Alina Tyro-Niezgoda is a Polish artist living and working in Warsaw. Alina finds inspiration everywhere, from the curiosities of the natural world to industrial designs and everything in between. Soutache echinoderms, colorful felted bags, metal clay dragons and soft woven shawls all find their way into her repertoire. She never stays focused on one medium nor one style, but there is one thing all Alina’s creations have in common: they are all results of the artist’s immense passion for creating.
“There is only one reason for my activities: I love to create. It doesn’t matter if it is a new business, a building, a hat or a bracelet. What really matters is the idea that is being born and then has to be executed in the best possible way.”
We asked Alina some questions about her experiences with art, especially as a child, and her response really got us intrigued.
“Ever since I remember I was always most happy when my hands were busy. Most of all I loved to draw, knit and sew.
I remember one of my early projects, a really crazy one. I got my colleagues to help me out with collecting all the ties their fathers, brothers and uncles were not using anymore (I still hope the owners did agree to donating their ties to me, though…) and then I used the ties to make a grandiose skirt… It weighted a ton, but who cared!
Anyway, I am a daughter of an engineer and an economist, but there always has been a creative factor hanging in the air. My Mom was not very good at using her hands, but my Dad enjoyed tinkering a lot. I always tried to combine creativity with the technical knowledge (I have a Master degree in architecture), but then both my children decided to follow artistic paths, one in music, the other one in visual arts.”
We would love to see that skirt, wouldn’t you?
Alina really appreciates the fact that a big part of her business is creating. This is something she loves and something that brings her a lot of satisfaction. But then there is the other part: she has to sell what she makes, she has to buy supplies… Being an artist is so much more than being just a creator. You have to provide supplies, sell your works, be a manager and take care of your PR… This is a lot of work, luckily Alina has been building her experience over the years and now she is able to be really efficient at running her business.
” I have got experience from different fields that is really helpful in running my business. Studying architecture at the Technical University in Warsaw I have learned how to design, being a co-owner of a big agency I have learned how to run a business. Now, next to my creative work, I am running a school for jewelers where we are teaching various techniques, both traditional and experimental. Being a teacher I have to keep on learning, I also have to be up to date with the new trends. Knowing what is trendy is not really enough, I want to understand the trends and that usually means trying new things in practice. In one word, I am constantly evolving and moving forward, learning new lessons and gathering experience. I believe this will pay off in the future.”
Alina is a restless artistic soul who wants to try everything. New media and techniques, solving problems and mastering skills all excite her greatly. She loves the moments when she can say “Ha! It works!” or “Now I know!” And she would love to have more time (and hands, possibly) to be able to work on many various projects simultaneously. Well, at least she can be switching from one project to another and do some weaving, some sewing, some metal work. And sometimes she combines many media and techniques in just one project coming up with most amazing and intriguing pieces.
“My motto is: “And what if…?”. It reflects those moments when new ideas are coming to you and waiting for being developed into something special. It is that little question that lets an artist create, evolve and move forward.”
Alina’s approach to creating and to mastering new techniques reflects the respect she has for all the artists and masters in their disciplines out there.
“When you start your adventure with a new technique, or with a new medium, you are trying to create something as soon as possible, but on the other hand you watch those artists who are the best. You look at their works and you try to figure out their ways. You reach for films, books and tutorials, sometimes you contact the masters themselves. Your goal is to master the medium and the technique because only then you can start considering making something better, or at least different. Therefore all the people who are proficient at their art are my masters from whom I have learned.”
It’s always interesting to read about artists’ inspirations, let’s read about Alina’s:
“I look at a lot of various works from many different artists, some of them are very well-known, some are known a little less, but it doesn’t matter. I think every single piece I look at is sinking into my mind and some point it comes back to become a part of my own idea. I think there is nothing wrong in generating your own ideas in this way. We all are learning from each other, we all are being inspired by someone at some point, and then we become an inspiration for someone else in return. However, it is very important to transform other artists’ ideas and use them to build our own imagery instead of simply copying.”
And who has influenced Alina the most?
“There are so many artists that it is impossible to name them all. I really admire Mary Lee Hu’s jewelry, she has totally mastered combining metal art with weaving techniques. I also love the clean and serene works of Radek Szwed as well as some of Paweł Kaczyński’s projects. And this is only the start of a very long people who have influenced me in one way or another”.
As we have already mentioned, Alina is an interdisciplinary artist who works with many different media and uses many different techniques coming up with really unique designs. But asked about her greatest achievement she says “soutache”.
“I think the 3D soutache technique I have developed is my greatest achievement so far. I think nobody has come up with the idea of forming soutache in such a way that there is no front nor back (ugly) side. My works are three-dimensional and look interesting from any point of view.”
As many other artists Alina would love to have a bigger studio…
“Yes, I could use more space but I know that no matter how big my studio is I am going to fill it up in no time and start complaining again. Seriously, since I work on many different projects using various media and many different tools, I would like to have a separate spaces for all the started projects. It would be really great if I could leave the projects just on the tables and benches where I work on them instead of having to put them away every time. Maybe one day I will have such a comfortable studio, for now I have to live with what I’ve got”.
… but she possibly would not move to another place:
“I love the sun, the sea, palm trees and cacti. My favorite place to be is Italy, Sicily to be precise. I would love to live there, even though I realize that possibly there are a lot of nuances which a tourist can’t see. On the other hand I know and understand the realities of my home town and country and I feel comfortable here. I only wish the warm seas were somewhere closer.”
Possibly every artist has been given a piece of advice that matters a lot to them. It is no different with Alina, her favorite piece of advice is:
“Stop whining! You can do it!”
And the advice Alina would give to other artists?
“It all depends on where your priorities are. If you are more after business, it is really important to get to know the law and the regulations that apply to what you do. You also might want to look for an artist friendly place, whether it is a town or a country. Not everybody can or wants to move, but sometimes the place where you live makes a huge difference.If you are more interested in being an artist or a crafts person, you have to make sure you have enough patience and you can live through failures. The path is absolutely exciting but not easy to deal with. You have to get past some moments of doubts to be able to celebrate successes at the end.”
And there is something Alina would like to share with those who are not creating themselves but like to have handmade things:
“Please, don’t only focus on the price of the item you are interested in. Don’t compare it with the “made in China” prices. Handmade is not mass production, there are no machines spitting out a new ring every minute. Handmade means long hours that artists spend first on learning and mastering their craft, and then on creating unique pieces of art or craft with their own hands, using no automates.
If you want to understand what it takes to create, you should try creating yourself. There are many schools, clubs and associations where you can learn and practice craft, look for one that you think might suit you and give art a try. Doesn’t matter if craft is going to be only your hobby or you decide to turn it into your career one day. Maybe after a few lessons you will even decide that you don’t like creating, that does not matter at all. All that matters is that you can feel and understand what handmade really is.”
In TENDER DECEMBER shop on Handmade in Europe you can see – and also buy – a lot of beautiful and absolutely unique pieces that came to be in Alina’s studio.