Friday, 4 February 2011

Friday featuring Mona Piffpaff

I have wanted to start doing a little interview feature on my blog for so long now and its finally getting there. I have an innate passion for asking questions. Some people have said that they have felt like they were under interrogation on first meeting but I think that is a little extreme. I like to describe it as 'interested'. I like finding out about people (amongst other things), what they do, their passions, what makes them tick and what doesn't. Those people can be artists, musicians, researchers, disabled, students, fashionista's, pipefitters, cleaners, surgeons, trend setters, film makers, dreamers, searchers, seekers and I think you get it! i'm interested in people and what they have to say.......and see the world through their eyes, for a moment.

I will begin my first little Friday feature with Mona Piffpaff.

I spent an afternoon on the beach with Mona (which all seems like a distance memory now!) and asked her some questions. I'd like to be sitting on that beach with her again soon :)

A short introduction.

Name: My name is Mona. Mona Souli, but mainly Piffpaff. You do the maths!

Age: 25

Born: Munich

Living in: Barcelona

Occupation: Photographer, film director, survivor.

Studying: Sociology (former studies: cinematography, journalism)

Eye Colour: Brown, like Deer

Here we go......

I will begin on a serious note and ask the thought provoking ones. I like to ask people what their hopes, fears and dreams are in their life.


What do you hope for (in your life)?

To have enough money not to worry about things. To be comfortable with what I have. The last little bit is to become famous and appreciated for my films and photography work.

I think this is definitely possible as I have seen some of her work (photography) and it's pretty good.


What do you fear?

Flying and sharks.

Plane and simple.


A Dream of yours?

To be able to fall asleep before the take off of EVERY flight I’m on.

What makes you cry?

Films. I can absorb a film more than real life. Oh, and myself at times of course!

Mona laughs...

When was the last time you cried?

I’d cry again if i told you now.

Then Mona enlightens us a little snippet “ It was flying back from Berlin, hence a drunken fear tear, which was wiped away by Simon”

What traits do you dislike in people?

People who generalise.

Patronising people.

Someone who thinks they have worked me out (know me) when they actually know f*** all about me.

Guys who only put their thumbs in their pockets (and the rest of the hand is hanging out ).

Oh my goodness I share these views, too. One of the most annoying things in the world are people that think they know you and they actually know nothing at all. I’m with Mona all the way on this one.

Traits that you like in people?

Sarcasm, intuition, hidden sides without showing them, people who are intrigued (thats me, I know now that Mona likes me......!!!), and people who are interested in knowing more.

I just thought I would repeat the last point as its such a good one and its nice to say the same thing twice but in different ways sometimes!!!

What is your favourite food?

Dinkelcrunchies from DM in Munich.

They are basically like Jordan’s crispy crunch for anyone wondering.

Your favourite films?

Old Boy, Donnie Darko, Himmel ├╝ber Berlin, Metropolis, Fargo, Mystery Train, Dolls, Happiness, Delicatessen….

This list could look different at times, depending on my mood swings!

Mona laughs...

She laughs a lot.

What do you like taking pictures of the most?

I like taking pictures in peculiar situations and of people, who represent certain "fields" TO ME, like simplicity, boredom, excitement or people who just happen to cross my way and manage to create an interesting scenery I want to capture. I like taking pictures of situations I’d like to put a "frame around".

I love taking pictures of objects that I would like to emphasize the detail of. This is probably one of the biggest challenges of photography to me.

Biggest Achievement?

Apart from loads of EPIC things on the side I would say I am still working on it… I am modest when it comes to my amazingness!

Where would you really like to visit and why?

New York. Its an unimaginable fantasy. It's a Peter Pan world to me and I hope to make it there in 2011. I am also going to Sweden on a set-research soon. It is still one of the most photogenic places in the world to me!

Australia. Width of the country, animals, coast, surfing, vegimite. No history whatsoever.

6 Things I like about Mona

She is thoughtful.

She makes me laugh.

Doesn’t suffer fools.

Great friend.

Great taste in music.

We often don’t need to verbalise, as we are thinking the same :)

5 things I dislike about her

She has a balcony, I’m jealous.

She has an amazing amount of tee shirts.

She is funnier than me.

She has an amazing cat. I LOVE Gunst.

She has loads and loads of shoes.

What about your film work, Mona?

I am a slowly progressing film director. I have been spending almost one year writing my latest script and am just about to finish it now… Apart from a large amount of written scripts I will make 2011 the year of filming and producing!

Other projects in the past can always be handed over to people who are intrigued… I am currently planning a film display night with a collection of some of the projects I am proud of. Stay tunnnned!

Oh, what is the last script about?

I won't share too much information with you, but it is mainly about memories and what happens with them after people pass away.

Any plans for your photography? Exhibitions or new projects?

Oh, yes! I am going to have my own exhibition in a gallery in Poble Nou/Barcelona in a couple of months.

Apart from that I still find myself treating the topic "La fotografia de la fotografia". Its name basically describes what that could be more or less.

