some magnificent ancient frescoes representing ‘Heavenly Maidens’ in brilliant colours on a rock wall.
What types of materials do you use and why?
At the beginning of my jewellery making journey I was fascinated with sterling silver wire wrapping and used mostly gemstones, but, since I have always loved sewing, my creative muse has settled on ‘painting’ fabrics with seed beads, gems, Swarovski and faceted Czech glass beads which reflect the light so beautifully and come in such a variety of colours, shapes and sizes.
Can you please just tell us about the design process of your pieces?
I absolutely love colors, but I follow no specific rules when I design a piece and I rarely draw a sketch beforehand. Sometimes it is the colour of the beads itself that inspires me, I play with beads and stones and move them around in different combinations and patterns until I am happy with what I see. When the colours and the shape of a certain piece come together in harmony, I get a feeling of accomplishment that it is hard to experience with anything else that I do.
What were the challenges in setting up your company and how did you overcome them?
Well, I am still on a journey and still working on perfecting my product. I guess we do this our entire life! The jewellery industry is a very competitive space. There are so many talented people out there, and as a new designer you really need to stand out in some way.
One thing that I have found challenging is marketing my products and finding appropriate avenues for selling my wares. What keeps me going is my determination and 100% commitment to my goal. I am a complete workaholic and I am obsessed with creating beautiful things.
What do you enjoy most about running your own label?
There are just not enough hours in a day and being your own boss requires a lot of discipline and organization. I wear all the hats and it can be overwhelming at times. With all of the daily challenges this new adventure brings, I am extremely excited about doing what I love!
How do you find your inspirations?
Inspiration can be found literally everywhere and there always plenty of ideas floating around in my head. There are two dimensions to the pieces I make, in terms of inspiration. That’s why I divided my jewels into two large collections. One is called Eastern Traveller, it has a strong rustic ethnic feel, inspired by he Eastern European village life and historical past .The other one is Euphoria, inspired by all my travels and places I dream of seeing.
How would you describe your pieces in 5 words?
I believe my pieces are unique, colourful, glamorous, exotic and bohemian.
Who is the Janina Grigore woman?
The Janina Grigore woman is an eclectic, well travelled, bohemian and confident woman who loves unique statement pieces, meticulously crafted and with a touch of glamour. She doesn’t mind being the centre of attention and she appreciates art and craftsmanship
Because Boticca loves a unique story! To me jewellery making is, more than anything, a form of art, a wonderful way to express one’s personality, to send a message and to tell a story. And Boticca does just that: promotes originality and all these talented and passionate artists from everywhere around the world!
What is next for you?
My main goal is to slowly move away from teaching and expand my business. I would love hire an employee in the future and even open a little workshop!
For more by Janina Grigore click here