Team talents: Maija’s festive installation
You may well have already noticed that our team is incredibly talented, but what you might not know is that many have other creative endeavours outside of work. Hidden talents that they pursue in their spare time.
Our Account Manager, Maija, is a natural creative. Having a degree in Graphic Arts, she has since developed her own creative flair and now experiments with crafting decorative close to real-life aesthetics. She was recently commissioned to create a festive window display for a local shop front. We sat down with Maija to learn all about the exciting project.
How did the project come about?
“Antiques expert, Irita Marriott, was looking for a local artist to collaborate with for the annual Christmas window display competition in Melbourne, Derbyshire. She came across my work and asked if I would help her to create a Christmas display for her recently opened Auctioneers and Valuers house. I was far too excited, how could I say no?!”
How would you describe your craft?
“I’ll take on any challenge, but I am more focused on large-scale, immersive and custom installations, which gives me the flexibility to create unique and eye-catching designs. So, I’d probably say large-scale decorative installations with close to real-life aesthetics. For me, the aim is to heighten perceptual awareness, captivating people to become more connected to the space around them – that Alice in Wonderland feeling!”
Where did you take inspiration from when creating this piece?
“The main brief was to make the display festive, light and white, so I decided to put a contemporary twist on the timeless decorative elements commonly associated with Christmas. I wanted to focus on showcasing one key feature in each window. It was a tough decision as I had so many ideas, but in the end I chose huge pine cones in one window and a large wreath with lit poinsettia flowers in the other. I knew these would be instantly recognisable, bold, bright and stop people in their tracks.”
Are you happy with how the display turned out?
“If I’m honest, I’m always very skeptical of my own work as I always look for ways to improve but, I am actually very proud of the outcome of these two pieces! This was the first time I’ve created pieces to this scale and with such a quick turnaround.”
Did you encounter any challenges or surprises during the process?
“I had never created anything to this scale before, so it was a new challenge – from understanding the space in each window and then making each piece relative to it. It was a bit of trial and error to get to the finished piece. I also had to hand-paint each pinecone individually, which took a lot longer than I expected. I ended up having a few very late nights but it was definitely worth it!”
Did you experiment with any new techniques while creating this installation?
“I had never made pinecones before, so I had to improvise with different sizes and materials. The centre of each pine cone is actually a 5L plastic water bottle!”
What’s your next project?
“I’ve got nothing in the pipeline yet, though I’ve received a lot of interest in the pinecones as a result of this project, so you never know what could come of this.”
What would be your dream project?
“The big dream is to have my own exhibition at the TATE one day, but I’d also love to create installations and displays for large retail stores such as Harrods, Selfridges or even fashion brands like Ted Baker.”
What does the future hold?
“Eventually, I’ll look to have my own studio where I have more space than my current spare room in the house. And because I work with large-scale designs, I am currently buried under the materials alone! Luckily, for the time being, I do this because I find it relaxing and use it as a way to recharge, so I’m not putting too much pressure on myself with future ambitions.”
You can keep up to date with Maija or check out more of her work over on her Instagram @studio_ziga