Justina is the owner and creator of Spiffycool, an awesome etsy shop full of handmade pendants, bookmarks, wine charms, keychains AND cufflinks. All pieces are made by Justina, from SCRABBLE TILES, how cool is that? I fell inlove with Justina’s array of art, as soon as I saw her shop. Her pieces are full of love, laughter and so much life! You can really feel Justina’s great personality thru each piece; love, dedication, family, patriotism, humor, and genuine love for life.
1. How did you discover your talent for art? It’s in the genes! I come from a long line of creative people. I’m the sixth (at least) generation seamstress on my mom’s side, my mother’s also a painter, I have five tattoo artists amongst my cousins, my kids constantly get their art featured at school events – then there are cake decorators, sculptors, architects, and jewelry designers. Creating is just something that comes natural. However, it’s really hard to say that I have a “talent for art.” Artists are really hard on themselves and are never quite satisfied with their finished product. At least, that’s what my mom says, as we critique our own creations for every minute imperfection.
2.What motivates you? Happiness. Pretty simple. Making others happy is SO fulfilling and it invariably makes me happy, too. It’s very contagious! I’ve dabbled in many different projects over the years as a single mom trying to make ends meet. When my daughter was little, I went through a long stint of making matching girl and doll dresses. Hearing from customers on how delighted their daughters were made the long hours worth it. Now with my little pendants, I’m not limited to just making little girls joyous. The thing I absolutely love about making these is that the sky is the limit with designs and yet each peice is something special for the person recieving it. The feedback I get is so heartwarming. My favorite: One woman got her mom a tile with her initial on the back and a vintage lilac image on the front. There was a story – when her mom brought her home as a newborn, lilacs were in bloom and the scent was heavenly at their house. Every year her mom gets her lilacs and tells the story on her birthday. It was a very special thing between mother and daughter and now her mom has a little piece of jewelry with that lilac and her daughters initial to reminder her all the time. Others are just thrilled they found that “perfect” tile for their friend graduating med school, their child’s math teacher, their sister, their brother, or themselves! These aren’t just a pretty necklace with sparkles or a set of silver cufflinks – these are conversation starters and story tellers. It’s SO fun! I love being a part of so many happy moments, albeit from afar.
3.What do you enjoy about art? The feelings it brings out. Every kind of art elicits emotions. I can look at a piece and feel joy, warmth, sadness, confusion, or just plain laugh out loud, you name it.
4.Do you express different feelings when making your pieces?Absolutely! It’s interesting because most of my peices are made after they’re ordered. Sometimes I get notes telling me who they’re for and why, like “these are for the best man at my wedding – he’ll love them” or “this is for my best friend that is a nurse.” I imagine the excitement the person feels when they open the box and the gift-givers joy.
5. Do you remember the first piece you made?Actually, I guess I don’t remmber the very first one I made, but I remember the first one I started wearing myself – it was an image from the AVATAR movie (which I loved – saw twice in the theaters). I remember having grocery clerks and random people come up to me and comment on my necklace. That’s when I knew these were something that I wanted to share with the world. It’s an ice breaker, opportinity to share stories, an instant bond with strangers that have the same interests as you. A diamond necklace is nice, but it doesn’t necessarily get friendships started from out of the blue.
6. Any words of advice/tips for people who want to express their creativity, but don’t know how?To quote Nike “Just Do It.” Take a class, get a kit or a book, make something for yourself, make something YOU would like. You may just be surprised to find how many people like what you make! Listen to them and don’t shrug it off. We are always most critical of ourselves. It’s very hard to get over that part. Tinker around with what you’d like to do, mess up, fine-tune, and tinker again. Creating takes time… a LOT of time… Give yourself some time and practice. And have FUN, don’t forget that part.