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Retired architect gets granular with beadwork

2012beads61 Delia Cepoi sits in her workshop last Friday. Nick Pearce/NNSL photo

Beadwork was an escape for Delia Cepoi.

Threading the pieces together and creating small works of art was a creative outlet for Cepoi, a former architect, when she was bogged down at her job 15 years ago. She continued, attracted to the freedom of the pieces and the parallels of beadwork and architecture.

Delia Cepoi sits in her workshop last Friday.
Nick Pearce/NNSL photo

She retired last year and continued selling her works under the name Silver Bliss Studio — a reference to the satisfaction of her silver years. She founded the project with her sister, Rodica Naiaretti, in 2010.

“I have the luxury of freedom. I’m on recovery of many years of working (into) nighttime for projects and deadlines,” Cepoi told NNSL Media.

Growing up in Sibiu, Romania, she was drawn to art at a young age and later immigrated to Canada to pursue architecture. Fifteen years in, however, and she needed a creative outlet, and a chance to regenerate. With beads, she could create whatever shape interested her — “you can do whatever you want (with them),” she said.

Cepoi was no stranger to the use  of space in art — she taught advanced geometry in Europe — and beads offered a medium with weight and depth.

“I never look at a piece of jewelry like a flat piece of jewelry like 2D,” she said. “Everything is 3D for me.”

Cepoi’s “Downtown” won an October reader’s choice award from Bead and Button magazine.
Photo courtesy of Delia Cepoi

That was on display as she won a readers choice award in October from Bead and Button magazine for her necklace “Downtown,” which is a small cityscape based off an architectural site plan complete with a stadium and gallery.

The necklace is asymmetrical, weaving in stones and beads to represent landmarks and buildings with fall colours. She estimates it took 120 hours to create.

“It’s a quirky design, it’s an unusual design,” she said, explaining that capturing the auroras was her original idea for the piece. “But then, I said, no. This one’s going to be from me — the world in miniature, that’s how I call it.”

She appreciated classical architecture, she said, but didn’t want it repeated.

Her other jewellery aims to buck convention, and Cepoi purposefully designs to avoid traditional designs and make pieces that she hopes to appeal to independent women. For her, each ring and design is a small architecture project.

Cepoi is simply attracted to designing and ordering colours and shapes, she said.

“Some people talk better, I draw,” she said. “I speak with an accent but I never draw with an accent.”

The aim is to delight whoever is looking at the piece, she said. “People say that it’s craft or handicraft. Not that I hate this word, ‘craft,’ but my art is not craft. It’s a totally different thing,” she said, attributing the difference to techniques at play and the quality of work.

Ultimately, she said she saw her creative output as loosening the limits of her professional architecture career to design pieces on a smaller and freer scale.

“Doing what you love is freedom, and loving what you do is happiness,” she said. “I am so free.”