Spotlight On: Wandering Thread

Every so often, The Study Room catches up with our favourite freelancers, creatives & fellow business owners to find out what really makes them tick (and jump out of bed everyday!

Today, we speak to Valeria Molinari, an illustrator and designer from Venezuela who creates beautiful and modern embroidery. She is a lover typography, colour and words, which is reflected in her modern and witty patterns. She talks about her normal day, following her wanderlust and what inspires her the most. 

 Keep checking in with us as we will meet with lots of people from lots of different specialities, to help you make the most of your day! 

What does a typical day look like to you?

Every day is different, and it all depends on where I’m living and what time I went to bed (if I did, at all), but all days, no matter the time, have a little ritual of coffee and list making. I love lists, writing them, crossing them off, sticking them on top of other lists, it’s a whole thing, it’s a bit obsessive, and I love it. The beginning of the day is generally slow, going through emails, the online shops, social media, answering questions, messages, packing new orders, etc.

After all that, the day begins. I generally finish a piece I’m already working on, or start a new one. I like to work on multiple things at the same time, so I won’t get bored. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays I generally schedule Skype meetings with my publishing partner, my remote clients, or just to talk and catch up with family and friends.

Oddly enough, I have two really productive times in the day: If I wake up early, my productive time start once I get out to nature and start embroidering if I stay in, I think it starts around 4:30-5pm; I start getting into the groove of the day.
I can often spend the entire day listening to music or a podcast while sketching new type or quotes, or looking at new, fun colour palettes, or prepare myself to sew, sew, sew! I'll often finish something at 4 in the morning!

Where do you call your ‘Office’?

My office is wherever I am. My shop is not called The Wandering Thread for nothing, I’ve been a nomad illustrator, living out of my backpack for almost two years, so I make  space and time as I go along.
All I need for something to be called my office is my hands, my threads and some music.

Where you are most inspired while working?

This sounds like a cliche, but I’m most inspired in nature. The best thing about my embroidery work is that it’s analog, no need for electricity, chargers, plugs, anything.
I can go on a hike, pack a couple of hoops, my thread, some snacks, and work all day on top of a mountain, at the beach, in a park, until the sun goes down; then I'll need some artificial light again to finish a piece.

How did you end up in your line of work?

As an artist, I have always loved to experiment, and if you take a look at my whole body of work, it’s a has been a bit all over the place. I started in animation, worked on films, moved on to illustration gallery work, then fibres, ceramics, letterpress, printmaking; you name it, I’ve tried it. One experiment after the next. As time went by, my artistic work started unexpectedly merging with my activism; as assignments to my animation students, as posters for non-profit organisations, it became all I wanted to do.
To work with a purpose, work that tells a story and plays with words and language, and has little sparks of whimsy. 

Recently my nomadic lifestyle became the perfect excuse to make a choice of medium, so I started translating my hand-lettering work  into textiles.
It’s perfect medium for a traveller, light, easy to transport and flexible. I was hesitant at first because embroidery has historically been looked down upon as a medium in the art world, because it’s crafty and a chore. I embraced it and realised that it juxtaposes perfectly with my messages of empowerment, gender fluidity, and equality.

What is the one thing you wish you had known at the beginning

To not be afraid to go for it. If you feel like you don’t have the specific skills for it, practice, don’t be afraid to let an idea, marinate, in your brain or in your sketchbook. Sometimes we don’t have the tools to make that idea reality, that doesn’t make it wrong, or bad, just ahead of your skills, but you’ll get there.
Practice and patience. Hone your skills, don’t be afraid to experiment until you find your voice, this isn’t a race; just try until you can’t anymore, and then try some more. If you believe in your project, your vision, your concept, you will  be successful and you will find people who appreciate it. We live in the age of connections and for the first time in history connect and collaborate with humans around the globe who think just like you, who can appreciate you, what you do, your humour, your concept and your idea.

What is the best part of your day?

Every day had its favourite parts; I live for the little things, like, when one of my plants sprouts a tiny bud, or when I randomly go outside and look up and there’s just a sliver of moon in the sky.  
Work wise, my favourite moments are either the infinite possibilities that come from having a blank hoop, and starting something new or the satisfaction of finishing a piece and have it turn out just as I imagined it.

What are you working on at the moment?

Like I said, I love working one multiple things at once. Currently I’m working on three things:
-Growing “The Wandering Thread” my small online business, and experimenting with new embroidery and fibre techniques.

- Taking a trip to Latin America following an exhibition I had in Madrid; about the language of victim blaming surrounding issues of rape and sexual assault.

-Getting Issue N.02 of HYRSTERIA, a zine I help co-found last year, that centres around narratives of social difference surrounding issues of race, class, gender, sexuality, culture, ableism, and ageism. 

For more of Valeria's embroidery works, have a look at her website, shop or catch up with her latest adventure on Instagram @valeriamolinari