Featured Artist Melina of MMGems

Wire Wrapped Copper EarringsArtists are not selling materials, artists are selling ideas and offering emotions. What an amazing statement from an artist that works from the heart!

Melina is a woman that has worked with her hands her entire life. As the youngest child in the family in Bosnia and Herzegovina, she was a third hand for everyone (which every artist knows comes in handy!) and was always being asked to hold this, get this, finish this, start this.  This amazing beginning fostered a creative spirit that is not just a job for Melina, but a way of life.  Her grandfather’s advice was “going to school is important, but never forget to learn at least one skill.”  Melina has taken this to heart.

Wire Crochet

Melina is the founder and president of the Association for the Preservation of Fine Crafts and Ancient Craft Skills.  She is also the organizer of a variety of organizations which promote charity work.  They organize craft fairs a few times a year, focusing on women that do not currently have full time employment as well as eco preservation, teaching skills and helping to sell their crafts.  In addition to all this, Melina still has time for her darling child.

Woven Earrings

This gifted lady is one that can’t be content with just one medium.  She says that her passion is chasing ideas, though sometimes the ideas chase her instead.  Melina has worked in everything from metals which she says is like magic to her, to polymer clay, making clothes, and even wood furniture.  She says that these things are a connection to lost family members-metal and wood reminds her of her grandfather, knitting and crochet of her grandmother, sewing from her mother, and beads of her aunt.  Each craft that she takes on is a connection that she holds dear.

When Melina was 15, she began selling her creations during the holidays at craft fairs.  She took a break from selling after a few years, but never her passion for creating.  About 6 years ago, Melina realized that finding a job was next to impossible so she fell back into what she knew she could do well to make a living.  She began selling online as well as street selling and putting her creations into local shops.  Doing all this is no easy task and she admittedly spends many hours on her business; though when she talks of street selling she compares it to a picnic day with lots of friends stopping by to say hi!  What a wonderful outlook.

Coper Coil Handmade Ring

While creating is definitely her passion, Melina admits that there are parts of business that she wishes were less time consuming and that is the paperwork side of things.  She is also passionate about resellers who claim to make the items that they are selling as that takes away from the artist.  In fact, Melina believes that you should never hide anything from your buyer’s eyes!  Be proud of your work, not overly harsh on yourself because what you see as an imperfection a buyer might see as a unique treasure.

Melina also tells those that are considering selling their own handmade work to keep your goal in mind and keep focused.  Work and discipline will bring you to your goal.  Respect yourself, your tools and your art and it will show in your work.

Are you ready to see what this lifelong creative soul from Bosnia can do?  Well, she is easy to find on Handmade Artists as well as on Facebook.  You can follow her on Twitter and check out her latest passion on her blog.


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Posted in Featured Vendor, Handmade, Handmade Artisans

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