Let’s call them “quilts”

I wanted to make a quilt for years, but I kept thinking that it is so difficult and you have to work with so much precision. So, I decided to make some sort of “quilts”, in lack of a better name, where I just put together different scraps of fabric in a pleasant way :).

I have made three such quilts. For the first one, I have used all my handkerchiefs from my childhood. Also, my grandmother kept the pieces of fabric that I used as heavy duty handkerchiefs, for times when I had a really runny nose :). I know this sounds gross :), but these fabrics were nicely washed and ironed by my grandmother and kept together with some cloths from my childhood and blankets and such. So, I also included them in my blocks. I really like using this quilt with such familiar patterns, even if some pieces of fabric are really faded. I included some chickens too, to add some color and because I really like chickens.

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The second quilt I made collects different scraps that my grandmother and mother kept during the years (from the fifties till the nineties). There are pieces of fabric used for dresses and aprons and curtains. I also included a small embroidery my mother did as a child (it says “Sleep tight, little girl”). I hand sewn the different scraps in more or less similar sized blocks, then hand sewn everything together and machine quilted it with an orange thread. The back is a fabric that I have bought new, I really like the print.







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Lulu helped also to arrange the blocks :).

The third quilt is still in progress. I have meant to finish it in January, but it didn’t happen. For this one, I used tea towels bought in second hand stores and at the flea market, with a similar pattern of roses. One of them is embroidered by my friend’s mother. The fabric for the back is from a second hand store, also.







I hope one day I will have the patience to make a real quilt with nicely constructed blocks, but till then I find these very cosy in winter nights.

Linking to Idle Needle Make, Thrift & Tell link party

Romanian photo cameras

I wrote these fragments 3 or 4 years ago, but they are still true :). So, I will use them as an introduction to my film camera collection.

I first started taking photos out of anxiety. It was the end of my first year as an art student and an endless summer vacation was about to begin. My mother gave me her old Zenith camera and a book from the eighties in which the technical aspects were explained. I set up a dark room in the bathroom, my mother had had her short period as a photography enthusiast, so she had all the equipment. I remember the happy trips to one shop where they were still selling the chemicals, although it was the end of the nineties and everybody was processing their films in one-hour labs. Of course, I never heard at that time of digital photography. I spent the long, slow, lonely days of that summer taking photos on the streets and the endless evenings processing the films in my dark room. I remember that standing in front of the enlarger, that was set on the washing machine, and then watching the image appear in the chemical bath, I was feeling something very close to happiness, and I was rarely happy at that time in my life.

One of these days, I took out my old photos and looked through them, hoping that I would find some that I would still like. There are hundreds of almost abstract images, textures of bricks and plaster on dilapidated buildings, textures of grass and tree bark from the parks, lines of shadow dropped by the trees, architectural details from the façade of a church, a still life with a few light bulbs placed on tinfoil on my desk at home, etc. I tried to be an artist in those photos and at that time art had nothing to do with life. You cannot tell anything from those photos, not that the person who took them was a woman, that she was frightened, that she doubted her decision to go to art school, that time seemed to her an endless stream of empty moments. Also, you cannot see the city in which she lived, how the streets used to look like, how she used to look like, what people she would meet in her long walks or how would the light change on the walls of her room when she decided to stay at home. Only clumsy attempts to reach some sort of abstract detachment, whose coldness I considered to be art.

I started to do film photography again this summer out of anxiety. I work as an artist now and a big part of my life I wait. I wait for answers from the financers, I wait for the curator’s reaction, I wait to finish this project so that I could take a short break, maybe…In this waiting, life is always projected in the future and time transforms in a race towards that future. I blink once and the evening is here, I blink twice and the season changed. Meanwhile, I am happy many times and I fear that precious moments of peace and intimacy and feeling hopeful will be lost, while my personal diary transforms more and more into a to-do list and my thoughts are most of the time filled with practical, pragmatic things that must happen in the near future.
This time, I don’t care about art when I take photos. I just want to acknowledge to myself the present moment, to make the present mine. The view from my window in cold mornings, breakfast in the sun lit kitchen while the dog begs for food from under the table, the streets that I walk on every day but that can look so different in different lights, the loved, familiar faces of my friends, my own face, so close to my mental image of it when captured on the imperfect, blurred, soft, light leaked surface of the film. When using a film camera, time is materialised in the concreteness of the negative. You render a piece of time (that you are very much aware of while thinking that you should do, for example, a 1 second exposure in order to get an image of the not so well lit room in which we work and drink coffee) in a concrete object, a piece of film that you can hold in your hands. And this concrete object holds an image that the more imperfect it is the more accurately translates my memory into something that will not fade away and that I can show to others. My digital camera is practical and trustworthy but rarely accurate to my memories.

