By Monika Blichar
When it comes to daydreaming and thinking up creative ideas, most artists can say that deep down, that’s all they ever really want to do. Being an artist is often like being a pirate and a gypsy; searching for that golden idea while striving to keep it secret until it is time to unveil.
I caught up with Paula Godden owner and designer at The Pirate and the Gypsy and asked her to give us a few insights into her world of wonder.
1-A lot of your inspiration to create a company came from your travels as a young girl. Do you have a favourite place that you have visited?
Jerusalem, a place so rich in history and culture. As a young girl, I was wide eyed with wonder walking through the streets of the old city, visiting historic churches and sites, places I had heard about in stories and later read about in books. The lush greenery of the Mount of Olives, the beautiful beaches, floating on the Dead Sea, touching the spot where the Star of Bethlehem landed when it fell from the sky. The market places were always so filled with color and the hustle of merchants with their beautiful art work and jewelry. It was magical, like fantasy had come to life, especially after watching movies like Indiana Jones which romanticized the Middle East with all its natural treasures and mysteries. My imagination ran wild and it was at that time my writings and drawings really began to develop.
2-Is anyone else in your family creative?
Yes, I have a lot of creative family members but the person that stands out the most for me is my Father, he was an amazing artist. I remember when I was little I would watch him, I was mesmerized by his drawings. I would constantly be bugging him to draw things for me and then as I got older he was the one I would go to when I wasn’t sure on how to draw something. He really helped me develop and hone my artistic skills.
3-Your work is made from many natural materials and stones. What is your favourite material to work with?
I love working with all metals and stones but if I had to choose one of each I would have to say that copper and Larimar are my favourites. Some think of copper as a “poor man’s” metal, a dirty metal, but its not. Copper is such a wonderful easy metal to work with and has amazing healing and conductive properties. It has the ability enhance the properties of all other metals and stones that are in contact with it. Copper also has such a rich, vibrant colour it reminds me of the sun setting on the water; those deep reddy orange hues shimmering on the waves of the ocean. Turquoise is usually the favourite for natural blue stones, but Larimar has my heart. It reminds me of horizon where the ocean meets the sky, blue seas and white pillowy clouds. As you can probably tell I have my head in the clouds and my heart at the ocean.
4-What’s the most memorable design you have created?
I’d have to choose the custom engagement/wedding ring remake I recently did. Working with a customer to bring their vision, their story to life was an amazing experience for me. This was definitely a challenging piece for me to do. I took on the project not just because of the story behind it, but for the opportunity to push my boundaries of creativity and increase my skill level. This customer hadn’t worn her wedding ring set for 15 years, saying the setting was too high and that it would get caught on things and scratch her children when carrying them. She gave me her vision and trusted me to take it and put my own creative twist on it and after 15 years she is now able to wear the expression of love and her family on her finger once again. The joy I experienced when I saw her face as she put her new ring on for the first time was overwhelming and I was even more moved but the testimonial she posted on my website. The process I went through on this custom piece brought my skill set to a whole new level and confirmed my love for the process of discovery, design and creation, this is why I hand pick all of my materials. My husband and I believe that in every piece of wood, glass, metal and stone there is a story and it is our joy to translate that story into the unique piece of art it becomes.
5-Where would you like to see your business and collection be in 5 years?
I see my husband and I doing this full time. The Pirate & The Gypsy will have moved out of our home studio into a small local store front in New Westminster on Front Street with personal studio space for the two of us. Our online store will have expanded and flourished, going from a largely local audience to more expanded national audience. I see us growing and evolving. As the business grows so will our skills and possibly our creative direction. The Pirate & The Gypsy has grown so much in the past year with the addition of my husband’s woodworking and stained glass art. I am blessed to have him with me along for the ride, to be able to share our ideas, methods, and dreams for the future. I see some stained glass pendant collaborations in the future and maybe even some wood and metal pieces. In 5 years we will still be sailing the seas of our imaginations and creating form the heart. We want to create a culture where people come to us from all over the world when they want unique custom designed pieces that tell a story or that celebrate their life and their journey.
6-Will you have any specials for Art World Expo attendees this year?
I have a few surprises up my sleeve for Expo attendees. I will be debuting a new limited edition collection at a special Art World Expo pricing. We will be giving away a complementary gift to the first 25 customers who visit our booth and while they are there they can enter our draw to win one of our necklaces.
For more information, be sure to visit The Pirate & The Gypsy Facebook Page