My Signature Style
Anabel Sousa, creator behind the super chic “Crear es Creer”, has honored me throwing this challenge my way… She’s figured out hers, and now asks me to define which of my artisan works can be considered my “sello personal”. Meaning — as I understand it — which item (or collection of items) has that “je ne sais quoi” that shows up over an over on the things I create so that when people sees them, they quickly recognize them as mine.
The question is a very good one, and after thinking some about it, I’m not quite sure I can answer it. First, because my body of work as a public artisan is tiny and extremely eclectic… I have not specialized on a single area or product… I haven’t made tons of one thing to get to the point where that thing has become full of my artistic essence. And so, here’s the second reason… I doubt that my work has yet any specific “brand recognition” for people to see something and spot it immediately as mine, or at least think of me as the possible creator behind it. Although, now that I just wrote this, perhaps I should ask my friend Marla, who a few times has shown me things that she thinks have my artistic style. Hmmm…
So when I thought of this question, I couldn’t pinpoint a signature item. I couldn’t define my signature style either. Yes, there are techniques or ideas that you may see repeated in several of my creations. But have I worked long enough with them for a specific unique style to emerge worth of brand recognition?… I’m not sure.
I believe my most unique creation is perhaps my small collection of vueltiaítos. Although they are inspired by the very well known Colombian vueltiao hat, my translation as a baby item with textile material is something I have never seen anywhere else, and no baby hat I have ever seen looks anything like mine. Unfortunately though, I have not made enough of them for the product to be a recurring and prominent part of my shop and get any kind of public awareness.
When I was an art student, it was other people’s reactions to my work that made me realize my style… My figure drawings were always recognizably soft among all others; people called them “subtle” and “soothing”. And in 2–D Design class, my work mixed traditional media with computer-generated bits. I hadn’t realized that this made my pieces unique among all others until I met these two young guys in my class who were completely fascinated by my technique.
When I became a web designer and managed to produce a large enough body of work, people started bookmarking my online portfolio as “clean design”. Prospective customers would contact me and point to this same aspect… How clean and well organized my web pages appeared.
Now as an artisan, I have no earthly clue of what others perceive as my style. I do, however, have a very good idea of what differentiates my work from many others I’ve seen…
- If I make a pair of earrings, I don’t pick a beautiful set of beads and attach them to ear hooks.
- If I make children clothing, I don’t cut a shape out of colorful and cutely designed Amy Butler fabric and stitch it to the chest of a pre–made white shirt or onesie.
- If I make a purse, I don’t pick a piece of exquisite vintage silk and glue it to a purse frame.
- If I make anything, I don’t sew the fabric straight out of the purchase bag and call the finished product “spot clean only”.
Instead, I am an artisan who likes to create beautiful things out of the most simple and raw materials… Not because I like to suffer, no… But because I like to design and do my self a lot of the stuff, and because I come up with the most complicated ideas that involve a lot of production steps, and it’s the combination of those steps that will make the product beautiful; not the pre–made beauty of the materials.
- So I don’t go shopping for beautifully designed fabric. It’s so much more fun to design and hand print my own.
- I don’t make a silhouette appliqué out of worldwide recognized designer fabric. It’s so much more fun to design a Paco, a Felix, a Felicity, and cut out all the little shapes to reveal a multi-color reverse appliqué.
- I don’t buy beautiful beads. Its’ so much more fun to dream, design, and make textile and wire jewelry.
- And for anything I make that is ever meant to be cleaned, I always pre–wash all fabrics and heat-set any textile ink, because I think that “spot clean only” is bullshit and complete laziness on the part of the creator. (OK, this one has nothing to do with artistic style, but I have wanted to say it for such a long time!)
Are all these things evident to others looking at my work? I really don’t know… Are they parts of what may constitute my signature style? I’d love to know… Anyone of you familiar with my public or private creations, I would so love to know what you perceive as my artisan style. This is one of those things where it doesn’t matter what I think; my “signature style” is all about what others perceive.