One of the things on my Christmas list this year is a collage necklace by Squidlicks, a lovely vintage-inspired jewelry line by the talented Yanna Garecka. Based out of Fairfax, Miss Garecka makes necklaces out of brightly colored beads of bold & interesting shapes. They remind me of adornments that could be found in fading snapshots taken during decades past: A pretty lady sips a martini at a summer barbecue wearing a sun dress; A group of girls are lined up in frilly gowns before the homecoming dance; A woman wearing a slinky black number and big Jackie O. shades looks like she’s headed somewhere fun. These are the types of images that I think of when I see a Squidlicks necklace. To me, these adornments say, “Let’s be daring and have fun in life.”
I got in touch with Yanna recently, and she graciously agreed to do an interview for the Flapper Girl blog, so we could learn more about her and her work. So read the interview below, then check out all her wonderful creations.
My very first memory of making jewelry was when I was about four or five years old, with these underwater-themed snap beads. They were pearly-pastel colored, chunky, hollow, and had this plasticy smell. There were all different kind of shells and fish. My dad had some pictures of me wearing my creations. You can tell I felt absolutely fabulous adorned in them.
I also recall hauling out huge trays of Lisa Frank beads from club warehouses. I can remember how excited I was refilling through the scary bright colors, shapes, and sparkles. Those were so sweet. And I could totally use those beads in some of my necklaces today!
What really inspires you the most in your work?
Beads do. I tend to go for a big assortment of beads if I can. It forces me to work outside my color comfort zone. I mostly work off of the flower beads. I like round dense lucite beads in awkward colors. I imagine how they want to be put into a certain color scheme, how they want to fit into a space. When I look at a bead I know what its purpose is in the arrangement of a necklace. It sort of just becomes this beady wiry mass, but it works… most of the time.
I love finding the perfect beads and sorting them into little compartments by color and size. I could spend hours sorting a bucket of beads into made-up categories that only I understand. So needless to say, I have many trays of beads. But I know where each one is if I need to find a specific one. I go through each tray and pull out the ones that go with the color scheme I have in my head. Then I sit down, listen to some music, or even watch TV at the same time, and just let the necklace make itself, in a sense. I know which have holes big enough for the wire to go through twice, I know which ones are heavier, I know how and where to attach them. So I guess I have to build this kind relationship with each type of bead and I’ll know exactly where it wants to go. Then I set them aside for putting on the chains, taking photos, and posting to my Etsy shop.
What are some tidbits of advice you’d give people just starting out on their own handmade jewelry business?
Have something you’re really good at, or really like making, and stick to it, perfect it, and go through phases with it. Don’t get discouraged if something doesn’t work; just try it again, try something different. It’ll keep evolving into something better over time. And people will want what you’re so good at.
Craft fairs scare and overwhelm me. Taking in too much at once in a crowded space makes me dizzy and sleepy. Fairfax County is NOVA, and I can’t say I know much about the NOVA scene in specifics, I usually associate with the DC craft scene if I do at all. Crafty Bastards is neat, but it is in a small, confined area with lots of people and that deters me from going sometimes. It’s cool to run into people who know Squidlicks. Definitely cool.
What’s the origin of the name Squidlicks? Why did you choose it?
I’ve always had an unhealthy fascination with marine life. So much that I don’t eat seafood of any sort (on top of not eating meat). I loved watching Discovery Channel shows about coral reefs, ugly and strange deep sea creatures. And most of sea life is extremely cute. Even the ones without faces. Sea cucumbers, urchins, snails, clams, jellyfish… anything symmetrical and relatively round strikes my fancy. But have you seen some of squids out there?! Adorable. Like kitten adorable. Like kitten licking your face adorable. And I guess Squidlicks just has a good sound to it too. And it’s different, makes you ponder a little.
What are some of your favorite activities and hobbies?
Watching ghost shows and eating ranch-flavored sunflower seeds, bead shopping, wandering around craft stores, buying cute useless things, fish-keeping, outdoor and indoor gardening (ex: watering houseplants), keeping up with lolcat videos and pictures (every day, sometimes twice), drinking tea, taking cat naps with my cat, wrapping gifts, sorting beads and buttons, working at the venue/bar/coffee shop I am employed at, partaking in drunken Polish family events, being completely ridiculous with my best friends, spending quality time/down time with my BFF (boyfriend forever).