A Maker’s Short Story

Handmade brass bracelet 
Mr. Octavian Lazăr is a Romanian who makes art jewellery of brass. “I make everything by hammer. I am not a jeweller, I am an artist,” he says to another customer who has stopped by his stand. I was already with my hand on one bracelet and eyeing two other. I just happened to pass by a fair of crafts, design and locally made goods during the weekend and a glimpse was enough to make me stop and take a better look. We stroke up a conversation. I rarely shop jewellery these days. Heck, I rarely shop these days. I am fed up with the products in the stores – they are just about the same, with different labels. Who buys all that stuff? Why so much waste? Who wants to look like the rest of the world? And, with jewellery, that’s really something I like to take my time with, look for it, find the story behind it, make my own story with it. A note of true style. It was a lucky day. Each piece of Octavian Lazăr’s jewellery is crafted by his own hands, each one is unique, each one a piece of beauty. “How do you clean it?” asks the lady next to me. “You don’t”, he answers categorically, “it acquires a special polish in time, with wear, that’s the beauty of it.”

My interest was first drawn by this cuff that had some engineering stuff engraved on it. “I like to make fun of engineers,” Mr. Lazăr tells me. “I studied engineering, too, but I have been an artist all my life.” I pick another cuff, this time engraved with a beautiful, delicate design of a bird in flight. I already know it will be difficult to choose and, to make things even harder, Mr. Lazăr points to a bunch of brass rectangles carved with different designs. “These are cuffs, too, but they are not curved yet. They can be used as book signs as they are,” he says. “But who reads paper books these days?” he asks after a short pause. The man speaks my language. “I do,” I say. And we keep talking. He loves books, he has so many that he has started to donate some of them. “I don’t have where to keep them anymore and I don’t like to store them away in boxes. They should be read and enjoyed by others.”

In the meanwhile, I keep trying on the items (there are necklaces and rings, too, but I only wear bracelets apart from my watch). And I finally lay my eyes on my soon to be purchase. A knotted bracelet. This is it. It’s raw, it has personality. Mr. Lazăr approves, I put it on, he adjusts it on my wrist. “Can you tell me your name, Sir?” I ask. “Here is my business card,” he says handing me one over, “but the name is a secret,” he continues jokingly. It’s not, it’s on the card. Octavian Lazăr, craftsman in brass. And quite a character, too. I leave with a smile on my face.

photo by me

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