Easter eggs project

Easter time again! This means a new art project, as every Orthodox housewife must produce traditional painted eggs, preferably according to the eco trend of dying with onion peel. As I am Orthodox only in name and far from a proper housewife, my project this year is minimalist, no color and simple graphic with black marker :) Enjoy the holidays!

For comparison, here is the 2014 project - still decorative and graphic, but with color and golden leaf as well:


Handmade oxidized silver jewelry

For me, the very definition of jewelry includes elements made of silver with strong patina. Thus my most recent Etsy treasury, and in my opinion the best I've made so far, reunites jewelry pieces design d'autore, handmade, with oxidized silver. The idea was to show examples of possible gifts for Mother's Day, but the artifacts go beyond the mentioned occasion to be universals.



Print Day in May

I'm all in! Print Day in May sounds like a fun way to promote printmaking and tie the net of a wide community of artists and art lovers. This year, the seventh edition, has been rightfully set for the 7th of May - my printing press is ready and I am artist with a plan! Do join in, print and share on that date, join the Facebook Community, and even win printmaking products!

My studio is all prepared for the event and the printing press ready to do what is required of it :) Not sure if Cluj-Napoca / Romania is on the map for this occasion, but I'd love to add it!




Also known as ground cherry, the golden berry, Cape Gooseberry, or the Chinese lantern plant, Physalis is extremely aesthetically pleasing and thus a source of inspiration for various decorative arts: illustrations, textile imprints, jewelry etc. My latest Etsy treasury is inspired by such items.




Zibethum is a substance obtained from the anal glands of the wild cats of the Viverridae and Nandiniidae families (Civets) of Africa and Asia. Nowadays the paste in question is used in the perfume industry, but in the eighteenth century it was employed for its pharmaceutical properties, part of several antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, or stimulant products. Since Zibethum was exotic and among the curious ingredients of animal origin, in Transylvanian pharmacies it was mentioned as “Zibethum veris” (real, authentic Zibetum). The stress on its authenticity betrays the clients’ lack of trust in the bizarre products of the era. Similarly, the Mummy Powder was also accompanied by the adjective “veris”.

Those who believe the consumption of wild cat secretions is weird must be consoled with the fact that sometimes Zibetum occidentale designated human excrements.
Zibethum is mentioned in several of the pharmacy inventories of Transylvania (of Alba Iulia in 1751 and 1752, of Târgu Mureş in 1789), in al three apothecary taxes written for Transylvania during the eighteenth century (by Tobias Maucksch in 1750, by Hutter-Soterius in 1753, by Felfalusi and Ahlefeld in 1753) and in the Pharmacopoeia Austriacoprovincialis of 1774.
The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca includes one jar made of milky glass with the paper label inscribed ZIBETUM and the 1789 inventory of the pharmacy from Târgu Mureş that mentions the product. The glass jar was used in the beginning of the nineteenth century in a pharmacy from Baia Mare – evidence of the fact that the product continued to be used after the end of the nineteenth century.


New outlook of Etsy shops

Recently Etsy got prettier than ever - large header, orderly listings, better overall design. The best part is the fact that all shop info is brought together and visitors can quickly get a fairly accurate impression on your presentation, processes, updates and items - both currently active and sold ones. Many were also happy about the addition of more sections, though I did not find it that useful - well, my shop only has 12 listings so far. With the new layout though I am looking forward to spending more time in redesigning the shop, adding several items, and getting into a bit of SEO.
You can read the Etsy presentation of the new design HERE
And some external comments HERE.

My shop on Etsy
My listings


Insular things

I guess I am looking forward to some holiday or at least a beautiful getaway, as my latest Etsy fancy has been taken by insular things. It groups prints, photographs, and several handmade items inspired by marine and island-related themes - I give you the "Insular things".


Beautiful young Dacians and Romans

During the special education week "Scoala altfel" hoards of young Dacians and Romans took part in the reenactment workshops organized by VIRTVS ANTIQVA near Cluj-Napoca, at Camp Virtus. The youngsters were able to try on costumes and pieces of arm and armor typical to ancient Roman soldiers, gladiators, and Dacian warriors, learned how to shoot with bows and arrows, trained the ancient way, and had fun discovering the secrets of perfume making, toilet using, and status display during Antiquity.


Playful mobile art

Playful art is irresistible! I have collected some of my favorite crib mobiles, kinetic sculptures, and sun catchers in my latest Etsy Treasury. Such types of art and collectible items display the same characteristics in the play with textures, shapes, 3D forms, and movement, with various materials such as paper, wool, brass, precious metals, driftwood etc.


Linocut desk lamps

An earlier linocut project envisaged the collage of lino original prints on textile lamp shades. The work of choice was "Holy Women", due to its appropriate format. In 2007 I was still figuring out the linocut business, so this "Holy women" composition is made using old, Communist linoleum (hence the imperfections) and impressions either on normal paper or thinner gardening textile cover. The characters are female saints and martyrs, flanking the Virgin, most of them with the organs of the respective tortures: Apollonia with her teeth, Lucy with the eyes, Agatha with her breasts on a platter...while others with the classical, less sadistic attributes: Barbara and the tower, Catherine and the ring etc.


