Tell us about yourself.
Hi! My name is Andrea Simic and I’m the person behind MIRTAjewelry. I have been living in Zagreb, Croatia for the past 5 years, since I started going to college. I’m 23 years old, still a student, but I’m hoping to close that chapter of my life soon. My boyfriend and I are currently renting a charming apartment in a really old building close to the city centre which we fell in love with because of the over-3-meters high ceiling. It has a really vintage romantic feel to it!
Apart from creating, what do you do?
I’m in my final year of architecture studies, so I spend most of my time on college. Besides that, I love taking long walks, especially during hot summer nights, going the cinema to watch bad Hollywood movies, or staying at home and relaxing on the couch. Since we moved into the apartment, I’ve been cooking for all my friends, searching for and trying out new recipes. Whenever I get a few days off, I rush to my hometown of Knin, and spend the entire day with my beautiful bearded collie. I even named my shop after her!
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
“Keep Me With the Animals.” I honestly believe animals understand me more than humans do, and my friends tend to say I even love them more than humans! When I return home on a bad day, I walk through the park close to my building and stare at the dogs for a while. It’s instant happiness!
Where does your inspiration come from?
Many people told me you can tell by the look of my jewelry that I’m interested in architecture, but apart from that, I really love following all sorts of design blogs. I think that other objects inspire me the most — sometimes it can be a chair, and other times a simple pretty vase.
What does handmade mean to you?
In my case, handmade is hearing my mother say, “You made this?!”. In other cases, I think handmade is everything you do with your hands, as well as the joy that goes into it. When I make a piece of jewelry, I look at it for at least a few seconds, not to search for mistakes, but because I really enjoy holding something I’ve made. Once you lose the joy in making handmade things, they become plain mass production.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
My mother, definitely. While I was really young, she used to sew amazing outfits for me — she even made my prom dress. She was actually the one to convince me to start selling on Etsy. I am too critical about everything I do so I don’t know if would’ve gone through with it on my own.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I know this is already a cliché here, but I really never thought of myself as an artist, but I can’t even remember when I started making. I have been making stuff all my life and I even thought of going to the Fine Arts Academy for a while. Nowadays I’m more into design.
How would you describe your creative process?
I love to look at all the stuff surrounding me every day: people, buildings, animals, and everything. I always carry a small blue sketchbook with me, so I can always write or draw what comes to my mind. I also love the things that I make spontaneously, things that cross my mind during the process of making. For instance, sometimes I start making earrings and end up with an amazing ring.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would love to see the creative process of Alberto Campo Baeza. He is an amazing Spanish architect, but I believe he is an even greater artist.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
I’ll never let go of my prom dress, which I mentioned before. My mother really put a lot of effort into it and it has great sentimental value to me. Besides that, I love our old family photos and paintings hanging around the house and a vintage white gold ring my mother also gave me.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
That’s a hard one! I try to do stuff that relaxes me. Every time I get really anxious about something, I stop creating. Being happy helps me get new designs out of my head, and makes me more organized. My boyfriend has been helpful by going to the post office — he even packed a few orders recently, so I didn’t freak out!
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I have no idea! The only thing I know for sure is that I would really appreciate having my own studio. My life has really been pretty unpredictable, and I do tend to change my mind a lot. But from where I stand now, I would like to do all the things I’m doing at the moment, but in a different place. London, perhaps?