{the interview series} Aurea Praga

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Aurea Praga não precisa de apresentações. Se não a conhecerem imediatamente pelo nome, irão certamente reconhecer as orelhinhas de animais que andam a povoar os dedos de muita gente que aprecia uma peça de joalharia original.
Começou por dedicar-se ao design de comunicação, mas foi na joalharia contemporânea que encontrou a sua verdadeira vocação - desde que começou que se têm sucedido prémios e críticas positivas, por isso pode ter a certeza de que está no bom caminho! Confirmem-no e fiquem a saber um pouco mais sobre Aurea e o seu surpreendente trabalho através desta entrevista.

[Este post pertence à rubrica semanal {the interview series}, onde publico uma nova entrevista todas as quartas-feiras, com artistas e bloggers inspiradores que admiro, de acordo com o espírito handmade e um estilo de vida criativo. Tornem-se fãs no facebook e não percam nada!
Por motivos óbvios de extensão e compreensão do texto, tanto pelos entrevistados como pelos potenciais leitores do resto do mundo, a entrevista segue em inglês.]

Aurea Praga needs no introduction. If you don't immediately know her by name, you will surely recognize the little animal ears that are accupying the fingers of many people who appreciate a truly original piece of jewelery.
She began to dedicate herself to graphic design, but it was in contemporary jewelery that she found her true calling - she's been successful since she began, receiving awards and positive reviews, so she can be sure that this is the right track! Get to know more about Aurea and her amazing work through this interview.

[This post belongs to the weekly feature {the interview series} where I publish a new interview every wednesday with inspiring artists and bloggers I admire, according to the spirit of handmade and a creative lifestyle. Become a facebook fan and don't miss a bit!]

Aurea Praga
Porto, Portugal
shop | facebook | PIN

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Aurea Praga. Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Aurea, after my grandmother, and I was born in Madeira Island although I’ve lived in Porto for the last twenty years, where I teach drawing classes and develop my work in the jewellery field.

2. You’re a young Portuguese jeweler, but you started with graphic design. How was this creative passion born and what was the journey that brought you here?
Yes, I have a background on communication design and jewellery came my way much later. I guess they both indulge in my need to communicate, but in jewellery I found a true passion. I started making jewellery as a hobby, a gift for myself, but soon I realized it would become my main activity. So, since then, I’ve been investing much of my time and effort learning more and trying to make my work a little better every day.

3. You create affirmative jewelry pieces mostly inspired by the animal world. How are they born? Would you share your creative process with us?
One of the most useful tools in my creative process is drawing. I use it to visualize new pieces and solve a variety of design problems, but I also use some of my illustrations as a source of ideas for my jewellery work. That’s how the “I’m All Ears” series of rings was born, from the “Girls Are Weird” series of drawings. The animal world has very interesting textures and shapes you can explore, but my work is mostly about characters and how you can relate to them.

4. I’m now having jewelry classes too and I’m loving it! I admit that now I admire even more the work behind a jewelry piece and its time consuming process… Would you share with us some of the techniques you use?
My favorite technique is lost wax. It gives you a limitless freedom of form and you can use it in many different ways. It’s a great way to transfer textures to silver, really easy to sculpt, and you can build and destroy a piece as many times as you like without material loss. But you’re right on the time consuming thing. Sometimes I spend dozens of hours working on a single piece and make a lot of failed experiments until it’s acceptable.

5. Talking about the materials and its special characteristics: you use mainly silver, but you combine it with different finishes. Tell us about your choices.
Yes, most of my pieces are solid sterling silver, it’s a very friendly material to use in the body. Also, when your piece has a message to communicate, the material is just another word in the sentence of a jewel. An oxidized silver piece has a totally different impact from a shiny polished one. I normally have polished, oxidized and gold plated (I’d use solid gold if it wasn’t so expensive) versions of my rings, and the finishing look gives the same piece a slightly different personality.

6. I’m a big passionate by rings and I find your collection “I’m all ears” totally irresistible! Can I ask you what’s your favorite piece and what’s been your best seller until now?
My favorite piece is the one I’m making now. It’s not finished yet and it already made me want to cry as a lost child but also made me smile like a fool. My best seller this Christmas was the Kitten Ring by far.

7. You’ve been featured in some great blogs and publications and you received some promising prizes. What means do you use to promote your work?
When I decided to show and sell my work online, I’ve started a blog, a facebook page, a twitter account and my Etsy shop. And though lately I don’t have the time to keep them updated, they’re out there and people can find my work through them. Competitions are also a great way to promote your work. Even when you know your work is well done, it’s always rewarding to have a jury agreeing with you. And it makes people look more attentively at what you have done.

8. What is creating for you: a profession, a passion, a necessity, a life style or a hobby? What else are you passionate about doing?
All of the above and also a learning process, the more you develop your ability to create, the more it becomes natural. I’m also passionate about knowing other people’s creative work. Sometimes I think my creative work is only an attempt to give something back to a world where I find so many beautiful things that make my heart pound faster.

