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Interview with Renata Calka

Home > Designer Interviews > Renata Calka

Editor Frank Scott (FS) from DesignPRWire has interviewed designer Renata Calka (RC) for A’ Design Awards and Competition. You can access the full profile of Renata Calka by clicking here.

Interview with Renata Calka at Saturday 2nd of June 2012
Renata Calka
FS: Could you please tell us more about your art and design background? What made you become an artist/designer? Have you always wanted to be a designer?
RC: Every human being is born as a creator. The thing is not to ‘become’ but not to loose it. As a child I was very inventive and I loved drawing. When I grew up I decided to go to Art Collage where my main subject was toy making and designing. But after I finished it I was uncertain about choosing the ‘artlife’, as I feared that it could be not secure and unstable. Than I explored a lot to finally got back to the source. For me it is all about having a courage to believe, choose, and trust in imagination and let it flow creatively. To learn artistic skills is not so hard, but to keep your creativity alive, now, that is an art.

FS: Can you tell us more about your company / design studio?
RC: MAMOKI is an Art&Design Studio, and a brand name for mine and my husband original designs. We created innovative, interactive reversible soft toys. Also, have many more ideas for toys and children’s accessories. Our designs are not left in sketch books but we turn them into prototype or final products, which already turned out to be popular on the market. They are designs-prototypes-products in one.

FS: What is "design" for you?
RC: For me design is a unique idea projected in artistic way into usable form.

FS: What kinds of works do you like designing most?
RC: Soft and wooden toys. Also, children’s accessories, clothes, giftware and homewere.

FS: What is your most favorite design, could you please tell more about it?
RC: Fiat 1956 Abarth 750 Alemano Cabriolet, I loved that Italian car from the first sight. It was in Antwerp in my friends garage, who has a nice collection of Abarth’s cars.

FS: What was the first thing you designed for a company?
RC: EMOK MAMOKI was the first design and since it got a great feedback I started running my MAMOKI Studio.

FS: What is your favorite material / platform / technology?
RC: Natural fabrics and wood. I also like reclaiming and reusing things for example some plastic junks.

FS: When do you feel the most creative?
RC: When I’m fulfilled with love.

FS: Which aspects of a design do you focus more during designing?
RC: Esthetically form and possibility of realization. Also I wish all my designs were made with fair trade and organic materials.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when you design?
RC: Joy and love.

FS: What kind of emotions do you feel when your designs are realized?
RC: Happiness and gratitude.

FS: What makes a design successful?
RC: It connect designer and his/hers audience. Designs are successful if they bring unexpected emotions and actions in peoples lives.

FS: When judging a design as good or bad, which aspects do you consider first?
RC: I consider every judging and always think: ‘ok, but what I am about this’ to reject or make it my own.

FS: From your point of view, what are the responsibilities of a designer for society and environment?
RC: The same as everyone else - to be responsible for your own daily actions.

FS: How do you think the "design field" is evolving? What is the future of design?
RC: In my opinion nowadays more people prefer to have something original and unique than a mass product. Instead of having more ,they make an effort to search for something what really fulfill their needs. On the other side people get creative themselves. That brings more designers, artists and craft makers. I think design has a bigger value now and a glowing future.

FS: When was your last exhibition and where was it? And when do you want to hold your next exhibition?
RC: My last exhibition was in 2008 in Galway (Ireland). As I received this award I would love to exhibit this year in Ireland to share my joy and pride.

FS: Where does the design inspiration for your works come from? How do you feed your creativity? What are your sources of inspirations?
RC: Inspiration for my designs comes from little daily things; from everything that surrounds me and everything what is inside of me. Also, it happens, it comes from nowhere - silence; just appears when I take a pencil and don’t think at all.

FS: How would you describe your design style? What made you explore more this style and what are the main characteristics of your style? What's your approach to design?
RC: In my collage and during my studies on faculty of architecture I listened a lot about designer styles and I really got inspired by some of them and felt influenced. Now, I don’t feel that I should define designs, or divide them. they are only emotional to me. But what I could called as recognizable for my designs are expressions like: childish, colour, softness, curvy, organic, fair trade, high quality and original.

FS: Where do you live? Do you feel the cultural heritage of your country affects your designs? What are the pros and cons during designing as a result of living in your country?
RC: I live in Ireland, country with vast expanse of green fields, incredible cloudy sky and the ocean. Contact with nature make me feel freely, and that for sure have influence on my creativity. Irish heritage and tradition also appears on my designs.

FS: How do you work with companies?
RC: I didn’t work for any company yet, however I feel that if I would (which I’m wishing for) it will bring profits for both of us.

