There’s No Time to be Bored in This Industry
Industrial designer and ceramics technician, Malgorzata Petelicka, keeps her eyes and her mind wide open for creative epiphanies. Inspired by everything from nature to ancient civilizations and new technologies, she designs bathroom fixtures, furniture, accessories, and children’s products that delight the senses while satisfying a host of practical needs.
What are some surprising places you look for inspiration?
Everything can be an inspiration. For me, nature is particularly inspiring, that is the textures, forms, and shapes it creates, from organic to geometric and sometimes even abstract ones. My imagination is also stimulated by the legacy of ancient civilizations – their art, architecture, ornaments, and details. I’m very impressed with their achievements, grandeur, and aesthetic sense. Nature, people, emotions, and places are an endless source of inspiration – the only thing you need to do is delve into it, watch, and notice.
What do you feel is the biggest block to your creativity?
Sometimes, I’m afraid of burnout from designing the same type of products. I try to intermingle several different projects to avoid boredom. It opens up my mind, finding inspiration in unexpected places and situations. That’s why I love this profession. It allows you to design products that represent completely different areas of life. There’s no time to be bored.
Any advice to offer creatives who are looking for more happiness in their day-to-day?
In this profession, as in many others, you must be stubborn and pursue your goal. You should create your own unique style, find a design area where you feel comfortable, and act professional at all times.
Luck is also very important. Sometimes, you just need to be in the right place at the right time. My advice is: use your five minutes to the max if it comes along.
What was the last new thing you learned? Do you believe it’s important to continually educate yourself throughout life?
The ongoing year has shown us how much the world can change in a short time. We can’t be sure of anything. People have to constantly enrich their knowledge, broaden their horizons, and keep up with current trends, because we never know what may happen to us. I think designers in particular ought to expand their knowledge. Being able to observe, learn from experts, monitor trends, or analyze ongoing tendencies is an inseparable part of a designer’s job. Designers develop and learn every day.
Where do you think the design industry still has room to grow?
Many industrial sectors need designers’ support. Designing is mainly associated with styling, the aesthetic value of a product. However, designing a product is not confined to its appearance. It is connected with market analysis, function, comfort, ergonomics, shelf-life, and length of service. The manufacturing process, waste reduction, and use of relevant resources are also part of a designing process. All of the above affect our lives and our future.
Through new technologies, climate and socio-cultural changes, and the needs and problems of our civilization and the world, the world’s constantly changing and going forward. Designers try to stay one step ahead. There’s always something to do.
Who do you feel you have learned the most from, so far in your career?
It’s hard to single out one. There are several people who have significantly influenced my professional career.
Janusz Kaniewski is an outstanding Polish designer from whom I could learn and develop my skills during my internship with his design studio. I really liked his unusual approach to working on projects, including a a collection of bathroom furniture. It was a very important moment for me as it set my professional career in motion.
I also learned a great deal during my studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Łódź. Each of my irreplaceable lecturers shaped my skills and developed my creativity. They were always eager to make corrections and analyze. They praised and criticized. It was a truly priceless and unforgettable time in my life.
Finally, my professional career….I mustn’t forget to mention a person I met in my first job, an incredibly wise and talented designer, who gave me a chance and showed me the ropes. She taught me a lot, but most of all, she allowed me to expand my horizons. She was and still is my mentor, and it was thanks to her that I ventured into such a demanding and responsible field as designing for children, thank you very much for that.
What lesson do you wish you had learned sooner/more easily?
I guess self-confidence and faith in my own abilities. Although, I think you acquire those gradually as you get older. Maybe if I had been able to develop those skills earlier and faster, I wouldn’t have a sense of missed opportunities now. I think though that, apparently, it was meant to be.
Does creativity ”strike” you? Or is it more of a deliberate process?
Well, it varies. Creativity is a bit like a rollercoaster.
Sometimes inspiration comes quickly and out of nowhere, and sometimes searching for ideas takes ages. There are even moments of creative ”powerlessness.” When they come along, you have to wait them out and take a deep breath. Forcing yourself to do things is unlikely to bring good results, whereas a moment of rest and relaxation reinvigorates the mind and makes you perform twice as creatively.
Have you ever had a total ”crash and burn” project? If so, what did you learn from the process?
I can only think of one such project, a very important one for me, as it later turned out. It was only partly a ”crash and burn” project, though.
It was a college assignment to design a lamp. Unfortunately, the lecturer didn’t like my idea and tried very hard to talk me out of doing it. It later transpired that the project in question won an important competition which significantly influenced my future. This proves that you mustn’t give in easily, particularly if you feel your idea is good. Stubbornness pays off.