Petra has been a delight to have in our BK analogue community not only with her whimsical and inspiring art but also as an ambassador of our friend Desiree of Cafe Analog! Her love for all things analogue and her beautiful creative spirit are truly infectious :) We hope you enjoy learning more about her in this interview!
Baum-kuchen: How would you introduce yourself when meeting someone for the first time? What would you like them to know about you?
Petra: As an introvert, I find this question quite tricky! :)
My introductions are most often short and do not reveal much at first, while at the same time I do have the desire to share and connect, especially with fellow creatives! The analogue loving community has filled that void I have felt in my life and has done so in the most gentle way so I feel encouraged to share more and feel more free to express my true self than ever before. With that sentiment in mind, here it goes!
Hi, my name is Petra and the place where you can see me being most free and myself is my desk. That is where I dream, where I create, recuperate, write, process, paint, design, unwind, make friends, write letters…that is where I make time for me. When is that time for me? When there isn’t a need to make time for others like my full time job, my family, my friends, my home… Mostly, in the stolen minutes of the day, when our home is quiet, with everyone in dreamland and myself in my own, serene headspace.
I’m also a grateful mom to a sweet 4 year old boy and have an amazing guy to call my best friend and husband. On weekends I like to relax and sometimes even couch surf because my brain needs it.
I honestly adore pastries and coffee; could live off that stuff.
My whole life I have struggled with self-image and a few extra pounds. I can easily say I’m still in the process of learning to be gentle to my body (and mind) and respect it and nurture it in a kind way.
Sometimes I feel like my creative space is somewhere to run to when I don’t have the energy or willpower to confront my worries, fears and hurts, but at the same time it is a place where I work through those same things and find growth, closure and peace.
I love stationery, journals, and creative tools a tad too much. :)
Baum-kuchen: How did your passion for analogue start?
Petra: I can still remember my 17th birthday and my dear friend Andrea knocking at my door with a birthday gift in her hands. It was a pocket sized six ring planner. We were nearing the end of our high school years she thought a planner could come in handy to keep track of test, college applications, obligations and social events of course! I had no idea where to go with it, but Andrea had insight in this whole wonderful world of planners, planner stickers, inserts, colorful jelly pens and the joys of not only keeping a planner book and journal, but the joys of it being also a creative outlet.
Our style was all over the place and brought so much joy! It was fun and colorful, too bright and too loud, filled with quotes of songs we loved or danced to with our crushes, secret codes on certain days that marked some events and only we knew what it meant. And that was it, I was hooked! A planner or journal has never left my bag since then, even though my style and preferences evolved. From the sweet style of Blue Bear and kawaii type of characters falling out of my every page and tipped-in, to a minimal Moleskine pocket book in my college years, to a Filofax style planner during my pregnancy, and as of most recent a Traveler’s notebook – my sweet spot.
Baum-kuchen: You have so many different talents such as designing tapes, carving stamps, and painting to name a few! Would you share a little bit about your background?
Petra: The first thing that comes to mind is my college education. I studied to be a kindergarten teacher. Among other classes, art was mandatory and took a big chunk of our curriculum. I had the honor of having a great teacher, not in a way that she taught us multiple techniques (she did, but that wasn’t the focus) but she taught me to love art and to enjoy the process of creating, getting lost in making, expressing myself and not being afraid of failing as long as what I was doing was fun and felt right.
Didn’t we all do that as kids? We painted our little arms off! We didn’t care if our fire engine looked nothing like the real thing. We just painted it! Those colors don’t match? Who cares, just put more blobs of paint on the paper to make it extra colorful and express what we are feeling while doing it.
I can’t remember how many times during her class I was so surprised the bell rang and we had to leave for the day. And how many times I took the project home to continue working on it until late at night because I just couldn’t stop. She taught me to find joy in the creative process and exploration and for that I will be forever grateful. I try to preserve this kind of creative practice every time I sit at my desk, being that to journal, paint, carve stamps, dream up a new design or just glue some paper onto paper. When I take a look at my watch and see it’s 1am and I don’t know where the time went, I know I did something right. :)
Baum-kuchen: What is your favorite analogue project from the past?
Petra: The Hydrangea rubber stamp set! Absolutely no doubt about it.
I clearly remember the day I sketched the initial design. I had just put my then 1 year old son down for a nap. He was reluctant to nap alone even at that age as he enjoyed sensing my body next to his while sleeping so I often just napped along with him, as a welcome break in the day and some snuggle time. But that afternoon I was so wired. I was feeling I need time for myself; I need to do something, create something, just for me. And this idea jumped in my mind while he was drifting away, something regarding pressed hydrangeas I kept for some reason. I knew I wanted to draw them because they always looked so pretty to me and then it dawned on me – they could be carved into such fun stamps!
So, in many calculated ninja moves I snuck out of bed, ran to my desk and started drawing. They were done in an instant, at least that’s what it felt like for me. I sent a photo of the sketch to a friend and she agreed with me that I’m onto something there. I grabbed my Pfeil carving tool later that day and the first prototype was done. Some time passed and then an amazing opportunity to machine produce the Hydrangea sets in larger quantities and sell them through her shop Cafe Analog was offered to me by Desiree. Seeing them reach places all over the world and being loved by many makes my heart all fuzzy and so grateful for having a friend and a supporter in Desiree in so many collaborations! But the Hydrangea set was our first one and holds a special place in my heart. :)
Baum-kuchen: Where do you seek out for your inspiration?