FS: What are your suggestions to companies for working with a designer? How can companies select a good designer?
RC: Good designs competitions.

FS: Can you talk a little about your design process?
RC: I usually have few sketchbooks, paper and pencils in every corner of my house..and a special one near my bed as ideas often come when my mind is free of thoughts. After idea is set I start thinking about materials. There are times when I focus on materials in first place and the design is a natural consequence of my selection. For example, I look on some printed fabrics and than idea comes to me. Then I start to prepare prototype, which sometimes appears as a ready product, other time needs to be developed. Next, we (myself and my husband) test it and introduce it into the market. After receiving feedback we redesign it, make some improvements if necessary.

FS: What are 5 of your favorite design items at home?
RC: Round tablecloth designed in tv test sign and made by my husband, An electric wire reel reused as a center table in our living room, 1 meter diameter green balloon, rhino wall lamps, colorful spots designs on the living room's ceiling

FS: Can you describe a day in your life?
RC: I wake up in the morning and don’t have to shave...think, how lucky am I. What a time saving! But seriously, to describe a day from my life it could be a book. I am a very active person, usually wanting to make the most of every opportunity. Each day its different...I love meeting with friends, walking in the forest, traveling in our hand-painted van, watching horses beside while they’re galloping in front of window, sharing my design ideas with my husband... Also, try to pay attention to every simple daily things while I cook or clean. Currently my life changed, as I am a mum of a lovely 2 months old boy. So, in my daily schedule appeared things such as: feeding and changing nappies. But actually that experience, empowered me like nothing before.

FS: Could you please share some pearls of wisdom for young designers? What are your suggestions to young, up and coming designers?
RC: I am a up coming designer, so maybe I should read an interview of other designers to get the answer for myself. All I can say is what my friend told me once, that every creation has its place in the world, and whoever brought it should believe in it.

FS: From your perspective, what would you say are some positives and negatives of being a designer?
RC: Positives are that I don’t see any negatives.

FS: What is your "golden rule" in design?
RC: Make it your own.

FS: What skills are most important for a designer?
RC: Any, that will help to express imagination either through drawing or using software.

FS: Which tools do you use during design? What is inside your toolbox? Such as software, application, hardware, books, sources of inspiration etc.?
RC: I experiment with different tools depends on a project. Currently I use, is usually Photoshop and Corel working on TOSHIBA, PC. I like design books, magazines, exhibitions etc. but I don't use any tools as a sources of inspiration intentionally.

FS: Designing can sometimes be a really time consuming task, how do you manage your time?
RC: Organize my work and put plans in the schedule.

FS: How long does it take to design an object from beginning to end?
RC: It varies depending on deciphering the vision, confidence to this particular project and possibility of realisation. One design comes overnight and the other one needs few years to become real.

FS: What is the most frequently asked question to you, as a designer?
RC: How did you get the idea for this?

FS: What was your most important job experience?
RC: I’m looking forward for it.

FS: Who are some of your clients?
RC: When I produced my toys I sold them personally on the local market. My clients were mostly young people, new parents and their friends. They are people who care about the design, passion and environment. And they appreciate every aspect of it. At this point gender or age doesn’t play any role.

FS: What type of design work do you enjoy the most and why?
RC: Working on prototype, making forms, searching materials and then, making it real.

FS: What are your future plans? What is next for you?
RC: I am hoping that this competition will give my designs new possibilities. I am going to design more and wishing that designing will become my life profession.

FS: Do you work as a team, or do you develop your designs yourself?
RC: I work on my projects with my husband. We always share our ideas and develop them together.

FS: Do you have any works-in-progress being designed that you would like to talk about?
RC: I have many designs going on such as children’s toys, accesories, bags and clothes projects. Currently I am working with my husband on his project -RebornArt. RebornArt is about wooden gifts, handmade in county Galway. They are inspired by Irish West Coast tradition and nature. His Balancing Boats are a wooden boat sculptures with novelty idea of balancing movements, that imitate boat sailing on the ocean. You can find his work in many Irish galleries, Internet website, Facebook and Etsy.

FS: How can people contact you?
RC: Best way to write an e-mail on mamoki@zoho.com. MAMOKI have also page on Facebook, so hope to met you there.

FS: Any other things you would like to cover that have not been covered in these questions?
RC: Yes, I would like to thank you.


FS: Thank you for providing us with this opportunity to interview you.

A’ Design Award and Competitions grants rights to press members and bloggers to use parts of this interview. This interview is provided as it is; DesignPRWire and A' Design Award and Competitions cannot be held responsible for the answers given by participating designers.


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