Interview: Soledad from Sol del Sur
Meet Soledad, the brilliant creator + hands + heart behind Sol Del Sur, a breath taking textile design + jewelry + accessories handmade shop. Her work blew my mind at first sight + I just had to know more + show you all. Let’s take a look inside Soledad’s world right away, I really can’t wait!
1. Tell us a little bit about yourself.
My name is Soledad, which in Spanish means Solitude, and I think it’s beautiful. I live in Pasadena, California with the most beautiful man in the world (a.k.a. my husband) and our friends, but I have homes where my families are, which right now is Chile, Argentina, Germany and Colombia. Although I´ve lived in several countries, I proudly call myself Chilean.
2. How long have I been an designer?
I think my first craft project was a series of small felted (very simple of course) stuffed Seven Dwarfs, when I was less than 10. At the age of 11 I was already obsessed with giving handmade gifts to all my family: a beans and pasta mosaic, a colored-sand bottle made with chalk that I grated myself (crazy!), and well, was lucky enough to have easy access to many art and crafts courses around that age.
When my family and I moved to Chile that part of me was left behind, I was on and off of it for a long, long time and didn´t craft for several years. It wasn´t until I was finishing my engineering studies that I started to get closer to it again (I unexplicably took a color studies course, without knowing what and why I was doing it), but it was hard to make it part of me again – it was a back and forth fight between crafting and my career as an engineer.
3. When did you decide to turn your talent into a business?
Unofficially, I always did! On that early stage of my life – before I was 12 – all my school was obsessed over the friendship bracelets. I had my whole arm full of them, and of course I would sell them and trade them with other fellow friendship bracelets makers. Then, before I finished high school, I traveled most of Chile during the Summer, supporting myself making beaded necklaces at first, then learned to make leather goods, and some wire wrapping work. Later, after finishing engineering, my best friend and I had a studio where we would make all kinds of things for sale.
It all started to get more serious when I introduced myself to mosaics and at the same time was working as an engineer. It was then when I started thinking, I would much rather be creating things than seated here. I couldn´t stop thinking about it. Then I got married, came to live to the US, and decided to try it seriously. It was very hard and didn´t really know how to do it, until I discovered Etsy. I haven´t stopped since then.
4. Where do you make + create?
Our bedroom is huge and long, so the section next to the window is perfect for my studio. We installed a low room divider so we don´t see the mess in my desk from our bed, but still enjoy the beautiful landscape view outside.
5. Describe your creative process.
It was always a little crazy, and just now that I´m attending College and taking Product Design courses is making some sense. Generally it starts with the yarn, and depending on its properties – texture, size, color – I create something from it. The ideas normally appear in the middle of the night, in the shower, or any other unexpected moment. I try to draw a lot, and think about it for a while before actually make it. When I´m doing that, I try to make notes of everything, so each change is documented and I can reproduce it later. Sometimes I come accross some design challenges and the new product is left on the side, waiting for me to discover the solution.
6. What is your favorite thing about being a designer + having your online shop?
I love the idea of my goods reaching places all over the world, where I might never be. I also love the idea that everything is possible, we are all the same and have the same opportunities as long as we have an internet connection and work really hard on learning everything that is needed.
7. What advice would you give to other creative entrepreneurs?
Don´t think about selling more than on being creative. Putting yourself into your product is the only thing that will make your business be valued. Fame and money will come later – that´s what I always say to myself, and helps me stay focused.
8. Who + what inspires you?
Art, design and architecture are always inspiring. Colors, patterns and textures obsess me, specially when they are nature made.
9. What’s your favorite handmade possession?
A wooden carved Noah´s Ark that I early inherited from my dad, made by an artist from El Salvador (I think!). It´s the only decoration item that I brought to the US from my apartment in Chile, and it represents the thought that home is anywhere you want it to be.
10. In 10 years, where do you want to be?
Definitely living in a place with a nice mass transportation system, with a bigger family and a bigger business that helps pay the bills.
11. Any important links we should know about before wrapping up?
Soledad thank you so much for coming over to my little blog + opening your heart to us. We loved having you here!