Meet Nora, owner and artist behind Acqua and Ink, an atelier focused on artistic and sustainable wedding stationery. Her work has a delicate, yet rich texture to it and is visibly led by storytelling. Their ability to commemorate monumental memories with such an intentional art form is quite beautiful. Getting to learn more from Nora about elevating design, while remaining sustainable and inclusive was eye opening and inspiring.
Without further ado, please welcome Nora.
Tell us about your journey. How did you arrive at becoming a fine art stationer?
I grew up in South America where I lived my childhood and college years. Having as an excuse a Master’s Degree I moved to Europe where I lived 5 years studying and working as an Architect in Barcelona briefly, and then Milano mostly and finally in Venice. This was my first long term solo journey, a beautiful time of my life. However, as I started questioning my path I started shifting my attention to purpose and wanted to find ways to work on social projects that would overlap voluntary work I was enjoying so much on weekends and my architecture background. Leaving Milano made sense and as I was preparing academically to work on Development Projects, the South East Asia tsunami hit in 2004, and I found myself interning with an Italian NGO building Emergency Shelters in Sri Lanka followed by landing my dream job with the United Nations as a staff in UNICEF building schools in remote locations of Sumatra (Indonesia). Without realizing it, 5 years quickly passed and this ambitious reconstruction project had successfully come to an end. I met my husband in Aceh while he was also working with the UN and we moved to California where we now live with our two daughters. In wanting to be 100% present in my daughter’s upbringing I reconnected with my artistic side and started Acqua & Ink.
What inspires your designs on a daily basis?
Being by trade an architect and artist I’m passion driven. I find inspiration from various sources, usually unexpected elements: opera, textures, shapes, light, shades, composition, proportions, spaces found in architecture, art and nature. I’m an avid art consumer and this is a lifeline for me. The desert energy and silence. Water will also help inspiration flow, the soothing sound and meditation that comes from the movement will bring all that’s inside to a place where that fluidity becomes tangible in the form of color and shapes. What inspires me daily, is my family. I find daily inspiration and strength on each one of them: my mother’s sharp intellectual mind and loyalty, my father’s artistic drive, my Italian grandparent’s courage and generosity, my grandfather Yoyo for his creative genius, my aunt’s commitment to the environment and human rights, my paternal family for their entrepreneurial force, my maternal family for their work ethics and honesty, my husband for his strategic vision, my K – family who adopted me in L.A. for their resilience.
How did you turn your passion for art into a business and a brand?
Acqua honors one of my family’s name: Bevilacqua, and it’s also an ode to the medium watercolor (acquarello) which allowed me to reconnect with my artistic side. Major changes happened in my life when my first daughter was born: non – stop traveling, profession and speed gave space to motherhood and art. My time was no longer 100% mine and the search to express myself meant shifting to smaller scaled projects with shorter execution timelines. Inspired by Bauhaus’ concept of effectively leveling the old hierarchy of the arts and placing craftmanship on par with fine arts to elevate design for everyday life, I strive to offer a product that is highly tactile / abstract and artistic, unexpected elements that help evoke sensations. The brand has been developed around the connection between people and nature, elements and emotions, love and the feelings rooted in the power of the memory of love. Conceptually, I have explored ways to translate into paper emotions and sensations, elements associated with the five senses act as the medium for the experience of love, family roots and ‘self’, through the unconscious. Broadly “The Elements” was developed, evoking an emotional journey. Branched out from that central theme the series: ‘Nebbia’ evoking dreams, ‘Terra’ evoking strength- foundations – a land – a future, ‘Fuoco’ symbol of Fire – driving force –evoking passion with untamed abandon, ‘Acqua’ symbol of emotions – water which connects us all, it’s essential for our survival and it is also thought as a place, a sanctuary. Water tells stories of what we long for universally, just like love. I love how empowering it feels to be a creative business owner and to have designed every element from the ground up: a product, my own brand visuals, concept and story, web page.
What does a day-in-the-work-life of Nora look like?
Busy! Design problem solving, lots of daydreaming planning new projects and how to get there. Manual prototyping. Painting: I try to sneak in watercolor sessions to just let the water and energy flow and contribute slowly to a larger body of work I’m currently working on, which is divided in series and it’s rooted on environmental commentary. Plenty of client work, branding design.
Do you have any daily rituals at home that bring you solace?
I love swimming, the light reflected in the water and the silence is regenerating. Walks on the beach, visits to art galleries and iconic architecture. At home I love to cook with my daughters.