I grew up in the beautiful city of Caracas, Venezuela, alongside my mother, father and brother with the perfect blend of urban environment and nature.
The city is overlooked by the El Avila mountain range and is one of the things I miss most after moving to Brooklyn a little over six years ago to pursue my Master of Arts degree in Industrial Design at Pratt Institute. I fell in love with Brooklyn with its limitless accessibility and great diversity of people and culture, and here is where I also met my husband. I’m happy to say, “Brooklyn is my new home”.
My mom is an architect, and my father is a chemical engineer, and both influenced my career direction. I inherited my technical and creative abilities from them; although, I always knew math and science were not “my thing”. I grew up with a big extended family including a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins, and most of them are either architects or civil engineers, so design definitely runs in the family. I decided to study architecture to blend my technical ability with my love for making things.
While creativity has always been a constant in my life, I didn’t start creating art until I was in undergraduate school when I took a couple of sculpture classes. I discovered how to make molds and use sculpting materials and fell in love working with my hands, getting dirty and messy—the whole process.
Along my educational journey, I discovered my real passion for creating when asked to build with actually intended materials instead of the typical prototype materials we were accustomed to using. I remember going into the shop and having no idea what I was doing, but I was determined. Later, while studying for my master’s degree, I took every class I could that focused on making: ceramics, molds, welding, woodworking and sewing. All I could think about was what I could do with all the techniques I was learning.
Subsequently, I started wet felting for my thesis project and fell in love with the process. I taught myself how and started experimenting, adding in hard materials, softer materials, rubbers and ceramics. I realized I loved textile art. I then taught myself how to knit, weave and sew and slowly started to combine techniques. Textiles were something that I could prototype quickly with and explore so many options in a relatively small time frame, all while working in the final material.
“Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”
The first custom art piece I made was the biggest felt piece I have worked on (60” x 60”). While creating large pieces within my small home studio can be a big challenge, I never say no to fabricating custom projects, even if it means taking over the apartment. It is my biggest accomplishment to see the piece come together and finalize the project after spending many weeks working on it.
I create all of my textile projects at home from our two-bedroom apartment my husband and I specifically got so we could convert the second bedroom into our studio. It is filled with wall art, vases and pillows I create when we need to decorate and fill our walls—I use these needs as opportunities to try out different techniques and materials. Previously, we had just a one-bedroom apartment, and our living room was the studio. I would use closets and kitchen cabinets to store yarn, wool and other materials. We were constantly shifting around furniture to fit in the next project. When I start on a project, I can’t stop until it’s finished so it’s nice not wasting time to commute to a studio. I do have a part-time design job, which takes me away from my own art, though every free moment I have I dedicate to creating my own pieces.
My husband is also a designer so it’s great having the support of someone who knows my creative process and lets me do my thing. When I need to, I bounce ideas off of him, or I go to my favorite yarn store in SoHo and find something I haven’t worked with before. Looking at all the different materials and possibilities in one place inspires me, as does the use of colors and textures in paintings and trying to translate that into textiles through different materials and patterns.
I like to stay mindful of what I’m creating at the moment, being connected to the materials and being aware of how I’m using them, ensuring the pieces I create feel balanced. Materials that aren’t used constantly are in labeled bins, though tools and supplies that are used more often are easily accessible and visible—everything has its place so it doesn’t look messy or disorganized. It’s important to me that while I’m working, tools are within reach or easily accessible. I don’t like interrupting work-flow by having to go through boxes or clutter to find something.
When I’m in my studio I find silence too distracting so I typically play music—usually the same relaxed playlist repeating in the background. This way, there won’t be any new songs to distract or over-stimulate me, thus allowing me to fully concentrate.
A lot of the work I do is created by the repetition of movements. I visualize what I want the piece to look like and then, I begin fabricating—whether it’s a felted or a woven piece, repetition of movement becomes a type of meditation.
I’ve already planned the piece so I don’t need to be constantly thinking and designing, I just follow a map I’ve created, and the rest is just tactile awareness. It is a very peaceful process.
I like to explore different materials and techniques though usually gravitate towards neutral tones with a few accent colors. I work with only natural materials, as I don’t like working with synthetics. Before I start a new project, I routinely lay out all the materials I want to work with on the table. This ritual allows me to see all of the textures and colors and then edit and add, where necessary. I often find inspiration from the materials I work with, most of the time from leftover fibers of custom projects I’ve made. I pull a lot of inspiration from the world around me, especially from textures. I try to replicate textures I see or have felt in other products. On one of my thesis pieces, I used inspiration from rocks in the river and the texture they created to make acrylic castings.
While I love creating textile art, and it’s definitely my passion, I didn’t grow up knowing this is what I wanted to do. It took many years of school and studying something different to find it. I learned and trained myself, and every day I’m still learning. When you find your passion, work on it and grow it. It doesn’t matter if all the space you have is your living room.
BASKET OF TREASURES!
When I first enter my studio I see the first rope basket I made, and it is my favorite item in my studio. I keep the yarn I’m currently working with here, along with all of my specialty yarns. When I visit my favorite yarn stores, I add to my basket by regularly buying unique yarns I haven’t worked with that catch my eye. I usually don’t know what I’ll be using it for, but later, when I’m looking for inspiration or want to bring fun texture into a piece, I can go through the basket for something interesting or unexpected.