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INTERVIEW: Tufna rukotvorina - The Earrings You'll Love

Just like the clothes we wear, jewelry tells a lot about a woman. It reflects her character and represents who she is. Earrings are the most feminine part of the jewelry that we wear. If you are in search for earrings that convey message of a strong and persistent woman, Tufna earrings are ideal for you.  Who is the creation behind this brand, how long does it take to make such earrings and where does the inspiration come from, OREA provides you the answers….

Who is behind the Tufna brand? How did you came up with the idea of making unique jewelry?
My name is Nina Vasilić. I was born and raised in Banja Luka where are also live currently. I am an ecologist by profession. My two greatest loves are nature and music which I enjoy the most in my free time with my partner and my dog Mrva. The idea of making jewelry came a long time ago when I was a teenager. When I was little, my mother would make clay pearl necklaces and I decided to revive these old pieces and make them with my own twist. I was always interested in restauration and making new things out of old ones. Soon after I met my boyfriend, encouraged me to dedicate more of my time towards jewelry making and that is how Tufna rukotvorine was created in 2015.

Tell us more about your beginnings…
I wasn't interested in jewelry as much as I was into the decoupage technique. It was probably because when I was young, I enjoyed collecting various napkins and exchanging them with my friends. Those were various wooden items that I treated with decoupage techniques such as decorative boxes, frames and later jewelry. A few years later I discovered polymer clay which gave me an opportunity to make something authentic. When I look back at my first pieces that I made, I simply laugh. Now, they are great motivators because you are able to see how much of a progress you have made since the beginning.

Which motifs prevail the most and what is your guide when making the earrings?
There are no special motifs that I prefer because I am interested and attracted to so many things. I would probably single out nature as my main inspiration. Each piece of jewelry that I make, a different rule applies, but one thing that most of them have in common are vivid colors.

How much time do you need to make Tufna earrings? How does the whole process look like? What materials do you primarily use?
It really depends on what techniques I use, but it definitely takes a couple of hours. The process itself has several stages. The first stage is the vision and the idea that I have in my head. Then comes the actual making of the piece which is the most interesting and creative to me. The polymer clay is very reliable material for different techniques, for combining and making colors. It gives your imagination a lot of room to play with. After the earrings are finished molding, they have to be baked for 30 minutes. Some clay types give different effects after baking, so it is always a surprise when it is done. The final stage is about polishing, varnishing, putting components together and finally enjoying the product of your labor. 

What makes your earrings different?
I believe that each one of us is special and unique in our own way. So, anything that you make with your own hands and your time, putting your own unique energy and ideas, has to be also unique from anyone else.  Of course, that applies if you love what you do.

Where do you get your inspiration?
The music and the nature are my two greatest inspirations in life as well as in my jewelry making process. Each time I come back from time spent in nature I have new ideas and I simply cannot image a day without music. 

Is it possible to get personalized Tufna earrings?
Yes! Absolutely. I have had only positive experiences making personalized earrings. It is always great when someone has an idea and wants something special for themselves or someone that they know very well.

What are your favorite local BIH brands?
There are a lot of them which makes me happy to be able to say that.  Since I've participated in many trade shows, I've also met many creative individuals who are into different products, but we all share the same love for handcrafts. I really like this new porcelain jewelry brand called Tekne, then Dantea handmade jewelry whose wire crafts leave you speechless, Jellyfish handmade has a great modeled polymer clay motifs, Sunčev cvijet, a wonderful woman who does great work with epoxy resin and she always provides incredible support to all of us at art fairs. One of the most creative persons I know is SUPA. She makes hand-bound notebooks and planners whose covers are made out of naturally colored materials using real flowers. And that is just a small part of what she does. There are some natural cosmetics brands that I personally use and recommend such as: Bajkin melem, Immortelle bio cosmetics, Aurola natural cosmetics, Ahilea natural cosmetics. The support we provide amongst each other is necessary but it should also be cherished.

Whose works particularly continue to inspire you?
In my country it is definitely SUPA and in the region, I love Marinush, a girl from Serbia whose works with polymer clay amaze me each time.  

Can we expect a new Tufna earrings collection soon?
Definitely. My plans for this year have been disrupted, as they have been for many of us, but I'm back at my studio and preparing something new with which I can say goodbye to the old and hello to the new year that I hope will be better and healthier for all of us.