9. Would you share with us a regular day at work?
Well, I kind of lead a double life… I divide my week in the days I am a teacher (all day) and the days I am a jeweler (also all day). When I do one thing I forget completely about the other and focus on what I’m doing. It’s always such a refreshing feeling when I finish my last class of the week on Wednesday and become the jeweler again, hehe. Otherwise I don’t have a regular day when I work in jewellery. Sometimes I start early in the morning, other times I stay up until very late hours. It depends on how well the work is going or if I’m already so tired that I’m ruining everything.

10. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
I love to have all I need in one space. I have my jewellery bench with all necessary tools in one side of my working space and a desktop for drawing with my computer, scanner and printer on the other side. In front of my desktop I have a big oval mirror which is very useful when I need to see a certain face expression or pose, and it’s also where I stick some pictures that caught my eye and I want to keep in memory for a while. I also like to have this big window that occupies all the length of the wall behind me when I’m working. The sun shines through it in the morning making everything look so promising.

11. You were born in Madeira, but now you live in Porto just like me – share with us what you love most about this city. Would you like to live anywhere else one day?
I think Porto is just the right size for me. Not that big of a city to lose its charm, just big enough. But the thing I love the most is the people’s will to help. If you see someone fall on the street there’s always a bunch of people reaching out to help. I don’t see this anywhere else, there are places where people just pretend not to see it and pass by. Not here.
I don’t know if I’ll live anywhere else, for now I don’t have a reason to move.

12. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
I would choose to live right now again, I feel these are interesting times.

13. We are both Portuguese, so I don’t resist asking: what are the main problems you face being an artist in our country, Portugal?
In Portugal there are still some obstacles to individual jewelers. It’s not that easy to have a hallmark that allows you to sell your work locally. But the internet came as an escape to this unfortunate flaw. I don’t think about it so much, my real problems are the creative ones. All the rest is secondary.

14. What advices would you give to someone who would also like to become a jeweler?
Get a job to make sure you survive, marry a wealthy spouse, rob a bank, whatever prevents you from ever compromising the work you really love in order to make money.

15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
Well, my latest plan was to finish my master on jewellery design. As it’s almost finished, I think I’ll just wait to see what happens next. I know I’ll keep making jewellery projects as an individual jeweller and I’ll always keep trying to learn and make my work better. My most unrealistic dream is taking a vacation soon.

Now a quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes!
Tell us one:

book: To A God Unknown, John Steinbeck
music: The Carnival of the Animals, Camille Saint-Saëns
movie: Fight Club, David Fincher
personality/artist: Ted Noten
color: all of them
object: ring
animal: furry things
drink: chocolate milk
food: ice cream
season of the year: Summer!!
travel destination: Australia
piece of clothing: high heels
secret: I’m short-sighted

Thank you for sharing your wonderful work with us Aurea!


  1. WOW! Great interview, and I LOVE Aurea's work! I think this was my favourite in your interview series, Ana - so inspiring to see Aurea's work and hear about her ideas and her processes. I have been thinking a lot about jewellery lately, and am now inspired to take a class in making jewellery using the wax method! So much potential and possibilities! I am going to check out Aurea's shop NOW! Thank you for sharing, keep up the great work! Katie. xxx

    1. So glad you enjoyed it so much! I loved to see Aurea's work in progress photos! And yes, lost wax is such a versatile and amazing technique - it offers endless possibilities, can't wait to try it myself ;)
      Unfortunately I thing Aurea's got her shop on hold at the moment, but I'm sure she'll be back in business soon, stay tuned!

  2. Ana, thank you so much for featuring me on your blog, it's great to be a part of your interview series!
    I'll be back on Etsy in a couple of weeks and soon I'll be able to show my new collection, the one I've been working on through the last year :D
    Thanks Katie for your comments, here and on my own blog, it's always so rewarding to have that kind of feedback!
    Best wishes **

  3. What a great interview! I fell in love with Aurea's original jewelry the moment I first saw it on Etsy. It simply stands out of the crowd. It's a tough market and can be difficult to make yourself known among so many sellers, but she has what it takes - originality, talent and passion. I loved the sneak peak into her studio, it's so nice to see the process behind the beautiful creations. Thanks Ana for this interview series, it's a really wonderful initiative!

  4. I'm new in europeanstreetteam and this is first interview that i had read. So much inspiring ... every single piece made by love and all pictures shown all how you hard work Aurea, You'r rock !!

    Thanks Ana for very inspire interview :)

  5. It was nice to meet you! Your work is interesting, I love daydreaming piece!

    Don't worry, I'll keep your secret! (I'm short-sighted too..) psssst...

  6. Adorei esta entrevista, Ana. A minha favorita até agora. Não uso anéis, mas aquela ilustração da menina com os braços no ar ainda vai morar cá em casa :-)

  7. Outstanding artful jewery! great interview! Thanks for sharing this!


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