My name is Soledad and my shop is called Sol del Sur. It’s where I share the jewelry, accessories, and weavings that I design and make. I live in an area called South Pasadena in Los Angeles, California, with my amazing husband Cris and our cat Lola. I love that I can see the mountains from here, so I don’t feel so far from my home city, Santiago de Chile.
My designs are often triggered by dissimilar things: sound waves, native cultures, a piece of furniture, a pattern on a tile, a bag, a material combination, or certain craft process I’m curious about. Once I see something I’m interested in, I start drawing and try to develop as much as I can on paper until I feel I’m ready to start making prototypes. Making prototypes is a whole adventure in itself, and probably the most fun part of my process. It can yield a new product right away, require learning a new skill, or result in a totally new design. Sometimes I put these ideas to the side until I find the solution (technical or aesthetic) that is making me hold back. I never know how long this process will take.
I need to be surrounded by beautiful things, so there’s no better way to live my life than by making those things available to others with my own hands! It makes me proud that people want to have one of my creations and knowing that they will cherish them. Having my own creative business is the perfect way to convey all of my ideas and feed my need to make things, all while having full control of my day-to-day.
Etsy is my channel of communication with the world: not only the place to share my creations, but also the place to talk, share, see, learn, get inspired and support amazing artists. Here, we are all the same and have the same opportunities as long as we have an Internet connection and work really hard for our goals. I think that is wonderful.
Besides my diverse inspirations, I think my use of different craft techniques, like leatherwork, embroidery and braiding really sets my work apart. The hard structure of metals and soft malleability of textiles gives me the freedom I need to transform my ideas into tangible things. And there are so many ways to put them together. I love all kinds of crafts and I’m sure that will keep showing up as my career evolves.
I always think twice before buying anything, asking myself: who made it, under what conditions, why am I buying it, and most importantly, do I really need this? I choose to buy from independent designers whenever I can, versus something just as expensive from the cool store with great branding that has their clothing fabricated in China under unknown labor conditions. It means being informed and thinking about what ways of living I am supporting with my purchases. Every individual action helps shape our world. In my business, I apply these ideas by making sure all my pieces are made to last and will survive any trend. Even my packaging can be reused.
When I moved to the US to be with my husband, I left behind my career as an engineer (which I didn’t love so much anyway). I also left friends, family, and my beloved city. Essentially, I lost everything that defined my personality, and I quickly realized I didn’t know who I was. I knew I wanted to make something creative; I had always loved making things. So I started making, and listing on Etsy. Since then, I’ve gained self-knowledge that I didn’t even know I was missing. It has been a long journey of self-discovery and sometimes, not so fun, but I’m absolutely thrilled that it happened to me. I am a happy person now and it’s because I know who I am and where I want to go in life.