Seeing that I have done many small photography projects in 2010 and the years before I feel ready to get into my films this year!

Any website recommendations?

You are German and living in Barcelona, Spain, which languages do you actually speak?

I speak German, Italian, Spanish, English and Swedish. Last but not least catalan, the farmerstyle of it.

Isn't she clever? I'm always amazed by this fact, and they do come in handy.

I feel like I am a little more enlightened about Mona and her passions, what makes her tick toc and what inspires her. Is there anything else that you would like to know? Drop her a line.

If you want to contact Mona you can do so by mailing: and if you want to see her portfolio check out

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Karina's bags'

I want to share Karina's bags' with you today. These beautiful creations are the very inspiring handywork of designer/maker Karina (suprise, its all in the name!) from Newcastle Upon Tyne. She handcrafts every handbag individually with her own fair hands, from cut to finish, and uses original English leather on the bags. The trimmings and hardware are vintage, some fittings date back to 1910. The handbags are often embellished with stamps, travel decals, vintage scarves, leather flowers and bows.

Vintage Scarf detail.

In a time where there is so much 'throw away' fashion and handbags that can be bought for such low cost prices only to be discarded a few months later. I personally crave something that will stand the test of time and has a little charm and history. Mass production often leads to boredom and a desire for something else after a few weeks. If you buy quality in the first place I think there is a tendency to appreciate the item a little more. This is personal of course. I love pieces that have been thought about and especially those that have been handcrafted and inspired by designers from years past.

Karina, takes inspiration by looking at an eclectic mix of designers and artists as well as from travelling and picking up vintage trimmings. This inspiration can certainly be seen in her bags and the sheer volume of handbags and the difference in their designs and embellishments is extraordinary. Have a look at Karina's bags' flickr to see a lot more of her fabulous designs.

With real attention to detail they really are a work of art and a pleasure to have on your shoulder. I know as I own one (pictured below) and I always feel a little bit special when I use it! I always get comments when I use my bag and I think it's not only because it stands out in its design but because you can see the quality in the design too.

My Beautiful handbag

I love this bag and all it's detail.

Lined with pink leather.

What I really like about the bags is that they are very sturdy and spacious, so I can throw all my bits and bobs in there. The inside of the bags are lined with heavier hide so the stress is placed on the inside. They are one off's and limited editions (max. 5 in different colours).

New Collection
Here is some of the new collection of handbags, all available in other colours.
Check the link below the bags for other colours, designs and information.

Softest lamb nappa hand pleated to make a slightly barrel shaped bag.
Available in donkey brown, chestnut and dove grey (with a pinkish tint)

Isn't this lovely?
Beautiful saddle tan leather handbag.

Made of the softest lamb nappa,
which is then woven by hand to give it a cross hatched effect.
Available in chestnut or a pale olive/pistachio green.

Forest green satchel inspired bag.
Also, comes in scarlet red and traditional saddle tan.

Spacious shopper or roomy laptop bag.
Made of antiqued british leather hides with two extendable brass buckles.
Embellished with vintage travel decals.

Everyone needs a little bit of tartan in their life.
This bag is a combination or pure wool tartan and glazed leather.

Karina's obsession for design and making is truly amazing. For someone who began making items at the age of 6 her passion has continued and never stopped. With a long history of designing and making for labels in London at a young age, she went onto setting up her own label 'Arrivee Peau' in 1982 selling to various Independent boutiques, a section in Fenwicks in Newcastle and began exporting. This came to an end when she gave birth to her second child but her obsession with making has never disappeared and in this period she continued to be inspired and researching technical skills.

In 2007 Karina handcrafted her first collection of handbags. What I find really magnificent is that she only designed her first handbag a few years ago and it was only because a friend had asked her to make one for her, for a high society wedding. Having never made a handbag until this point she soon realised it was a natural forte and has never looked back. It's funny how things happen like this sometimes. At the age of 53, Karina stepped back into the fashion arena and proves that you can do anything at any age you just need to go for it! Not only is her handcrafting skills inspiring, but she is a huge inspiration too, having learned new skills to bring Karina's bags' into the virtual arena too and allowing not only the UK but the world see her beautiful creations.

Here are a few you can pick up for bargain prices!
There are more designs and colours on the sale section of the website.

Scarlet red leather bag with red suede lining.
A bargain at £100

Look at this beautiful little clutch bag, made from suede, leather and exotic skins.
A steal at only £50

Clutch bag made with a variety of different leathers.
Again, a bargain at £50.

One of my favourites.

Suede with amazing feather detail.

Keep checking Karina's bags website for her latest updates, events and 'bag of the week'. There are offers on the site and sometimes discounts so keep an eye out. Karina's first love is designing and making clothing and intends to re-launch a limited edition range of clothing. I will certainly be looking out for that.
You can contact Karina on:
0191 276 5109

Check out the website:
Facebook Group Karina Hesketh
More Information: Handbag Designer 101

All the photos that I have used (apart from my bag) within this article are copyright of Karina's bags.