My name is Tatiana Kontouli, and I live on a small Cycladic island called Antiparos in the middle of the Aegean sea. I live here with my husband and soon, our baby girl. I make shadow boxes, dioramas and light boxes for my shop, La Boom!.
Handmade was always a family matter for me. My mother is an inspiring crafter, and I’ve had a constant urge to create since childhood. I love making things, whether it’s graphic design (my original profession) or creating stuff with my hands. Three years ago, I left the city to move to my small island. I had a lot of spare time and decided to try making a living with handmade.
The invitations, stationery, and decorations I made for my 2009 wedding were the main inspiration for my shop. As a graphic designer who loves unique details, I wanted to express all the tender emotions my husband and I felt for each other through handmade items. I started to research paper, tools, and cutting machines that would help me give life to 400 invitations. Everyone loved the whimsical, tattoo and rock ‘n’ roll inspired results. It was was my first time trying 3D design, and I think it set me on the path to what I’m doing today.
I love the impression that three dimensions create: the way details pop out, and the endless number of things you can make from paper. For me, every box is a small scene of happiness – whether it’s inspired by woodland creatures, circus spectacles or Victorian-era childhood. I try to keep my art clear, crisp and well made, and strive to choose the most original materials.
Every piece in my shop is made to order. I start by decoupaging the box with pages from vintage books. After letting it dry, I add all the necessary bits and pieces – paper figures, banners, plastic animals, moss, and miniatures. For light boxes, I add a light to the inside and a front cover with ribbons and beads for support.
My dream is to spread my boxes all around the world and make people happy, and Etsy is a vehicle to help make that dream come true. Etsy isn’t just a platform for artists to sell their art: it’s also a way to get to know people by exchanging ideas, making friends, and learning to appreciate other artists’ work. It is a movement that grows and gets better day by day.
The world of handmade is a huge inspiration for me. Through my business, I’ve gotten to know and respect other artists’ work, practice patience, experience calm and peace while making stuff, and appreciate simple things. I’ve learned how to reach my creative limits, be more sensitive about recycling, use old stuff in new ways, and discover new materials with an open mind. All this creativity has made me rediscover my inner child, buy her a lollipop, and listen to her ideas. I could not be happier!
All photographs by La Boom!.