The Detroit News:

Some 20 years ago, Russia-born Veronika Braslavsky was driven by her pursuit of freedom to leave St. Petersburg and start a new life in the United States where she could spread her wings as an artist.

While a student at Russia’s Muhina State College of Industrial Arts, from which she graduated in the late ’70s, Braslavsky designed a bottle and its packaging as a requirement for her undergraduate work. Her designs were purchased by one of Russia’s major perfume manufacturing companies, Northern Lights, and used for a perfume sold in Italy.

Braslavsky was later hired by the company as a graphic designer , creating promotional materials — books, brochures, posters and magazine covers. More graphic designing jobs would follow before she decided to leave Russia and settle in Oak Park.

“I came here because of a lot of reasons, including political reasons. I was looking for freedom,” says Braslavsky. “I’m an artist, and I would want to be free like an artist and not do what other people tell me to do. I never went back. All my family is here.”

Today she works as a fiber artist, specializing in designing garments made of felt. Braslavsky’s collection includes unstructured, free-flowing pieces that are lightweight, washable and wrinkle-free, making them perfect for travel. Prices range from $200 for a scarf to $750 for a long dress.