“GIFTING ART” WITH THIERRY DRAPANAS
PH: Describe your medium and what you love most about creating?
TD: My jewelry is created mostly from gemstones (precious and semiprecious) , agates, crystals and glass beads with 22kt matte gold and oxidized sterling plated brass chain. I love to find artistically interesting stones and really let their qualities dictate what should be done with them. I gravitate towards large, funky, one of a kind pieces which really make a statement.
PH: Tell us about one of the most heartwarming gifts you’ve received?
TD: One of the most heartwarming gifts I’ve ever received was a small box filled with heart shaped paper cut outs made by my daughter when she was studying in Rome for her junior year. She wrote a message on every one of the hearts and gave it to me when she returned from Rome. Some of the messages had me in stitches and some bring me to tears to this day. All of them were written with such love that it is a gift I truly treasure.
PH: What is one of your favorite holiday traditions?
TD: One of the traditions which my family looks forward to at Christmas is waiting for Aaron Neville’s Soulful Christmas CD to be placed in the CD rotation. I am one of those people who wants to wait until after Thanksgiving and well into the second week of December before decorating for Christmas, but my husband will sometimes put the CD in during Thanksgiving just to get a rise out of me and laughs from our children. When we hear ” Bells will be ringing….” we all know it’s Christmas.
MEET THIERRY DRAPANAS
I started making jewelry twenty years ago. I had just moved back home to New Orleans with my family from Amsterdam, (where my husband was working) and had just had our third child. My maternal grandmother, Vee had sadly just died and I inherited her vintage glass and crystal beads. My sister encouraged me to start making jewelry with the beads, and so…Harriet and Vee was born. Harriet was my great aunt, my grandmother’s sister.
Both Harriet and Vee lived right down the street from where I grew up. Being a very close family of Syrian heritage, I saw them everyday. We had dinner as an extended family every night. (As an aside, it’s amusing to me that the “Mediterranean Diet” is the bomb these days!!! That’s the food I was raised on…vegetables for dinner with a little meat thrown in….dried apricots and eggplant are two of my most favorite things!!!)
Anyway, Harriet and Vee inspired me in ways that are beyond measure. They both were seamstresses and taught me to create using the dictates of the materials with which I worked. When they sewed, if the fabric had stripes, they pin tucked it. If it had dots, they smocked it. Everything was hand hemstitched and finished with French seams. Their work was perfect! Their creations rivaled the couturiers. I had a hard act to follow and I know I certainly have fallen short. But I do let the beads dictate to me how to best make use of them. I love being surrounded by the colors and textures of the stones, glass and metal and enjoy the time spent in my studio creating unique pieces of jewelry.
Coming from a very close family means the world to me. My most treasured gifts are gifts from the heart which my children have given me. My studio is replete with furnishings my husband has made for me to house my beads and supplies.
The two most treasured compliments I recall receiving both happen to be from my sister-in-law, Wendy. The first one brought me to tears on the night of our rehearsal dinner when in her words to her brother she said that their late father would be so very proud of him and that he would just adore me. The second was during one of her visits to us when she pulled me aside to tell me that she thought I was a really good mother. Ok….so who doesn’t love Wendy????
Other than getting excited about being with my children and making jewelry, I am pretty low key. I have nary a pulse. We lived in Europe for a few years, so I do like to visit there when the occasion arises, but otherwise, I am a homebody, happily living in Charlottesville with my wonderful husband, tending to the garden and our puppy, Ella.
FOR THE LOVE OF ART!