In an effort to support vulnerable artists, particularly those from diverse cultural backgrounds, the Art is Us provided an extra opportunity for Art is Us learners to submit their creative ideas and gain access to mentoring support in order to bring their creative ideas to life as prototypes with the potential for commercialization.

This extra opportunity was created for individuals coming from different countries and cultures to Slovenia to submit socially and environmentally aware creative ideas. Submitted ideas were expected to possess a cultural dimension, serving as a medium for intercultural dialogue and understanding.

The primary objective was to promote innovative concepts that drew upon the unique perspectives and creativity of individuals from varied cultural backgrounds, facilitating a meaningful exchange of values and establishing a dialogue between the culture of origin of the artists and the new culture. By harnessing the creativity of individuals from different cultures, the initiative aimed to encourage the development of ideas that bridged cultural gaps, fostered mutual enrichment, and contributed to the overall innovation ecosystem in Slovenia.

This initiative was made possible through the collaboration of APIS Institute and the newly established Rog Centre, previously known as RogLab Creative Hub, who received the EUROCITIES award for outstanding achievements in the field of activities enhancing the quality of life of citizens in the Innovation category.

The mentoring process was tailored to accommodate the individual pace and needs of the participants, allowing them to receive personalized guidance and assistance throughout their creative journey. By providing this support, Art is Us aimed to empower learners and foster the development of their innovative ideas into tangible products ready for sale.

 Maribel Briceño – Scented Ceramic Pendulum: “Close to You – Porte parfum”

Esperanza Maribel Briceno Rafeca is a visual artist and a graduate of the Arturo Michelena School of Plastic Arts. In 2020 she moved to Slovenia where she wishes to continue her artistic career.

She was born in Venezuela, in an industrial town of Bejuma.

After completing a three-year technical specialization program and working in the automotive industry for 15 years in Valencia, Maribel decided to retire one day to pursue her dreams of studying visual arts and being the best in her class. In 2012 and 2015, Maribel held two solo exhibitions on Isla de Margarita in Venezuela, where she lived. Between 2010 and 2019, she taught painting and drawing to a large number of children, teenagers, and adults.

Since January 2020, Esperanza Maribel Briceno Rafeca has been living in Slovenia as part of a group of repatriated citizens who came from Venezuela. Her husband is Slovenian.

Scented Wearable Ceramic Pendulum: “Close to You – Blizu sebe – Porte parfum”

Esperanza Maribel Briceno Rafeca’s Scented Wearable Ceramic Pendulum idea got selected through an open hackathon call that was published by Art is Us project. Maribel was granted mentorship from Center Rog and Rok Oblak, a ceramics designer, following her award to aid in the production process.

They began with a plan to slip cast the pendant using a mold. Center Rog’s mentor created a 3D model of the pendant based on Maribel’s model. From this model, they created two molds – for the pendant body and its hook.

They poured porcelain into the molds, glued the two parts together, fired it, and then applied a glaze in three colors: red, yellow, and blue. Special boxes were created for glazing, and the final product was fired again. Even though the pendant is casted, a lot of handwork is needed to achieve the final shape.

The team also designed the packaging with the help of Center Rog and wrote the accompanying instructions for use. The final product comes with the metal necklace and is ready to hit the market shells!

Olga Senatorova Tisler – Zero Waste Nomadic Living Room

Olga Senatorova Tisler, a creative artist and maker from Kazakhstan, has relocated to Slovenia, bringing with her a vision to exchange knowledge and promote cultural dialogue through her art.

Within the Art is Us project, she submitted a project idea which would draw culture and bring elements of the nomadic lifestyle from Kazakhstan to Slovenia. Recycling and ecology are also key components of her project, as she intends to use materials that were previously of no use and transform them into something new – specifically, a Kazakh living space under shanyrak of a yurt. To bring her vision to life, Olga has collaborated with two mentors: Alja Drame designer and owner of the WearCrap, whose main focus is to rather use than just produce new clothes. and Tomo Perr, a technician from RogLab. With the help of these mentors, Olga has successfully crafted a Kazakh living room featuring traditional Kazakh and Slovenian patterns, a light fixture crafted from an old knitted shawl, and a chapan made from old clothes, all adorned with a dialogue of traditional patterns of Kazakhstan and Slovenia.


Photos of the process, Nino Bektashashivili

Zero Waste Nomadic Living Room

The purpose of Olga’s living room was to show that beautiful and practical things can be created out of things that we intend to throw away: “Although it is not a new concept, I wanted to make the project more interesting and show that you can express your ideas, visions, and beliefs through art. Therefore, I connected my beloved Kazakhstan with my new home country, Slovenia. I intend to continue this project through my collections and workshops.


Kөрпе-korpeshka pillows are thrown onto the carpets for easier sitting on the floor in yurta. All of them are made of second-hand materials such as jeans and projects’ leftovers, including zippers for pillows’ filling. We went in a zero-waste direction and proved that it is also possible in the textile industry. Although the initial intention was to use only Slovenian and Kazakh flag colors, there were too many other colors and textures to ignore. We changed our minds, but you can still see the main idea of joining Slovenian and Kazakh ornaments on every item. Alja and I used industrial sewing machines and industrial overlocks, as well as domestic ones. Tomo used Adobe Illustrator to prepare the ornament files. After applying glue backing to the textile, Tomo used the laser cutter to cut them out, and then we all played with the heat press to apply all the ornaments.

Little carpets are made of old blankets and second-hand warm and thick material. Carpets are placed onto the floor in yurta to avoid sitting directly on the ground. In my room, they are placed around the center piece, the table.


The table is the centerpiece that connects people in this room for tea and relaxed chat. Since everyone in yurta sits on the floor, the table should be low. We used the old coffee table and also applied Kazakh and Slovene traditional ornaments. Tomo used the laser cutter to cut out the ornaments at the surface and then filled them with the remnants of the threads that we used during the project. We glued them and covered them with varnish spray.

The lamp is a necessary element, and we used an old lamp that was intended for the waste dump in our room. We had many ideas on how to remake it, but Alja found a wonderful old knitted shawl that turned the old lamp into a lady in red.


Chapan is a traditional Kazakh outerwear that is also widely used nowadays. Alja and I made the pattern and put it together. Slovenia and Kazakhstan are joined together in at least two ways in this chapan – through ornaments and through the colors of our flags. Blue, red, and white are for Slovenia, and light blue and golden are for Kazakhstan, which I had to change into blue and yellow due to the lack of needed colors. The idea of joining traditions of different countries and zero-waste intention has great potential, and I hope we succeeded in showing that.”