What Work Wills

Video, Collaborative Work, SculptureAlicia Velazquez4 Comments

This month While Making It Together started. During the past weeks I have received our first five guests.

I learned so much. And, what was did I have todo to make that happen? Lending my ear. And asking a few colleagues and friends to lend me theirs. Yes, we acted with our hands and bodies. 

There was an object there. One object they brought, to be added to the hybrid object already made.

There was a common action. A shared act of making something with their donated object, wrapping it together to the other objects.

And silence.

I didn’t know what this work was about in the beginning (I am still figuring out what it is about, actually, together with my guests). I knew I had to do it. Or, more precisely, I let the work do me.

What happens when letting the work do you, rather than the other way around?

First lesson on the relevance of this shift came from artist Juan Cañizares, WMIT's guest #2. And with him, the realization of the difference between project and work. As architect, we project - have a goal, a brief, a set of intentions - and create and build towards that plan, within that timeframe and constraints. Solving problems.
Before and after our WMIT session, Juan kept talking about works. And after a while it stroke me. WMIT is not a project, but a work. When changing the nomination in the surface, a long and deep meaning also shifted.

Work is what happens. You make a plan, set a structure, set yourself to work on it, until you - actually, more accurately - until the work considers itself done. There is no up-front result or vision to follow. It is unpredictable and surprising.

This fundamental difference might be already obvious for you. But I tell you, it was a revelation for me last week for the first time, after “working” on “projects” for 20 years! - was also a difference in handling our work together, "visible" during the making sessions with our first 5 guests.

They are, in their current practice, 3 architects and 2 artists. It was my duty, as host of this work, to listen to them and follow their lead during making. The two artists, Juan and Maria (Gil Uldemolins), dug into wrapping, quite quickly not being all about their object but the moment, and the hybrid thing corseted in pink that we had in between us. It was about the rhythm and time shared by our bodies, about the communication between all those objects, about the thoughts we share without talking. It was about our hands touching, when handling the spool from one to the other. It was boring and beautiful. It was one of the most intimate experiences I have shared, and surely the most intimate in a working environment.

My 3 architect guests, colleagues of mine, and very different in their own practices, started centered in their own objects, to end up in the same place, a bit later.

Eric (Guibert, architect and gardener) - our first guest - was delicately wrapping the branch he'd brought, and was horrified when I - following my projection of making a communal sculpture, my project goal - started to squeeze its leaves with the thread, suffocating them already. They were obviously going to dry out and die, but I was killing them already there. After quite a while and observing his reaction, I switched, following his lead and way of wrapping. And, funny enough, we ended up our (long, about 2.5 hours) session with him wrapping as me (fast and quick, around both chair and branch), and me wrapping as him (slowly, delicately, carefully). We switched our “making” identities along the way.

Michael (Wildmann), my guest #5, was the one that took the longest to give in to the fact that both his object and the thread would do whatever the hell they wished, despite his efforts for being precise. Like drawing, Mike was projecting lines over his donated object (a coffee maker), the thin pink thread being his pencil, or his Autocad line. After a while during which, hopelessly, we both tried to wrap the coffee maker's round belly in a symmetrical and precise way to the hybrid bunch, he gave in. And from there on we just wrapped, loop by loop, from side to side, forgetting about precision and projection and letting the material simply do her thing, while both thread and coffee maker winked at each other and smiled (possibly LOL at us :-).

What about you? Have you had experiences of letting go preconceived ideas, and let the work be, rather than projecting a wish or vision? How did that shift happen?

Would love to hear about it in the comments below.

Today Togetherness

Video, Textures PurposeAlicia VelazquezComment

One year leaves, one comes, one day leaves one comes, one face, one body, one story after another. What are we but a seamless stream of moments?

I have been fascinated by different sameness since I started photographing my bed after being used, back in 2002 when I was living in Amsterdam. I thought the story of what happened in it would be perceptible through the image. Seemingly the same bed, yet with so different charge, story, spirit. Can objects be our stories hard drives?

About two years ago I decided to start photographing my face also every day. Clean, no make up. Bare me.

And, starting 2015, I set myself to spend time with thread each and every day of the year, posting our interaction in my Instagram gallery. 

I bring you today togetherness. Of those two bodies - daily thread and daily face - touching each other.

One day worth of stories packed in a one second snap. 

Up to today, 345 days. A 345” video.

It's not important that you guess or I share the real stories (what is real, anyway). 

Use it as a time clock, a visual watch to allow your coming 385 days to unfold in togetherness. With yourself, your objects around, your daily face, your human companions. Wether for a brief moment or for long time strokes, togetherness.

And after you watch it, come tell me below what it brings or awakens for you, I'd love to hear about it.

Time Bomb

Textures Purpose, Video, ProductAlicia VelazquezComment

We now nothing is there forever. We change, objetcs change, the landscape changes. Our mood changes. Our body changes.

Made out of a material that disintegrates with time, Time-Bomb Dear bracelet is a temporary piece of jewelry. 

