Do you have a love for Art/Craft?
“I’ve always been a crafty person, I was born with it but I began to nurture those skills in primary school. I entered art competitions and attended summer art camps. I have grown artistically since then,” says Ilka about her love for art. “I really love craft, I love working with my hands and this is something I do to lift my spirit.”
How did the jewelry line begin?
“Well I’ve always been an earthy person, never liked wearing metallic and seeing that the jewelry that I favor is so hard to find unless you’re in the Caribbean or an African country, I began to make my own. I noticed later on that I wasn’t the only one who liked that type of jewelry and it began there. The materials that I use are found in nature; thread, wooden beads, ceramics and so are many of the colors.”
What was your inspiration for the pieces that you have created?
“Nature, it’s all about Nature. And the line reflects me as a person, like I said I’m a very earthy person, very natural and serene, I believe that I owe it to Anguilla for being this way. My inspiration for the pieces comes from different scenes and seasons that I’ve experienced in Anguilla while growing up; from the ocean, to the sand, trees and sun. The pieces that I create may also reflect how I might be feeling at that particular time, so it’s very personal as well.”
What future plans do you have for the line?
“Hmmm I have many plans [laughs]. Of course the jewelry line will grow as the days go by but if the Most High spares my life by February 2009 Empress Designz will formally include a clothing line. I already have many of the designs done and I have a few sample T shirts out but I want to take my time with it,” Ilka replies, “After the female line I hope to include a line for males and it wouldn’t be titled Empress Designz of course.”
Have you faced any obstacles with the line as yet?
“I will have to say no, though I’ve experienced many diversions which occurred for the greater good. I have enough support to keep me motivated. I know it’s not easy, there’s a lot of tough criticism and people who don't wish me well but I’m the type of person who see it as a part of life and move on.”