Last week I had the chance to visit the studio space of one of my favourite independent makers in Montreal: Anabel Burin from Vuela Vuela. The happy occasion was due to an even happier event: that I won one of her terrariums on a giveaway she organized on her FB page, yay! Thus I went to pick up my wonderful prize and had the chance to step inside her inspiring workspace that is so magical and whimsical as the accessories and terrariums she designs.
It was a lovely morning sipping tea from vintage teacups and eating cookies (plus there were also the lovelies señorita Cara Carmina and Siam Obregon!). To say that we were chatting like there was no tomorrow it's an understatement! We talked and talked and talked some more. So nice to get together with other people that share the same passion for creative endeavors!
I asked Anabel about her studio, her work and her inspiration. Read her interview bellow and be ready to get inspired :)
Image via Vuela Vuela on Etsy.
Tell us a little it about yourself.
I was born in Argentina, where I lived until I came to Montreal in 2003 with my family. I must admit I fell in love with this city from the very first day! I loved going around the fripperies, buying second hand clothes and antique jewelry, walking around the plateau, trying different foods from all the cultures that this Island hosts and spending afternoons in the Mont Royal…
I went to Dawson College and graduated from the Professional Photography program. I discovered that I enjoyed portraiture and photojournalism and worked as a photographer for a while. When I finished college, I felt I wanted to complete my education and focus on another realm of the fine arts, so I pursued my studies at Concordia University’s Graphic Design Major.
It was during my studies at Concordia that jewelry design came naturally to me. I designed jewelry since I can remember, and as a child I used to sell beaded animals to my family members and give them to my friends in school as presents. I used to go to my grandma’s house and fix all of her broken necklaces, sometimes I would even keep some beads from each necklace and re-assemble new pieces for her. Jewelry was and still is a passion for me in every sense.
You are a jewellery designer, tell us the story behind Vuela Vuela bijoux.
Well, As I mentioned before the story started since I was a child, playing with beads and antique jewels from my “Bobe Hebe”. But the project of Vuela Vuela was born out of curiosity for playing with different materials, experimenting new media, having a mother that have collected all kinds of antique pieces and trinkets for years and the idea of creating a hand made sustainable product!
Of Course Vuela Vuela changed and evolved a lot through the years. My education and experience helped me grow and create a mature project that I could eventually present to the public and stores.
Image via Vuela Vuela FB page by Gwylan Goddard.
Image via Vuela Vuela FB page by Gwylan Goddard.
How do you describe your line of jewellery.
The main idea behind the line is to offer ludique and playful accessories. Each piece is a unique treasure that tells a story with which its user can relate, a story that is shared between me (the maker) and the person wearing it.
What inspires you?
I am inspired by people, the infinite stories that live around us, the different cultures, styles, colors, textures and smells. I am mostly inspired by my Argentinean identity and family story. One of my favorite things in the world is to browse through our family photo albums and memorize each picture, the outfits, landscape and expressions of the people...I think images from the past is my biggest inspiration.
Where do you create?
I have an atelier at my place, in St Henry. It is a bright room with lots of furniture, some strange objects and boxes.
What do you like the best about your studio space?
I love having shelves full of souvenirs from the different places I’ve traveled and gifts from my friends and family (usually tiny animal statues and dolls). They keep me company while I work.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your new line of terrariums? how did it all started?
The terrarium idea came to me after a trip to Portland. That city has an amazing weather for vegetation and a community of people who really care about arranging their gardens and growing things. I brought my brother a tiny terrarium as a gift and thought it would look funny to make little garden gnomes for it. So there I went and designed miniature figurines and when I stared at it, it was clear that I had to start creating my own.
What would be your best advice about developing a new line of products.
I think the most important point is to catch an idea that has been in your heard for a long time, focus on it, do a lot of research and practice until you have a result that satisfies you. It might take months or years to come up with the right tools and materials that will make your product be a good quality and unique one.
What do you enjoy the most about being a maker?
I enjoy that when I start creating I find it hard to stop. I enjoy every single part of the process. I enjoy that VuelaVuela is not my job, but rather my passion.
What do you think is the biggest challenge about being an independent designer?
The economic instability is hard. We need to always plan ahead since we don’t know what is coming next month. The responsibility that your success is in your own hands is also a lot of pressure…
What do you daydream of?
I would love to start selling a bit more on my online shop, go to markets outside Quebec, have a bigger working space, get some help and to eventually add different kinds of products to the line.
Thank you so much for your insight and for receiving me at your studio, Anabel!
And here, look at the VuelaVuela terraium I won!
Isn't absolutely lovely? Honestly, every time I see my terrarium my mind wanders to fantastic places and I feel like a child again, when I used to look at beautiful gardens and imagined a wonderland world within. I love it!
If you want to know more about VuelaVuela, connect with Anabel here: