I am most productive in the mornings and the evenings. In the middle of the day my brain literally shuts down and I feel like a potato. Usually, I wake up at 7-8 am. First thing – coffee! and a quick check of my social media profiles. After that I spend the rest of the morning working, having breakfast, browsing for ideas and inspiration. During the winter my routine changes because I spend most of the day snowboarding so I mostly work in the evenings.
Tell us about how you became the woman you are today. Where did you grow up? What moments in life have influenced your character most?
I was born in Sofia which is the capital of Bulgaria. After only a couple of months my family moved to Brussels where we lived for four years. In 1997 we returned back to Sofia where I spent most of my life (I will turn 27 this May). Last winter I decided to move to a small town near the mountains. I moved to Bansko, which is a winter resort in Bulgaria in Pirin Mountain, so I can snowboard as much as I can. But then spring came and I decided to stay a little longer because I felt good. I was calm, very productive, and happy. People asked me what do I do when the winter season ends and the town gets deserted. I go on long walks in the mountain, I
spend quality time creating things, I travel, and I met great people that live here too so I can always go out for a beer with someone. I think that here I find the balance between Nature and civilization. I can’t specify exact moments from my life that have influenced my personality the most because I believe that everything that has happened to me (and is still
happening, and will be happening) have shaped me as a person. I like to believe that I outgrow myself every single day. I try to solidify my good qualities. The bad ones – I overcome or change. I am a “work in progress”.
Tell us about the exact moment or period in time when you realized you were born to create.
I remember that in high school I was extremely fascinated by people who create things. People that draw. People that write. People that sing or play on instruments. People that craft things. I was inspired by all kinds of art. And that was (and still is) my problem. This inspiration nourishes a strong feeling of euphoria that leads mostly to chaos. I want to try out so many things that I shift too fast from one project to another. I am very organized on the outside but within me – the mess is wild! But I believe that embroidery is the beginning of me organizing this inner clutter.
Tell us a little bit about what drew you to your medium. Did you choose to work with this medium or did it choose you?
It was three years ago. I had put on hold the search for my “thing” for some time. Until one day when I saw this workshop for embroidery that would take place at an art space in my town. I got excited and I decided that I will definitely go. Guess what - I didn’t. But I got curious and decided to check out some embroidery art in Pinterest and I was shocked (in a
I clearly remember discovering the works of Sarah K. Benning
(https://www.instagram.com/sarahkbenning/) , Tessa Perlow
(https://www.instagram.com/tessa_perlow/) and Teresa
(https://www.instagram.com/teeteeheehee/) and my mind was blown away. At that moment I got determined that after all I will (and have to!) try embroidery. I made a quick research what kind of materials I need to start out, bought them and dived into watching tutorials. The fact that I’ve been doing this for whole three years is a great accomplishment for me and it’s a
sure sign that there is a connection between me and this medium.
A lot of women believe they need formal training in order to succeed as a Female Artist. What’s your take? Did you have formal education or are you self taught?
I have never attended any kind of art school. And sometimes I feel sad about it. Back then I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I was lost and confused in my teenage years. At the end I got a Bachelor degree in Psychology. My parents’ careers are very far from the field of arts so I think this played a role in my choice for high school and university too. Not that they pressured me in any way. I’ve always had full freedom. But I guess if they were closer to the Arts, then I would have been closer from a younger age.
How do you define your creative gig? Full-time career or side hustle? Explain why you’ve chosen one over the other.
I wouldn’t define it as a career. At least not for now. I try to accept it as a hobby, as a passion. Because the moment I start to think how to make a living out of it, things fall apart. The pressure gets very tense and it repels the inspiration. So for now it’s a side hustle. The other passion I have is selling second hand clothing and I try to juggle with these two hobbies of mine so I can afford to live an easy and simple life.
How do you stay motivated?
By engaging myself with a variety of activities. The bigger the diversity = the greater the motivation. As I mentioned before – I am very chaotic and I can hardly focus my mind on one thing.
What is your biggest focus and/or goal in your career right now?
My biggest goal is to experiment, to learn as much different crafts as I can and combine them. I want to be able to play with them. My other objective is to be able to actually call this a career and to refer to my hobbies as my business. But it will take quite some time to accomplish this bearing in mind the current situation.
What’s the most difficult financial hurdle you’ve had to overcome while running your business? Get specific!
Like I said – I can’t describe my activities as a business yet. I’ve always dreamed to get to that point. But right now we are facing times of great uncertainty (the COVID-19 pandemic) and I think that all small businesses and artists will have to get through the upcoming difficulties that are yet to come. The next months will be tough. So I believe that this will be my first financial hurdle.
What specifically gives you the most anxiety when it comes to talking about money? Explain.
I find it hard to put a final price on my works. I feel like I am still undermining my efforts and I lower the price because I am scared that if I tell the actual cost then people won’t buy my art.
Finish this sentence. I never leave home without my…
Finish this sentence. I find myself most inspired to create when I am…
In love. Or truly happy. Or when I do many things at once and I’ve entered into this state of mind when I am like a workaholic. If somehow these three things overlap at the same time, then I am on fire!
Name 3 of your guilty pleasures.
Anything made out of dough – pasta, bread, pancakes, etc. The guilty pleasure in this field are way more than 3…! (Hahaha)
Name 3 Artists you would like to see featured on Hola Gwapa next and what you love about them.
There are so many artist that I am fascinated by! But I will narrow them to some Bulgarian artist that strike my mind right away and I want more people from around the world to see their works.
Borislava Karadjova and Mihaela Karadjova – They are sisters and both are incredible illustrators. I love everything about their works. And they are extremely kind people! I wish I had a sibling (sister or brother) and I wish we had the connection they have! Kloshar Bags - In Bulgarian “kloshar” means “a homeless person”. The people behind this brand are also siblings – a brother and a sister. I even think they are twins!
Nataliya Milenkowa is the master of sewing and her brother – Deqn, is the man behind the camera. Both very talented. I am fascinated by their constant flow of ideas and inspiration! The brand offers very cool bags and hats.
Vyara Boyadjieva – I discovered her Instagram profile quite recently but I am magnetized by her work. I can’t explain it but the moment I saw her drawings and I was enchanted.
To learn more about Mina Ivanova, please visit www.etsy.com/shop/MbroideryByMina.