{the interview series} Marañón

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Hoje a nossa convidada é uma jovem joalheira cheia de talento. Lorena Barriento é natural de Cuba, mas é nos Estados Unidos que agora cria a sua linha de joalharia bordada à mão, que baptizou de Marañón Jewels. As suas peças transmitem a sua paixão pela cor, pelas formas geométricas e culturas étnicas. Eu acho-as absolutamente irresistíveis... e vocês?

[ Este post pertence à rubrica semanal {the interview series}, onde publico uma nova entrevista todas as quartas-feiras, com artistas e bloggers inspiradores que admiro, de acordo com o espírito handmade e um estilo de vida criativo. Tornem-se fãs no facebook e não percam nada!
Por motivos óbvios de extensão e compreensão do texto, tanto pelos entrevistados como pelos potenciais leitores do resto do mundo, a entrevista segue em inglês. ]

Today our guest is a young talented jeweller. Lorena Barriento was born in Cuba but is now in the United States, where she creates her own line of hand-embroidered jewelry, behind the brand Marañón Jewels. Her accessories reflect her passion for color, geometric shapes and ethnic cultures. I find them absolutely irresistible... how about you?

[ This post belongs to the weekly feature {the interview series} where I publish a new interview every wednesday with inspiring artists and bloggers I admire, according to the spirit of handmade and a creative lifestyle. Become a facebook fan and don't miss a bit! ]

Lorena Barriento | Marañón Jewels
Boulder, CO, USA
site | blog | shop | facebook page

1. Let’s pretend we don’t know each other and I’ve never heard about Lorena Barriento. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a 22 year old artist currently residing and working in Boulder, Colorado; a city where bikes and mountains are plentiful. A few of my favorite things are my two white terriers, the unruly hair on my head and good teas. Needlework is my official medium for creating art, however, I do enjoy paints and pencils every now and then.

2. You’re a young artist, but you already achieved so much! How was this creative passion born and what was the journey that brought you here?
I come from a humble and somewhat nonconformist family. Since an early age I’ve been branded to work hard for what I want while simultaneously following a path that is fitting for me, and brings me happiness. My brand began as a project I took on soon after leaving a dead-end retail job. I wasn’t happy, and I decided to change that. To date, I have achieved some things I’m very proud of. But my goals are limitless, and I’m always thinking of ways to reinvent ideas, grow, and challenge myself while reaching wider audiences. I have not even begun to accomplish my ultimate goals and dreams (which are always evolving), but I think I’m off to a good start.

3. You create beautiful hand embroidered and crafted jewelry with a geometric and ethnic style. Tell us about what inspires you to create them, such as optical illusions, traditional hand-crafting cultures and more.
My Cuban background inspires me the most. I come from a colorful place with colorful people, food, and music. A lot of my pattern work is a direct translation of those things. The other, more structured and mathematical side of the shapes I use come from being the child of a carpenter. My father always brought work home; things like blueprints, sketches, pieces of wood, and tools. It was through his work that I acquired an understanding of the relationship of shapes and lines, and how they can be manipulated so endlessly.

4. You hand make every piece… this must be a time consuming process and I really admire the perfection of your work. Would you share your creative process with us, from the conceptual research to the finished product?
When I’m feeling inspired I turn to my sketchbook and begin doodling loose concepts. Usually starting with a basic shape and working around that into smaller shapes and patterns. Many of them never translate into embroidery, but the ones that do go on to the next step. They are drawn directly onto my fabric, at which point I begin to select my color schemes. After each piece is embroidered and cut away from the fabric, I perform a little sewing magic and get them ready for their hardware, which is the very last step.

5. Tell us now about the materials you use: how do you choose them and where do you use to buy them?
Most of the materials I use to embroider (thread, fabric, needles, and hoops) can be found at any needlework section of a craft store. My hardware comes from an array of jewelry supply webstores, including Etsy and Ebay, from which I’ve found many great, vintage metals.

6. I’ve read in your site that your brand quickly evolved from craft experimentation to a smart and one of a kind product for an international fashion marketplace. This is a great evolution! What means do you use to promote your work?
I get very lucky now and then to be featured in a magazine or high-traffic blog. These forms of promotion are the most beneficial due to their snowballing, or domino effect (blog, and re-blog and another re-blog, etc.). Aside from these sources, I also use tumblr, twitter, facebook and flickr as a means of communication with my friends and customers and as social media tools to promote and share work with prospective fans and customers. Promotion outside of the web, while not as broad, is also good for business and those include business cards, and of course, wearing my jewelry where ever I go.