Newsletters for NGOs

Newsletters are a useful tool for informing the public on an NGOs activities and events. I have tried a couple of free variants and settled for Tiny Letter. It is easy and can be used by those without knowledge of IT, though the design of the newsletter itself is nothing special (but that might be just my lack of experience). I have also tried Newsletter2go, it requires making an account, needs a lot of input for the design part, but the problem is that most of the notifications are in German.
Fell free to check the subscription box of Tiny Letter for our reenactment park Camp Virtus HERE


The eyes of art

There is definitely a fascination for the eye - the Eye of Providence / the All Seeing Eye / the Eye of God - and one can note that the depiction of a single eye, as symbol of seeing itself, is often more philosophical than the depiction of two or multiple eyes. The latter case is connected with paganism (the two-faced god Janus for example) or wildness (as indeed, in nature, several species have multiple eyes). My latest Etsy treasury looks for eyes in contemporary art - prints, pottery, tribal masks, and other types of decorative arts.



Abstract visitation

This work is part of an experimental series that might be included in some sort of "automatic painting"technique: playing around with shapes, monotypia, and shape-guessing. This one ended up with two characters, a bit larger in the middle - thus the invented title: "Visitation"'. The scene could well be interpreted as one inspired by medieval scenes of pregnant Mary encountering the pregnant St. Elisabeth. You are free to see what you will, the intention was not religious but my labeling was influenced by the medieval studies I have dealt with.
Fell fee to check my website for the entire series, made during an international art camp in Bekescsaba, Hungary, in 2005.


Animal scents

Exploring the history of pharmacy and its strange ingredients of animal origin, I discovered just how many of them are still used in the perfume business (and related trades such as soap making, cosmetics, fragrance sticks, solid perfumes etc). Besides musk which is extracted from the secretions of various species of deer (but also plants with similar smell), there is also civette, from the anal glands of the civet cat group of felines and ambergris, from the digestive system of sperm whales. I guess it has to do with pheromones and the animal in us, but I am still amazed of the great contemporary success of such products. My latest Etsy treasury "Animal fragrance" explores some of these products and the way of presenting them - in a very aesthetically pleasing, sanitized way. Interesting!


DRACO head lincout project

The war standard of the feared ancient Dacians, inhabiting generally speaking the territory of present-day Romania, was a mythical hybrid creature, half wolf, half snake (or dragon, hence the name DRACO). One of my recent linocut projects envisaged the creation of prints inspired by this motif (previously discussed on the blog HERE).

Lino block for the DRACO

I made several variants, changing the color of the typographic ink, the color of the paper, and a couple of texture effects (whipping out part of the ink for example) - that have been eventually excluded from the final selection of prints to be framed.

See more color combinations and prices HERE and more about the Dacian draco and its ancient depictions HERE.


Building a Roman bread oven

 There will be no art making this week as my hands are all stiff and cut - but it was worth it! Last weekend I was out at Camp Virtus for a load full of experimental archaeology. The project envisaged building a bread oven inspired by ancient Roman models (archaeological, from ancient depictions) using only local materials - clay, sand, straw, water, and twigs. 

The Roman clay oven mid-way
 It took seven people one full day to complete it (with the rocky base done during previous sessions), it ended up a bit asymmetrical, and we have not yet had the chance to test it - the clay oven must dry slowly and then be slowly fired before having the first test bread baked inside. 

But we had fun building it and solving the practical issues along the way. Not sure our colleague who contorted his body inside the oven during the construction had as much fun, but that's reenactment, it takes sacrifice!


Baroque closet

The History of Pharmacy Collection in Cluj-Napoca contains among other, specialized pieces of historical furniture, one Baroque closet with metaphorical depictions of the stages of life. There are four painted panels, from the bottom left: a child, an adolescent girl, a woman, and a skeleton. The ensemble was probably meant as a bit of macabre commercial for the pharmacy - we all die, but the moment can be postponed by buying drugs here! In fact, the iconography is more philosophical than that, with the child already sitting on a skull (Memento mori), the girl standing on the globe with wings, and the woman holding the Wheel of fortune in one hand.
See more on Facebook HERE.


Medieval architecture

Due to my education profile and research in the field of Medieval Studies, the architecture of this period came as a ready source of inspiration in my paintings. I have created both small and large pieces inspired by wonderfully crooked and irregular medieval buildings, from my home province of Transylvania and elsewhere (Budapest for example where I completed my studies). Some of these acrylic paintings are available on my Etsy shop, depicting medieval buildings from Brasov (town hall, guild house) and Budapest (urban house in Buda). These original works combine acrylic and graphic pencil, in my typical "messy-wiped" style, and come in various sizes, from miniatures to average pieces.

Small acrylic on cardboard painting (9.5 x 10 cm) depicting the town hall of Brasov (Kronstadt, in Transylvania)
Guild hall in the old center of Brasov (size unframed: 9.5 x 11 cm)

Medieval house on Buda Hill (dimensions without frame: 29 x 26.5 cm)



Tulip treasury

Starting from my academic interest in the introduction of tulips in Transylvania and the proliferation of the "Oriental-type" tulip as a decorative motif in the repertoire of applied arts (stove tiles, carpets, embroidery, painted furniture etc.), I did a bit of research on how and how much tulips feature in contemporary applied arts. This thematic Etsy treasury as revealed that tulips still feature on an entire array of artifacts, such as ceramic, silver jewelry, textiles, jewelry beads, glass painting, but also painting. It seems the popularity of tulips has survived, despite their loosing the "novelty" element enjoyed during the Early Modern period.