Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Interview from Brazil

I have recently discovered the beautiful work of doll maker, art director and textile magician Christine Conde of Ameno Reseda and I am lucky enough to be doing a doll swap with her at the moment. Looking at her blog, you can tell she is a multi talented and fertile artist and her dolls are little works of art. She is also a lovely enthusiastic person who agreed to answer a few questions for my first artist interview! So read below...

Tell us a little about yourself and your background

I was born in Rio de Janeiro, but lived in Curitiba till I was twenty. Working since the age of fourteen, for I always liked to make my own money and be independent. I worked on several things! As a saleswoman in a shop, creating things for children's parties, as a receptionist in art galleries, as a waitress ... But I majored in Theatre and since then working as art director and creating costumes and sets for theater, ballet, Video, Opera, etc..

Have you always been creative? How do you reconcile creativity with a family life?
I've always been very passionate about my work, because it gave me the opportunity to learn a multitude of different techniques. It's a learning experience that will never end. On the other hand, is a job that requires total dedication, where there is no routine, no weekends, holidays ... it's very difficult to have a personal or family life satisfaction!

For some time I have desired to work from home and devote myself more to my family but I am like all women in the world, it is difficult! Anyway ... I'm determined to turn my hobby into major work and make costumes just once in a while. But for this I have to dedicate most of my time to releasing my brand, Ameno Reseda. I intend to expose at Etsy by the end of the year, for example, in bazaars and participate in more often. At the moment it is still difficult to reconcile the two activities.

Where do you take inspiration for your dolls?
The dolls were born from the desire to achieve a more authorial outcome, with total creative freedom, and to enjoy every bit of income, using fabrics left over from my work wardrobe. It took a long time to develop a template for the body that I liked in terms of proportion. But making them is totally free and not really planned, I will just use a color, or make a doll redhead or brunette. Then I'll bring together the "pieces", the flaps, creating a combination of colors and textures that I like. This is how unique pieces get made, entirely by hand, because at first I never did use a sewing machine, I lingered until the doll was complete. Strangely, during this time of "living together", the dolls create their own personality, I swear! So I have no control about the final outcome, they themselves decide who they want to be.

How is craft perceived in Brazil?
On the issue of handicrafts in Brazil, this is a rather complex issue. The craft is part of Brazilian culture, and is very diverse, wonderful, rich and differentiated only according to the region to which it belongs. As you know, Brazil is a huge country with very different regions. And in each region the story is different from the other: we have Portuguese, Dutch, Spanish, African influences, etc.. I live in the South, a region with altitude and very cold. My city, Curitiba, born of a route for travellers was built by Germans, Dutch, Poles, Italians, Ukrainians ... Rio de Janeiro, where I was born is quite different: a different climate, geography, cultural background, etc.. Well, I'm saying all this to explain that craft is somewhat seen as commonplace around here, and seen as a product of tourist appeal. That began to change recently, for issues of sustainability, the dissemination of raw materials and artisanal methods used by Brazilian designers (you know the Campana brothers?) Anyway, I realize in Europe and the U.S. a greater appreciation of the handmade product is taking place now, for a type of product that is impossible to copy and contains the emotional charge of the artist, and all this speaks to me.

This attitude is still not as widespread here in Brazil, but it's a trend that tends to grow more and more. We do have a few spaces and different products are exposed in bazaars, where sometimes I show my work. But not in art galleries: that fine line separating craft and art is still very present here.

Thanks a lot, Christine, your work is gorgeous and inspiring! What do you crafter friends think?
(I have another question for you Chrisitne: what does your brand name Ameno Reseda means?)

1 comment:

  1. Hello, Lo! First, I very thank for your interest and especially the opportunity to show my work on his blog.
    It's really an honor for me!
    The name, Ameno Reseda, I bet that 90% of people, even here in Brazil, do not know what is!
    But I love to explain! Ameno Reseda is the name of a famous (for its time) company created carnival in Rio de Janeiro in 1907, and the great composer Ernesto Nazareth composed a beautiful polka with this name in honor of her. I like the name for its smell of old carnivals, why is it romantic, nostalgic. Like an old photograph of delicate colors. That's it! Beijo!