Petra: These days, with modern technologies being so convenient, having the world of information at the palm of our hands, Instagram, Pinterest, and all the other resources on so many platforms, I feel it’s easier than ever to find inspiration but easier than ever to get stuck in a creative block from being so overwhelmed.
I do scroll, I do get inspired and I do get blocked, creatively and otherwise. Then I remind myself to just try and be more mindful, stop scrolling inattentively and return to the sources of inspiration that feel more natural to me. I go on walks, observe the nature around me, look at the bugs, the filed flowers, the ornaments on an old embroidered kitchen towel from someone’s grandma, saved photos or screenshots of folk art, naïve art, surface pattern designs, architecture, things I found beautiful… And then I go to bed. :)
I like sleeping on my ideas, especially when tucking my son in for bed and when I finish telling him another made up story about magical worlds and magical creatures. As the story is ongoing in his head while he’s drifting to sleep, it’s also ongoing in mine, with all the magical forests, creatures and elements twirling around in my mind's eye while I try to snapshot them and file away in the creative ideas folder.
Those are my favorite moments of inspiration.
Baum-kuchen: What is your favorite new to you analogue artifact lately?
Petra: I am so in love with everything The Superior Labor. I live in several of their artifacts and find tremendous joy in every moment of using them.
The craftsmanship and care put into ever single tool is so visible and tangible and my appreciation towards such items in my life has grown so much over the years. I find myself seeking not only beauty in the items I use daily, but the quality aspect and in which way they can enrich my every day also plays a great role. I have found all that in TSL products and am very happy about it!
For this past year I have happily moved into a TSL pen roll for watercolor supplies, pen and wallet case for my fountain pens, utility leather case for my carving tools and a the 2-way backpacker as my everyday carry. I am very fortunate to be able to use, love and live in those analogue artifacts daily and see them change and grow along with me with every use.
Baum-kuchen: What is your EDC (everyday carry)?
Pera: It’s an Olive Traveler’s notebook that has been through the BK TrulyYours customization process and I love it to pieces! It has a wallet zip insert sewn in the front with the Hoover embossing and a secretarial pocket in the back of the cover, along with some beautiful BK rivets. The front wallet pocket holds some cash for on the go, inside there is a TRC leather wallet insert that holds some of my cards and papers, and then the Jiyu Planner insert I occasionally use as my gratitude journal tucked in the middle.
I enjoy using a Traveler’s Notebook as a wallet and as an EDC. I believe analogue artifacts are a positive reminder of everything creative, liberating and deeply personal in my life. So, with that said, I believe that something as personal as a wallet carried along with my journal also represent those sentiments. In everyday situations it's comforting to know that our analogue tools are here - lived in, used, loved, they carry memories and remind us of our deeper connection to ourselves.
Baum-kuchen: Your journals are lovely! Do you have a daily ritual? What is your process?
Petra: Absolutely no daily ritual and no set process. :) The rule is there are no rules!
For example, as I write this, I have not touched my journals or creative tools for about a week. And it's OK! It’s just a season in my life and I’m experiencing something that uses up all my energy. Consequently, I have none to pour into creativity and it feels like creativity is not recharging me. Going on a run or a long walk recharges me these days. And I will respect that. These seasons change and shift from time to time and I’m still learning to honor them and listen to what my heart, mind and body desire at a particular moment. One day soon I will sit down at my desk and journal for 3 hours straight, carve a bunch of stamps or paint a garden or a cat :) Until that moment comes, I will keep listening in to my mind’s cues and have my desk at ready.
Baum-kuchen: If you were cast away on a deserted island and if you could only take one analogue tool, what would that be?
Petra: This is such a tough question and I refuse to answer! :D Ha ha, just kidding but I have no idea! Can I cheat and take like a big pouch and stuff a lot of thing in there? Like a TN with multiple types of paper inserts, some washi tapes, a glue stick, ephemera, some stamps, ink pads, a few of my favorite fountain pens and inks, a couple of stickers…
I’m far from a minimalist when it comes to my craft supplies, tools, and journals so this is an impossible choice for me. But, if I were really in a pinch where I had just one tool to allow me to be creative, I think that would have to be a simple HB pencil. But can I chose a nice paper with it, and a good non-smudging eraser please? :D
Baum-kuchen: What is your favorite quote or words you live by?
Petra: "Loose lips sink ships." I know, there are many different interpretations and, of course, the origin of that quote but here’s what I mean when I use it:
Before speaking, be mindful. Is it what you are about to form into words something that is kind? Is it coming from a gentle place? Is it constructive? Does it bring good or could it possibly cause hurt? Is it truthful? Is it being manifested into words to help you or the one receiving the message?
I could go on, but I think this relays the sentiment. I am in no illusion that I live by this quote in every moment, but I do make a conscious effort to remind myself of it, especially in occasions that demand my reaction, full attention, kindness, love and support.
It has also helped me learn a lot about myself and recognize things I should work on, especially what and why I often leave some stuff unsaid.
Where to find Petra:
Youtube: Petra Brčić
Bk Artifacts Mentioned or featured:
I loved this story. Petra is so talented and such a kind member of the journaling community. She shares her knowledge always and is never to busy to answer an enquiry. She is so talented and always an inspiration to me. I love her carved stamps and her imaginative mind. She is always creating! As a watercolour artist myself I really appreciate everything she does.
I am cleaning up my IG accounts & found you via Petra & I really like this session the 2 of you posted & glad you carry some of gorgeous pieces!