roots of design

Today is part 2 of our ongoing "inspiration" series on this blog. A series where we look at what influenced artisans among us to become what we are today, what helped inspire us along our path of creativity.

(photo, above - all and all photos below - from LaLashoes here

Daria, the artisan and industrial designer behind LaLaShoes, offers us a beautiful glimpse into what helped to shape her way of thinking and her approach to design and creativity. Thank you, Daria, for taking the time to share such a moving series of memories and insights with us.  Your post really made me think and consider the contributions of those close to me. I'm sure it will do the same for many of our readers.

In Daria's own words:
"From my father and my maternal grandmother I learned the most valuable lesson regarding my creative life - 'What you want but can't have or afford, you can make yourself! And it's much more fun doing it yourself too!'"

"Actually, they never told me that directly, but I learned that from both of them when I was very young. My grandmother was always making clothes and dolls for us. I enjoyed spending time with her and learning to sew and knit. I also enjoyed all the stories she told me about how she made trendy woolen coats for my mother and her friends out of woolen blankets, and nobody ever found out (early '50 poverty!), and also all her dancing dresses and everyday clothes. Among other things, I learned to make doll dresses out of scraps or used garments, and to re-use the wool from sweaters I outgrew."

"My father was always making things. He used to do wonderful sketches every evening for all the things he wanted to make, solving the technical problems, dimensions, everything. There was always a big pile of books on his side of the living room table - mechanics, physics, the Technical Encyclopaedia volumes, books on architecture, Neufert's Ergonomics (that I eventually used myself at university)...

...He spent most of his free time in his workshop in the attic, making stuff out of anything - he would reuse all kinds of pipes, wooden pieces, tin metal sheets… you name it. There was basically nothing he would thought of that he couldn't make. He liked to make his own improved versions of tools too, or design tools that he needed but didn't exist yet."

From him - from my father - I learned to solve things logically, applying math and physics, searching for answers in books, to think through sketches, to recycle and reuse any kind of material to make what I wanted.

I don't remember him ever making a toy for me, but I think that's because he knew I was able to make my own - I was always hanging around in his workshop and asking for tools. My father would always answer my questions about how to make something better, or lead me through some basic technical problems, usually challenging me to make even better versions of my own designs. I learned a lot just watching him working. Dad also learned to sew as a child; I got my first sewing machine from him as a gift.

My dad made our house - from a blueprint, through a scaled model we still keep as memory, all the way up to the roof. He made also a special crane from an old ship motor engine to help him get the materials high, as the house was growing. If you can learn to design and make a house, the sky is the limit, right?

From all that, I really learned that there is nothing you can't do if you apply yourself, if you're willing to learn a lot and if you're creative. That's something I consider invaluable. Thank you nonna and dad for this wonderful gift!


PoleStar Jewelry - Handcrafted said...

Amazing stories of makers in your family! I can see how the seeds of your exquisite work were planted early Daria. Lovely work!

markhed said...

Just love this post! Especially getting a peek inside the workspace!

Daria said...

Thank you so much Jen!
I'm still a little bit shy, but I'm also happy I could share my story with all of you :)


ChantaleP said...

What a fantastic gift your father & grandmother taught & left you Daria! That they guided you like this and their legacy lives on with you.. I love it. Love your office space as well!

Rita alias alatvian said...

Many thanks for sharing!

Laura Bucci Handmade said...

It's so neat to learn these details about Daria. What an interesting childhood!

steinschmuckdesign said...

Oh wow,
you really come from a creative family! Thanks for letting us be part a bit, Daria, wonderful!!!
Jen thanks you make such fantastic posts!!!

Monica said...

Your parents sound amazing! I enjoyed reading a bit more about you and where your wonderful talents come from.

WolfeWoman said...

What a wonderfully nurturing childhood! Thanks, Daia!


flyingzoo said...

Daria, it is a wonderful story. Thanks for letting us be a part of your chilhood. You know, I love your work and now I love your office space too :)....And thank you for everything!

best Monika

Daria said...

Thank you all for your wonderful comments! I enjoyed reading them so much!

I thought a lot about that and, apart from having a creative family, in the end it was good for both my brother Lorenzo and me that we didn't have much money back then - it gave us a big chance and motivation to develop this kind of creativity and thinking.
At least 50% of the telephone calls between the three of us are now about 'what (and how) we're making' :)

Anonymous said...

what a beautiful post and what amazing influences to have growing up! Your dad reminds me of my husband---he amazes me with how he is able to think up technical solutions and bring together logic and creativity to make functional things! He learned that from his dad much as you learned it from yours! Thanks so much for sharing!

Waterrose said...

I Love your creations and thanks for sharing your story. So inspiring.