Endlich ist es soweit! Vor einigen Wochen hatte ich die äußert interessante und liebe Chiara aus Italien um ein Interview gebeten. Heute konnten wir nun endlich alles zusammenfügen, womit ich heute mit Freuden das erste ausführliche Interview über ihren Shop 'Allart's Kitchen' (auf Etsy) alias 'Latralla' (auf DaWanda) präsentieren kann. Zudem gibt sie einen kleinen Einblick in ihre 'Werkstatt' auf dem Küchentisch der von ihren zwei Katze bewacht wird. Ich wünsch euch allen viel Spaß beim lesen. =)
Hi there! My name is Chiara, but everybody calls me "Tralla"... Now: read it backwards! :)
I'm from Italy, and I’m an unbeatable artisan, I think I have done pretty much everything in my life.
My second passion is cooking, I especially love pastries: I read a lot of magazines, cookbooks and I have taken a lot of pastry classes: really fun!
I’m attracted to the visual beauty of food and I think we eat with our eyes first and then with our mouths. Therefore my jewels are born from the inspiration of my two greatest passions: cooking and creating handcrafted objects.
A great deal of passion and attention goes into every single detail I add to each creation of mine. My miniatures are completely made by hand. I love the little difference that characterize every tiny thing that are born from my hands.
My jewels are for people who like to have a good time and don’t take themselves too seriously.
I think that each of us has a child inside who needs to be constantly fed with games, colours, fantasy and creativity. Life would be unbearable to me if I weren’t able to give in every now and then to the little girl inside me!
I can’t survive without playing!
1. Can you remember the day maybe even the moment in which you decided to make miniature cups of coffee and pastry?
Yes! When I’ve got my ears pierced. This seems very funny, but it’s true. I pierced my ears quite late in my life ‘cause I’m not girly at all… It was a few years ago. I was looking for some weird and unusual earrings and taking a walk in my town, Bologna, in a renowned street ,“Via del Pratello”, I saw a lovely shop where a talented girl does and sells a lot of fake cakes and food-themed magnets, photo holders, and frames. This shop is called “Il Piccolo Laboratorio” (The little Lab). You can find a little review about her work, in Italian, here:
I gone out of my mind!!! I found this stuff absolutely stunning and I think that it would be amazing if I could WEAR these cute cookies, cupcakes, and cakes.
From that day I started to search the way to make food in miniature size… and I discovered the incredible world of polymer clay and dollhouse miniatures!
2. What was your first handmade jewellery?
In the past I’ve sometimes done other kind of handmade jewellery, with beads, etc., but without a real passion. Later, I discovered fake food and miniatures and my first “food work” was a croissant…If I look at it now.. it is so ugly! But I love it, because it represent the beginning of a big love.
3. How long did it take until you where ready for a own online shop?
I opened my Dawanda shop on March 2009, but it was quite a lot I was doing my miniatures, and on second thoughts… I think I was not ready!
Opening an online shop, means undertaking a significant commitment, that implies hours of work to write good descriptions, detailed information on your items, give fast and safe shipping methods to your customers, take amazing pictures, draw attention on the web, and a lot of other things. And this is without including the effective work on the pieces, the handling and shipping, the wrapping, the supplying… But I don’t want to annoy you with these “technical” information!
Moreover, I don’t have a Facebook page, because I have never liked social networks - probably because I’m very shy -, I don’t like to show myself off.
So, I think it is harder to sell handmade goods without these channels, but I’m quite happy as I am.
4. What was the first thing you sold and how did you feel in that moment?
Words can’t describe the joy I felt when I sold my first pair of earrings! They were heart-shaped cookies, frosted with pink glaze and with a spot of whipped cream and a little strawberry on.
I think I will put them again in my shop, with a new and improved design!
5. Did you make any bad experience at the beginning?
Thankfully I’ve never had big troubles. I sometimes met unsympathetic or hoity-toity people, but it happens. However, I’m sure that bad experiences and mistakes are the best way to learn something new about yourself, your work and human nature.
6. Was there any memorable custumer you met?
Of course! I have some customers that I particularly love, ‘cause I have built a real friendship with them.
I usually love to meet people. In my work as an artisan, I always try to pass beyond the seller-customer relationship, and to know something more about my customers. The Internet is often cold and impersonal, so I want to make my life on it more authentic and warm.
7. Where did you get the knowledge about manufacturing miniature pastry, little sugar cubes and cream toppings?
First of all, as I love to cook real pastries, I use the techniques of real bakery for my miniatures. I often employ identical tools, miniaturizing them. I create most of my utensils by myself.
My best teacher is practice. I think about a design, then I create a “prototype”, to see what’s wrong and what’s ok, then I do it again, in order to improve it, and so on. I publish a new design ready to be sold only when it’s quite perfect.
I’m constantly reaching for new materials and tools, tips and tricks, everywhere around me, even when I’m doing something else.
I also read books about food miniatures, and on the net there are a lot of excellent tutorials that great people share with the world.
In the future, I would like to have a blog and make my tutorials too.
I love Internet freedom, I love the sharing of knowledge and the chance to make it available to all.
8. What for materials do you use?
I mostly use real ceramics for dollhouse miniatures collectors and polymer clay. Then epoxy resin, plastic, paper, fabrics, paint, chalks, beads, sand, and so on.
I pay a lot of attention to my materials, because I want to offer to my customers high quality products. I have my trustworthy suppliers!
9. How long does it take to make a ring?
It depends on the degree of difficulty, usually more than one hour, plus the glue drying time.
10. What's the hardest to make?
For me, is certainly the jam. It’s always very difficult to obtain the right tone of color, and every time the result is different. If you fail the color, you have to throw out everything... So, this step of work make me quite anxious.
11. Where your inspiration come from?
Absolutely from the real food! I love to cook since I was a little girl. Over the years, my interest for cooking grew a lot, and I moved closer to pastry.
In Italy there’s a strong tradition of good food and eating well, it’s a real philosophy of life! Every time I met a foreigner he/she was impressed by how much Italians talk and think about food..
I read a lot of magazines, cookbooks and I have taken pastry classes too.
So, when I walk around, I always take a special look to cake shops and bakeries.
12. Do you wear your own creations?
Yes I do! I love them and I also want to test their resistance to wear.
13. How would you describe yourself?
VIRTUES: I think I am an informal and simple person. I absolutely dislike stiffness and snobbery. My best quality is optimism, I’m able to see something good even in the worst situation... This is why my friends call me “Tralla”. In italian, Trallallà is a joy expression.
I’m very curious an open-minded (but I think the others should say that about me!).
VICES: I’m a perfectionist. Maybe sometimes I’m too much childish, but this characteristic is a key element for my creativity. Last but not least, my head is very, very often in the clouds…
14. Tea or Coffee?
Espresso Coffee, certainly. I’m Italian, I can’t survive without espresso!
15. Do you have a favorite item in your collection?
My favorite item is always the one not yet born!
Anyway, I’m particularly attached to my bread and jam earrings.
16. Are there any wishes for the future?
I wish to keep my passion alive and enthosiasm for creating, and to be always able to pass them into the things I do. That’s the most important wish for my future.