ZAGREB’S TRADITIONAL & MODERN ARTISANS

More than ever, in today’s world, it is difficult to produce handmade products. The market requires fast production for low prices, large quantities targeted at a consumer goods market. Handmade production takes time, asks for patience, devotion, love and constant inspiration which ultimately leads to quality.

 

We all love to receive unique and handmade products; somehow we believe (or we know) that we then possess something that is more than just an “item”. It is inspiring and motivating to see long lasting craftsmanship passed down for generations with enthusiasm and passion. On the other hand, it is admirable and refreshing to see younger generations going in this path of dedicated and persistent work.

In this interview we present an artist Jasmina Kosanović and her unique handmade dolls, Gloopy girls Sunčana and Lara who create extraordinary lavender creatures and hot pot trivets, mister Thomislav Cerovečki – the heir of family craftsmanship with a hundred year tradition in producing umbrellas and mister Branko Kobali presenting Hats by Kobali, the fifth generation of hat artisans.

JASMINA I LUTKICE, JASMINA KOSANOVIĆ

What is the story behind Jasmina i Lutkice?

The dolls that I create are celebration of the world around me; I take the best and tell the story. They are love and reflection of a romantic and a poetic childhood, as much as of the process of growing up and getting to know the world. Every doll is unique and has its own character.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Definitely from life and everything that surrounds me, but most importantly I would say stories, fairy tales, historical costumes and nature.

Who buys your dolls?

Aesthetes, romantics, mothers and fathers for their kids, kids for parents and grandparents, girls for boys, boys for girls and very often people buy them for themselves.

And for the future

I plan to enjoy the world around me and create.

GLOOPY, SUNČANA & LARA

How did you come up with the idea for Gloopy products?

I had a bit of lavender in my garden and I wanted to store it in a new, fun way. My son suggested making a spider filled with lavender and that is how the first Gloopy Wardrobe Creature came to be! After that, Sunčana and I started putting one idea to another and our friend Katarina added the final touches with her rhymes.

Can you describe the production process and the uniqueness of your products?

We have different professions and due to that, we have different approaches when it comes to creating products. Our process includes changing shapes, trying different materials and working on every detail until we are completely satisfied. On the other hand it is important to be playful, creative and enjoy every step of it.

We want to be different so we gave our Gloopy products personality, we created them from eco-friendly materials and most of it is done by hand.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Traveling, books, stories, comics, music and of course children! We also find old forgotten toys and objectsvery interesting. Exactly those items are challenging for us because we want to take ordinary and create extraordinary.

And for the future

So many plans and ideas, so little time!

HATS BY KOBALI, BRANKO KOBALI

What is the secret of your long lasting craftsmanship?

We adjust to the times and do not compromise on quality regardless the economic situation. The secret is no secret at all, it is just our commitment, love and pride for hat making.

You are considered as one of the symbols of Zagreb. Where did this esteem status come from?

I think we are considered to be a symbol because we have been here for such a long time, and the tribute has come from the quality of our handmade products, personal approach and passion for design that has been recognized by our customers, locals and returning visitors.

Where does your inspiration come from?

Our inspiration comes from our buyers, because every hat has its story and its “face”.

Plans for the future

We just started our web shop for all our customers outside Croatia and we are working on our social media presence.

CEROVEČKI UMBRELLAS, THOMISLAV CEROVEČKI

What is the secret of your long lasting craftsmanship?

We make each umbrella by hand with love and care, and that is our 100 year old secret! Our customers recognize the quality of our products and they return gladly.

Why is the Šestine umbrella symbol of Zagreb?

The Šestine umbrella is an integral part of the national costume, which was worn till 1960 and since then it slowly started to disappear from everyday life. Šestine costumes are now mainly worn at various events and festivals, and mostly for folklore purposes. The Šestine umbrella is characterized by the red cotton canvas with multicolored stripes, thick wooden stick and naturally curved handle made from

chestnut wood.

For which occasions and for whom have your umbrellas been purchased and produced for?

We design umbrellas and parasols for all kinds of theatre and movie productions (USA, UK, Germany), as well as replicas of the 18th, 19th and 20th century. For the princess of Japan we made a replica of a 19th century lady parasol. Also, our umbrellas are ordered by the members of embassies, the government and the Parliament as a gift for esteemed world officials. But the best for us is when a person buys it for someone they truly love.

Where does your inspiration come from?

From our customers; their praises and complaints point us in the best direction.

And for the future

We will continue making handmade umbrellas, maintaining our quality and maybe expand to other markets.