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.