Same as almost 15 years ago, when I was waiting for the image to form on paper in the red light, now, when I wait to see the scanned image from the film on my computer’s screen, I feel happy.

I have and use several old cameras, that I will sometimes show here. These ones are the Romanian ones, produced in socialist times. I really like using them.

This is the first Romanian camera produced by I.O.R. (Romanian Optical Factory), in the mid fifties. It is metal, takes 120 film and it is very simple, but I really like the results it produces. I have found it at the flea market.





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This is Orizont, produced around 1960. I bought mine from a flickr friend. He told me I will have a surprise when my camera arrives in the mail, and I was so glad to discover that it used to belong to a worker’s union. DSC05795






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These are Oizont Amator and Amator -D. Both found online. They were produced between 1970-1989. My Amator-D is broken, the film advance is not working, but I shot 1 or 2 rolls, by advancing manually in the dark (more or less, dark meaning inside my bag, under my sweater, etc. ) each frame. I was really determined to use it :). But the other one is working fine and I use it often because it is so small and light and quite reliable for such a camera.











This last one is the one I am most proud of: AFS. It is quite rare, because it was the last camera produced by I.O.R. (Romanian Optical Factory), in the late eighties. It is all plastic and I have read it was sold as a kit, for kids to build and learn about photography. I recognized it in a blurry online add, among other cameras, and I was sooo very happy! It takes surprisingly nice and sharp images in good light, on 120 film.







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Brooch collection

I have a large collection of vintage brooches, bought over the years at the flea market. Nothing really valuable, but I really enjoy wearing them and looking at them and sorting them :).

I have a large selection of birds:









This one is horn, I think, or some other organic material. I bought it  by mistake, because I really don’t like to have something that used to belong to an animal, no matter how old or pretty it is. But now, I have it, although I never wear it. It’s the same thing with the edelweiss one from the next photo, which is bone, but I have bought it hoping it is bakelite, in times when I wasn’t quite sure how bakelite should look like.



But these are bakelite and celluloid and reverse carved lucite.



This big and heavy one is also lucite, I think, mounted on brass and copying amber.


I also have leaves and flowers and trees and animals (real or imaginary :). DSCN8731















And some “landscape” ones:


This one is silver and hallmarked with the signature of Hans Julius R. Larsen, a mid century artist from Denmark.


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This sweet soviet one reminds me so much of my childhood. And the pencils and brush used to belong to me as a child.



Linking up with Thriftasaurus and Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Party.


I bought this brooch at the flea market just because I thought it is pretty and because fall is my favorite season. I imagined it is older (from the eighties) and the texture of the leaves seemed like an interesting plastic. At home, I just randomly googled “autumn leaves brooch”, or something similar and my brooch appeared in several etsy, ebay and rubylane listings as an amber brooch that is quite expensive (over 20 euros or much more, while I paid around 1 euro). This got my attention :), although I was quite skeptical about  the leaves being amber. But still, my brooch is identical to the ones in the listings in every detail: texture, clasp, color, etc (only the number of leaves varies). The brooch has a hallmark “9RK” (the R is reversed, actually the Cyrillic letter Ya). So it was kind of easy to find out that the leaves are actually Baltic amber produced in the Kaliningrad Amber Factory, in former USSR, sometimes after 1947, when the factory was opened (my brooch is probably from the seventies or eighties). I was quiet proud of my flea market intuition :).



Linking up with Thriftasaurus and Vintage Bliss Tuesdays Party.


I collect antique and vintage photos since a very long time. I was maybe 14 or 15 when I first started to buy them at the flea market or in antique shops. I really wanted to have things that are very old, to start a  “collection of antiques” and the photos were at that point the only affordable things. But, on the other hand, I was also fascinated by the people in these pictures and by the scarce and mysterious information that sometimes a handwritten inscription or the stamp of the photographer on the back of the photo could provide. Also, how were these people forgotten, how did their photos end up in a pile at the flea market? How fragile and unreliable is the memory perpetuated through family relations?

I had long periods of time in which I disliked this collection, I hid it in a box and chose to forget about it. All those images of unknown people seemed like a burden. But a few years ago, I rediscovered my collection, from multiple reasons: my rejuvenated interest in photography (some of these antique photos are so beautiful), a still vague intuition about a text I want to write about the objects that outlive us, etc.

So, from time to time I will show here pieces from this collection. This example is the most extreme when it comes to feeling uneasy around these photos. But still, I think it’s also beautiful, in a melancholy, creepy kind of way. This two- sided pendant has photos that fade away. When I bought it at the flea market in spring, the portraits were faded but still really visible. These photos were taken in summer. Now, the woman and man almost disappeared from their silver frame. I keep the pendant in a closed box to slow down the process as much as possible, but very soon there will remain only these digital photos.