Wether you choose it for a loved one or for yourself, TBD changes as your love changes, as you change. TBD knows that your love fades along time. She understands. She has been designed for that. It is also her nature to change, and accompany you as you change.

TBD does the job for you. No need to think you need to keep it for good. No need to confront the guilt of getting rid of it. No need to apply the KonMari method. TBD dies.

TBD comes in a beautiful package, expiration date included. You may choose the desired length of your affection. We offer 3 types, with 3 different price ranges:

  • fast & furious
  • mild & mighty, and
  • long & luminous.

How dear is your love? Or how dare?

Drop me some love (or hate, or both), on the comment lines below. 

What The Wear

Textures Purpose, VideoAlicia Velazquez1 Comment

Is what we wear showing or hiding our real selves?

I asked myself this question a few days ago, after I bought something new to wear. I was suddenly feeling confident and fresh. It kind of brought my ego out.

This reaction made me think: what does what we wear arise? what does it hide?

Jose Miguel Iribas, great sociologist I really appreciated personally as well, and whom unfortunately recently passed away, used to say: there are three main tools to socialize: sports, alcohol and the naked body. 

Some people imagine the audience naked to loose their fear on stage. Perhaps they become "real" in their eyes, free from their power, position or career skins.

I love cool clothes (always the ones I can't afford :-). But I've been (unconsciously) neglecting owning new stuff in the past years, perhaps and coincidentally at the same time that I had a major shift in my career. Since my work has increasingly become more personal, I had the need to be more naked. Not only emotionally, also literally. 

Possibly because when no clothes are present, there is only body to wear, only the real deal. And the ego-wear falls flat.

What the wear? Here's my humble hum to invite you out:

Now, throw me back some wearing love:

  • which "you" reflects on what you wear?

Can't wait to hear your stories, blurbs and cuts in the comments below.

And on wearing, I just released a very limited collection of thread wraps

Purpose Me

They are summery, colorful, textile, flexible, warm and unique.

And now for sale!

Click on the image to see them:

Purpose Me are very personal pieces. Each one hand-made, body-made, and with her unique process story

From 19.06.2015, six wraps will be shown as well in Buen Gusto shop/gallery, Zurich Altstadt. 

[I also take custom orders]


Behind the Thins

Video, Textures PurposeAlicia Velazquez2 Comments
[plug your headphones to get the "full monty"]

It's so interesting to work with materials like a Montessori teacher works with kids. Letting them express and develop their own personality. 

Come on, I can hear. Materials do not have a personality. 

They do not feel. but their nature very well expresses their "wish" to be or become something.

The materiality of thin string and the construction I made with it gave me some clues about life.

It's about networking. A hot issue in our lives!

But when I started this exercise, I wasn't planning to make a networking map. 

My starting point was: I am going to connect with a wall. I am going to use threads and sticky dots to connect myself with this wall, using as many lines as needed to feel that we are attached. It will be like growing roots, like planting myself to the wall.

Then, while doing it, the wall started to disappear. The "real" thing was happening in the threads, those individual almost-nothing things.

Instead of representing my attachment to the wall, they started to represent relationships to me. In a broader sense. 

What is it that this tactile experience unstrung?


I'd love to hear your line of thoughts on this:

  • which of these lessons strapped stronger to you?
  • how would your bundle look like?

Do come over to the comments below and let me know (or if you prefer, please email me back). Your words really make a difference.


Hat the Wrap

Video, Textures PurposeAlicia Velazquez5 Comments

Have you ever found yourself wrapped in too many things?

Even being the master of planning and organization, it's almost impossible that you've never been enshrouded in obligations, tasks, decisions, actions or responsibilities.

Though you manage your moves, sometimes overwhelm happens. So much that you cannot actually recognize yourself any more.

This is what I had in my head when acting today's video. The "easy" act of getting involved - sometimes not aware that is happening - grows slowly. And thickens till one day you cannot remember how the heck you got to that point of being trapped. But you are!

Visualize yourself entangled in a material mane to help you remember: you can always cut that strain (and wear it overhead).

If all this feels familiar to you, let me know in the comments below:

  • Does visualizing your "overthread" help you deal with it? 
  • How could you "materialize" your cut-through moment?

Pulling the Thread

Video, Textures PurposeAlicia Velazquez5 Comments

Through the years, I found that the best way of working on a design project (which can also be translated into life projects) is what I call pulling vs pushing. Rather than having a preconceived image or idea, it consists of outstretching several options - threads. And start pulling each of them, until one appears to expand our options. Even beyond what we initially conceived.

Pulling often serves a side bundle of doubt, and also often - at least in my experience - it is difficult to "let go" that initial idea that I had pictured as desired end result.

When doing the first bit you'll see in the video above, I had no idea whatsoever that I would end up getting the rest of its sequence (so do hold on and watch the full minute :-). Just pulled.
Sometimes an insignificant fiber can expand into infinite opportunities and surprising beauty.

But I'd love to hear about your strains:

  • Have you encountered pulling vs pushing? How did it untwine?

Can't wait to read about it in the comment section below.