Handcrafted Alexandria

Featured Artists: Bozenna and Lukasz Bogucki

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Husband and Wife Design Team Hit High Notes with Their "Opera Collection"

Meet May's Featured Artists, Bozenna and Lukasz Bogucki, courtesy of HA member Imagine Artwear.

The husband and wife design team first met as students at the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw, Poland, but went their separate ways post-graduation, only to meet up again 20 years later.

After several years of designing exhibits and trade fairs, Bozenna established her own successful interior and graphic design studio in Warsaw while remaining active as an artist of oil and pastel paintings, drawings and tapestries. Always drawn to fabrics, fashion and uniquely designed textiles, she collected even the tiniest pieces of fabric and created decorative, large scale wall hangings as well as miniature works. Bozenna produced several haute couture shows, in which she transformed artistic patchwork into unique clothing or translated motifs from her paintings into appliqués on evening dresses. Her work has also been exhibited at galleries in Europe, Japan and the United States.

Lukasz also started by designing exhibits for trade fairs, and working as an interior designer in Poland, but in 1980 left for the U.S. Following a brief stint at a nuclear power plant (wow!), he returned to interior design and began designing lamps. During the subsequent years, he designed, manufactured and marketed unique lamps made of paper-like material, fiberglass, metal and stainless steel wire mesh.

After reconnecting and getting married in 1996, Bozenna and Lukasz became design partners based in Los Angeles. In the summer of 2000, while working on their next line of lamps, the Boguckis were inspired by the fine silk-like wire mesh normally used for industrial purposes to create something innovative and unexpected: elegant evening handbags.

purse imageTo adapt the stainless steel wire mesh to make delicate handbags was not an easy task. The Boguckis had to develop their own techniques by experimenting with this demanding material and learning its behavior and properties. After several years of exploring, they discovered new applications and methods to achieve unique effects that bring them joy and creative satisfaction.

The Boguckis call their line of handbags, “The Opera Collection.” This exclusive collection consists of more than 60 models named after famous operas -- though the combination of models and finishes offers more than 2500 variations. Several grades of stainless steel wire mesh are used, including a fine one with the appearance and feel of silk to a rigid one that serves primarily as support. Adding color accents are 23K gold leaf, copper or brass mesh. In addition, special effects are achieved by various treatments utilizing ultrasounds, oxidization by high temperature and pressure. In most models, multiple layers of mesh are used to create a moiré effect. All work from design to the finishing touches is done in their L.A. workshop.

Offering the best in contemporary clothing, jewelry and crafts by American artists, Imagine Artwear carries several handbags from the "Opera" line. Come by the store to see these works of art and fashion, which have also been featured at the Smithsonian Craft Show.

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