“Don’t you think that knowing what you want to do in your life from a very young is a gift?” That’s the question Katta recently asked in a blog post. She had met Miska, Gabika, Veronika, and Hanka, founders of Atelier 307. a creative studio that makes costume art and scenography. Based out of Slovakia, the four women have other jobs in addition to Atelier 307. Katta’s photographed the women in their studio and my oh my are they gorgeous. But its Katta’s questions and Atelier 307’s message that got me – they knew what they wanted to do from a young age and are doing it despite the fact that they have to work other and odd jobs or if their passion doesn’t pays the bills.
Miska, Gabika, Veronika, and Hanka were such an inspiration that I reached out to them to answer questions. Although there was a language barrier, the ladies kindly and willingly responded.
Atelier 307 was created by 4 members – Michaela Mokra, Gabriela Paschova, Veronika Keresztesova and Hana Ciglanova. We met each other at a university, an academy of performing arts in Bratislava, and we quickly became friends and decided to start a scenographic atelier.
I ( Michaela) always wanted to study some kind of art and it was during the last year of the high school that I decided to pursue stage and costume design. The big influence on me was my teacher of fine art, because she was studying stage and costume design, too. Gabika, Veronika and Hanka, they all were studying at vocational high schools specializing in different kinds of fine art. During high school, Gabika played in non-profesional theatre group, so after her final exams she decided that theatre academy her future. The same went for Veronika – because her high school was directly oriented for scenography, she decided to go after it. And Hanka was studing fashion and sewing, so you can see why she chose theatre costumes.
The main aim of us is to earn money by working only for theatre. I mean, its very very hard to live in Slovakia only from the work for theatre, even only from the stage and costume design jobs. So we realized, that together we are stronger and we are not competitors to each other.
Sometimes there is no difference. We sew ready-to-wear pieces that you can find in ordinary shop. But we mainly sew costumes because we (the costume designer) or director has a very specific idea of design of the costume, so its impossible to find it in the common thread. That’s the biggest difference – we have to adapt ready to wear clothes and common patterns that are used for home sewing to the requirements of the theatre (requirements of the director, requirements of the type of performance…). For excample, the last time we were sewing dance costumes, the choreographer wanted the costumes more posh, more sparkling, and we had to use fabric we would never use for casual wear. The cut of the dress was also too eccentric for casual wear.\
It depends if we have a job for theatre or not. If we have one, we usualy meet in my atelier (that you can see on the Katta´s photos) and sew. First we have to design the cut/silhouette of the costume and then we sew the prototype. After, we should try it on the actor and then we make the real costume.
But every day is different – we do different jobs all the time.