Graça Paz • Atelier XT

Graça Paz is an artist who draws, paints, sews. Her husband Francisco is an architect, and together they are now selling their handmade furniture and accessories for the home. She lives in Portugal, and her work is a riot of color and creativity.

Graça has an inspiration refrigerator! A first for the Inspiration Boards Blog, though not for the Inspiration Boards group.

Can you tell us about some of the things you display for inspiration?

For me, my biggest inspiration is what I want to accomplish, so I have cut-outs of magazines, colours, photos that inspire me, my kids’ drawings, my husband’s drawings, fabrics, poems, etc. I don’t call it an inspiration board, but a “visions board”.

Who or what is inspiring you right now?

What is really inspiring me now is my future new life, the change from the city to the country. That inspires me a lot. Also this colour — oil blue, birds, Stacy Kent music, and Japanese interiors editions, Paola Navone and Li Edelkoort (always inspire me a lot).

What do you do to “refill the well”?

First I have an inspiration afternoon. I take many of my magazines and spend the entire afternoon taking notes, details, photos, etc!

How do you come up with your next idea?

The next idea is always in my mind. I’m always having next ideas, but I don't have the time to make them all! When I start a work I’m already thinking about the next one! And unfortunately I’m not like Geninne, sometimes I begin the next one before finishing the one I’m making!!! I can’t resist! That’s not good!

Tell us a little bit about your blog and your business.

My work and business is handmade furniture and acessories atelier! Everything is made by us from unique pieces (some of them!) and we work as a couple!

My blog is the window I don’t have (yet). I always feel frustrated when I leave something at a store or at a client’s house because they have a different approach to my idea. When I understand that, I make my site a window, the place where I can show my complete image and concept! It’s very important in our work.

How long have you been making your art? How did you start?

I studied arts in a Portuguese school, and then I studied fashion design. I worked in an interiors shop for five years, then I started my own atelier.

My work is a therapy to me. After we married, we started working together and created our atelier, first in our balcony, then many other places, and finally where we are now. We will have a big atelier near our future house in the country.

I always have had a true passion for interior design. That is my greatest passion. I love to create objects and furniture, because that is a kind of work that gives me freedom to create without being directed by someone. It is only us and our ideas. I always draw, but I really began my creative process when I went to study for an art degree in school. It was a very good experience, and now I miss not going further. I would love to study for another degree, and one day when my kids grow older I’m going to learn to play cello! I never stop creating, even when I’m on vacation!

How do you keep things fresh?

I keep things fresh by making many kinds of art — paintings, dolls — making many different things is a very good exercise. It makes us rest and at the same time work with our head in a completely different way. I used to think that I must concentrate on something, but today I’m not that certain! I walk on the beach, too, which is also very good for my head — and my ideas!

Have you ever been stuck creatively? How did you get past it?

Every artist has bad times in the creative process. Today I don’t have that so much because I’m constantly working, but when I do I usually don’t persist. I stop and go to make my “domesticities” for awhile and that is very good for a rest. Then I try again later!

What do you do to keep yourself motivated and avoid burn-out?

My perfect day, to be honest, is when I take the day off, and when I go in a shop to see or buy something I find myself thinking, “How can I do that much better at home instead of buying it”! That is an awesome sensation! It really is! After that I come home full of ideas.

What are some of your current projects?

This year was a very bad year to me in a personal way, but I’ve worked so much more than any other year. I have so many ideas! My biggest plan at the moment is my house. That involves my new atelier, a bigger one only for me and another for Xitó. That is going to be very important for our work, giving us the possibility of accepting more work because we have the place to do it. Decorating the whole house, exhibiting during 2008, and opening my own store in a very good place.

Which of your projects are you the most proud of?

I must say my new house. It was my most important project because we have so much at risk. Our entire life is going to change completely. I can’t say I’m prepared! It’s going to be one day at a time. After that, my paintings are my most important project, and I need to study if I want to do better!

Do you have any advice for the many people who are inspired by you?

My advice is to never to take advantage of other artists’ ideas! Never COPY!

What activity inspires you?

The activity that inspires me the most is, without a doubt, traveling. And when I’m not traveling, I travel sitting with a pile of my magazines or sitting at the computer to discover new artists. When I do, I feel happy!

What place inspires you?

The beach and a vision of Iceland — snow has a strange influence on me, it makes me feel quiet! Also, the Tate Modern is a very inspirational place. I love to be surrounded by art. When I went to London for ten days I went to the Tate four of the days.

What other artists have influenced your work?

I don’t feel that my work has been influenced in a direct way by other artists, but there are some that I see myself in their work and that I feel can make me a “rich” person — Jasper Morrison’s work, Paola Navone’s work, Hopper paintings, Isabelle de Borchegrave for her creativity, Andre Letria the Portuguese illustrator, Yves Talaron’s work, Eric Satie’s music, and Bossa nova music ...

What art and/or craft blogs, websites, and/or books do you enjoy?

It’s difficult to list sites because there are so many...

Marie Christophe
Karin Eriksson
Petit Pan
Hut up
Nathalie Lete
rock scissor paper

Some blogs...

Geninne's Art Blog
print & pattern

Books I’m reading...

The Gentle Art of Domesticity

I’m also reading a book about VASTU HOME.

Do you remember something that really inspired you back in the beginning?

Yes, I must say Paola Navone has inspired me right from the beginning. Her concept in furniture and decoration — simple, plain, and with that special touch. Also the over-sized pieces — ! I love her work!

What's your favorite thing in your studio and/or house?

In my house it’s not a place but a moment – an hour of the day that the sea that I see from my window turns silver.

In the world, I expect to visit many more places but for now I must say this beach near from my future house, one of the things that moves us to change our life and our home.

Graça’s website

Graça’s flickr

Graça’s Etsy shop

Graça’s DaWanda shop

Graça’s blog


xt said...

i´m toutched-!what a beautiful interview!thank you so mutch Lori!

hippyxic said...

i´ve loved, loved this interview is really Graça speacking!!!!!i´m a great lover of her work and friendship*****

meg said...

thank you for this! i love learning more about how other people are inspired and what their process is. beautiful photos, too.

Geninne said...

I LOVE this awesome lady! It was great to read this interview and get to know Graça a little more. Can she be more fabulous??? I think not! Graça I wish you the best in this new adventure. I know your new home will be awesome in every way, and I can't wait to see what you do when the place is done. A BIG hug for (((((((you)))))))

Lori, this blog is such an inspiration! I've loved every single interview & I'm glad you're back to start 2008 with Graça :) Hugs!

Friederike! said...

...a woman and artist that seems to have 48 hours days and the energy of a whole bunch of people :o) I´m so looking forward to meet her one day...

Lori Pickert said...

thank you so much, graça, for your interview - and your patience!! :^)

best wishes for you & your family in 2008 - and in your new home!

Lori Pickert said...

thank you so much, juliana, meg, and geninne - i love reading about these different artists' inspirations, too. it never fails to inspire me! we have some interesting interviews coming up, more crafters & artists but also some creative types who do very different work! should be fun!

friederike!, thank you for visiting!

Lu! said...

Great interview and really inspiring paintings :)

Laura said...

So lovely! Thanks for sharing a peek into peoples' creative process.

Lori Pickert said...

thank you, lu! and laura - i've got some incredible interviews in the pipeline - can't wait to share them with you! :^D

xt said...

Thanks for all this wonderfull coments!I didn´t expect so mutch!thank you all