Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Elvina and I am the self-taught fabric designer behind New Mom Designs. I have two kids and a very loving and supportive husband who helps and encourages me to keep going. I started designing fabric during my maternity leave (hence the name) and never expected it to go anywhere beyond my personal use. But positive feedback, plus my own crazy, untamable obsession with fabric prints, really got me thinking about taking it to the next level. I received a degree in interior design, but have always been attracted to graphic design in different forms and shapes. Fabric design is a great creative outlet for me as it relates to both of my passions.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Apart from my creative time, I take care of the kids and the house, cook, run errands, play monster – you name it! Basically, I am being a mom and a wife. The interior designer in me sometimes makes an appearance, too. Last year, my husband and I renovated our backyard into a modern, Zen-inspired oasis. It was a lot of fun! When weather permits, we like to entertain there with our friends and family – everyone loves it! I also like to cook and enjoy photography. Many of my dishes and projects end up on my blog.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Be in the Moment comes to mind. Many people get overwhelmed by juggling a number of things and cannot switch from one mode to another – they cannot shut off their brain from working and thinking of business or problems outside their working hours. I, too, sometimes find myself thinking of work while being with my kids, and that is simply sad. It is not easy, but we must strive for that golden balance and be fully involved in the moment – whether it is being a mommy, a wife or a designer.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I find inspiration everywhere – kids’ playgrounds, magazine ads, architecture, my mom’s sketches, nature. At times, it is just a color combination that grabs my attention, but sometimes it’s a feeling I want to capture. There are days when I cannot turn my mind off from making up the patterns and shapes in my head. It is helpful to keep a sketchbook around and quickly put the ideas down on paper as they pop up. Later, I come back and refine, edit and massage them until it feels just right. I always try to keep it fresh and fairly simple with a fun twist.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade is loved, unique and warm. I grew up with a lot of handmade things around. Lots of my clothes were handmade, and all the food – from cheese to fancy pastries– my mom made. I must admit, I did not see much value in it while growing up. When you are young, you tend to underappreciate the handmade, and that shiny, factory-made “thing” owned by many of your friends is all you crave. Now, the sense of wonder, creativity, patience and skill that handmade items radiate is invaluable and simply amazing to me.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
Hands down, my mom. She is the most creative person I’ve known. All the rooms in our home were hand-painted by her, and the wall above my bed had a huge mural. She was also very supportive through the years in anything I’d take an interest in. Up to this day, her opinion means a lot me.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I cannot really pinpoint the exact time when I knew I was a maker. Looking back, I see now that crafting and using my creativity was always a part of my life. My family and I immigrated to the U.S. when I was 16, and New York City won me over in a heartbeat with its brightly illuminated streets, beautiful architecture and museums, and the most original art galleries and exquisitely decorated storefronts. I was struck by such a powerful presence of creativity here and wanted nothing more than to be a part of it.
How would you describe your creative process?
When I get an idea, I try to roughly sketch it on paper. Then I consider the fabric and how I can make it stand out from the many other great designs out there. I try to picture it in a variety of color combinations and different scales. Then I transfer my rough sketch into a neat, more composed and more detailed drawing on the computer. At this stage, it is easier to manipulate colors and sizes. With many, many clicks of a mouse, my design elements multiply, flip over, go up and down, rotate, and align like little soldiers. After so many acrobatic movements, my black and white line drawing (often in repeat at this point) goes to the coloring process. It can stay in this phase for a while — I am so indecisive when it comes to color. I can create tens of options, but only one or two make to the finale. Then off they go for printing on fabric!
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Patricia Zapata (who is very much alive!) – her work is amazing! I could never have the patience or imagination to do what she does with paper.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
My mom’s paintings are all over my house. I feel a piece of her soul and the warmth of her hands when I look at them.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
Thankfully, I rarely get them. Sometimes I find myself with way too many ideas and little concentration. I try to go outside and not think about it. I get distracted by meeting with friends, cleaning the house or cooking something. In a little while, I start to miss my work; that’s when I know I am ready to go back.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
Oh, the dreams I have. I want to grow into a medium-size, successful textile and home accessories business and maybe have my designs licensed, and maybe produce a separate children’s line. But most importantly, I want to try out all of my ideas and enjoy my life to the fullest with my family and kids, so there are no regrets at the end.