7. So, you’re not merely a crafter, but a young entrepreneur. Tell us about the challenges of it.
The management of my brand is the most challenging portion. It’s very rare for a natural born artist to also be a natural born business person. If you’re like me, and would rather wake up to each day knowing all you have to do is create your art, you will also struggle with knowing that it is impossible. I have to force myself to sit down and learn the technical, financial, and legal side of my business because it’s essential, otherwise I wouldn’t do it. One my goals is to one day hire someone to take care of this heavy side for me while I focus on what I truly enjoy.

8. What else are you passionate about doing?
I like to think I’m an amateur horticulturist, and if the stars would have aligned a little differently for me, I may have gone into biology--specifically botany. Yes, I’m a plant lover, learner, and hoarder. I can’t live without them. They fascinate me, and bring me unexplainable joy. I can and will spend hours staring at my houseplants, contemplating about them on a molecular level, thinking about their origins, their parts’ evolution, their uses, their immense, most perfect beauty. From theirs roots to their fruits, what’s not to love?

9. Would you share with us a regular day at work?
Wake up at around 8AM. Turn my computer on. Answer to e-mails/blog/communicate. Resume with previous day’s work. Blog/communicate some more if the time allows it. Needles down at around 9PM.

10. Would you give us a glimpse of your working space? Describe it and tell us what you love most about it.
I have two main work tables. One where I handle computer work, paper work, and embroider. Above it is a good amount of shelving with supplies. The other table I use for cutting, and sewing. Above it are tons of nails on which I hang my pieces. It’s usually all a mess, but that’s what I like about it the most.

11. You were born in Cuba, but you now live in the United States. How do you think your roots influence your work?
See question # 3.

12. Tell us now about the place where you live and what you love most about it. Would you like to live anywhere else one day?
Boulder is a sport enthusiast’s dream city. Especially true in the winter when resorts are abundant with snowboarders, skiers, and the likes. I, on the other hand.. prefer short winters and long summers. I like to keep it simple with long walks on pretty trails with my herb, plant and mushroom field guide in my backpack. I’ve lived here for over a year now but plan to move to Miami, FL (where I moved from) within the coming months. I can’t take the tropical out of me and will never again try to.

13. If you could live in any historical era of your choice, what would it be? Why?
I would like to re-live the 90s as an adult in the United States. I arrived here in ‘97 (8 years old) and feel like I missed very important trends and events that most my friends experienced. The 90s, from what I’ve seen and read was a time of transitional weirdness in fashion, technology and music. Yes, please.

14. What advice would you give to someone who would also like to become a young entrepreneur?
Sounds cheesy and repetitive, but please... do what you know you’ll love for a long time. Do it, learn about it and practice it until you master it and develop your own approach and style. Everyone appreciates and responds to originality. It’s a journey of learning from experience - one I’m still on and will be probably always be on.
15. What are your plans for the future? And your most unrealistic dreams?
I hope to separate my line into fine jewelry and fine art within this next year. I want to show in galleries around the world, be known and loved, and bring joy through my colorful needlework art. Unrealistic dreams, over time, can sometimes become quite doable. And hopefully one day, my dream of traveling through all the continents will come true.

Now a quick question and answer game so we can find a bit more about you and your tastes! Tell us one:

book: A Light in the Attic, by Silverstein
music: Currently loving Tyler the Creator, Buraka som Sistema, and Quadron
movie: I recently saw The Man Who Copied and loved it
personality/artist: Fashion editor of Wonderland Magazine, Julia Sarr-Jamois
color: Cayenne
object: Tea cup
animal: Always the two dogs around me
drink: Fruit smoothies
food: Avocado
season of the year: Summer
travel destination: Costa Rica
piece of clothing: Sheer button downs
secret: It won’t be a secret if I tell it

Thank you for sharing your inspiring words and color combos with us, Lorena!


  1. Obrigada Ana por esta partilha. Dos projectos de joalharia mais fantásticos que conheci!!!


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