We have a lovely guest to introduce today: Cristina Jucan from Rocks + Threads (@rocksandthreads)! Some of you may already know Cristina from her previous business name: LYULI. She recently changed her name to Rocks + Threads (which we love), and we’re thrilled to be sharing her story and studio space!
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up in Fiber-Arts.
Hello fiber friends! I am the maker behind Rocks + Threads, a growing personal project and creative outlet for all my textile and crafty explorations. Currently based in Memphis, TN, I am trained as a graphic designer, but have found myself increasingly drawn to the wonderful world of fibers. I grew up in a small village in Transylvania (Romania) surrounded by a rich tradition of textile art, where tapestries, folklore costumes, and woven rugs adorned every surface of the house interior.
My fascination lies with the medium itself: how it can mend, tangle, nest, cover, bring and hold together other elements. I enjoy playing with yarn and thread and exploring basic techniques to create new patterns and combinations of materials and color. What I find most beautiful is a sea of tangled threads, sporadic patterns, and the juxtaposition of dissimilar elements. I usually approach a piece without having a preconceived idea of the final result, allowing the materials to dictate the next stitch.
Give us a brief history of your workspace/studio and how it has evolved over time.
I had always thought that I needed a particular personal space where I can create, a special room dedicated to all my creative endeavors. After having such a space for a short time, I realized that my designated studio had become a cluttered storage room. This approach was not very conducive to the way I work. I would spend more time cleaning and organizing, as a lustrative ritual before getting started on a project, until I eventually migrated to the brightest and opened area of the house. I’ve recently moved into a smaller apartment, where having the designated “studio room” wasn’t a possibility. I challenged myself to make a working area as efficient as possible while keeping it fairly integrated with the adjoining living room. It made me think of how, traditionally, any craft endeavor was harmoniously integrated with all the other household activities. In the winter, my grandmother would set up her loom in the living room and work at various times throughout the day. I realized all I need is a way to keep my working elements handy, arranged so they look more like decorative objects rather than a pile of supplies. Thanks to my friend (@out.of.square) who designed and built a shelving system and a few other elements, i could take advantage of the vertical space to store and display my tools and supplies in a decorative manner, while keeping them accessible. Also, I’ve opted for a small working surface, a reclaimed industrial spool, in order to limit myself from using that surface as storage.
Can you give us a glimpse into a typical day in your studio?
I create most of the component pieces outside of the studio. I’ll pick out a few crystals and some thread which I can then take to the park, or elsewhere, to crochet or knit. A typical day in the studio is when i already have a few elements created. I “shop” around my display shelves and collect the chosen elements in a wood ball, I sit at my little spool-table, and start putting them together. I find it more stimulating to see various pieces on display and easier to envision how they would come together to form a wearable piece.
Name a tool you cannot live without and why.
My most indispensable tools are my crochet hooks, they’re pretty basic.
Is there a piece of equipment or fiber you own that is special to you? Can you tell us the story on how you acquired it?
I have a few skeins of vintage yarn that are reminiscent of my childhood, when my grandparents where processing wool and weaving tapestry. It’s a rough sheep wool yarn that I have as a keepsake, along with a few tapestries.
Can you give us a glimpse into your storage situation?
For storage I tried to collect various items that allow me to organize the different materials I use, while still being esthetically pleasing. I’ve tried to invest in reclaimed vintage items that I can repurpose for my own use. Vintage letterpress drawers work incredibly well for keeping all my beads, jewelry findings, and other small components organized. A wooden Coke crate is a nice display for the special leftover balls of yarn, silk, and mohair, that I use for trims and small decorative elements in my work. A big wooden box, made of reclaimed pallets, serves as a table and a storage-bin for all the bulky yarn and miscellaneous fabric. I use a set of drawers from an antique sewing machine to keep yarn organized. A set of labeled paper suitcases and old cigar boxes hold a variety of items that I use less often. For display, I’ve painted a few tree branches and driftwood on which to hang or rest finished pieces. I also have a set of wall-panels, 2×4 frames with wire or burlap stretched across, which I use to hang other finished pieces. I enjoy seeing my collection of materials grow and evolve, but once I start working on a different idea, I stash them in the little boxes, away from dust and light.
Visit the Rocks + Threads’ Instagram page for more beautiful photos of Cristina’s creative process: