Understanding “more about the relationship between people and objects” drives Buenos Aires, Argentina-based needlepoint artist Jazmín Berakha to explore her talents from her home studio — imagining how her favorite historical Japanese, Art Deco, and Bauhaus women designers achieved their goals throughout the eras. The maker and mother applies a traditional craft to her reflective exploration of modern art, often carving out time around familial duties. “My meditative sewing process embraces aspects of domesticity with a consciousness of place and time,” Jazmín explains (in an interview with Mr X Stitch). She absorbs worldly inspiration for her work from the contemporary visual media to which she responds innately, and reads anthropological texts “to access a deeper understanding of what I’m doing.”
To Jazmín, “being around books is an indescribable feeling: a mix of euphoria, intrigue, hunger, and daydream,” such that she combats creative blocks simply by reading. But just being present for the discovery to happen is half the battle. “If you really want to achieve something — anything you want — you have to put your energy in it every day.” —Annie
Photography by Jazmín Berakha
What’s in your toolbox?
Fabric, threads, needles, hoops, scissors, paper, pencils, computer.
Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel ____________.”
in another layer of existence
What’s on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?
I always have with me some books about textiles… Japanese, Art Deco, and Bauhaus are at the top of my list. I’m currently reading a lot of anthropological books, such as Claude Lévi-Strauss’ The Savage Mind, and Myth and Meaning, as well as James George Frazer’s The Golden Bough, and I am truly a fan of Tim Ingold. All this material helps me to understand more about the relationship between people and objects. One of my main sources of inspiration are prints and patterns from around the world, which appear as manifestations from the material culture in textiles, sculptures, or everyday objects. Studying all this is a way to access a deeper understanding of what I’m doing.
How do you keep yourself organized?
I have problems organizing both my stuff and my work. Even though I’ve developed something like a “working system” over the years, I often do many things at the same time. Being a mom is the ultimate challenge for organization issues, because you add an almost infinite number of variables into the everyday equation!
If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?
I would love to have a superpower of concentration and clarity of mind!
What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist, maker, or designer?
I think the best advice I’ve received is the same I would offer to anybody: If you really want to achieve something — anything you want — you have to put your energy in it every day. Spend time on it for yourself and your work daily, even an hour is good. As a result of that relationship with the work and projects, things start to move and develop by themselves.
How do you combat creative blocks?
Well… I don’t! Ideally, I’m supposed to spend some time every day in my studio, even looking [at] or doing nothing, just to stay in touch with my work environment. But in all honesty, when I have creative blocks I just suffer a lot and feel guilty for not working as I should. The only good thing is that I take advantage of the free time the creative block leaves me with and I read a lot! So, maybe that’s my way to combat creative blocks… I read.
Finally, one day I wake up and the block is gone. I go upstairs and I start to work as though nothing happened. The magic in this is that something did actually happen, because my work has changed — maybe subtly, but something in my work has moved into a new thing.
Where do you like to look or shop for inspiration?
Definitely bookstores. No question about it. Of course, the Internet is an endless source of inspiration as well, and I do look a lot, but being around books is an indescribable feeling: a mix of euphoria, intrigue, hunger, and daydream…
If you could peek inside the studio or toolbox of any artist, maker, designer, or craftsperson, whose would it be and why?
I would love to be inside the houses and studios of Sonia Delaunay, Gunta Stölzl, and Anni Albers to see how women artists and designers that I admire used to work in the past, under totally different circumstances.
What’s on your inspirational playlist at the moment?
Debussy – all the piano pieces that exist
Ulises Conti – Posters Privados
Damon Albarn – Dr Dee
Ligeti – choral works
Bonnie Prince Billy – Lie Down in the Light
Béla Bartók – Mikrokosmos
Chet Baker -Chet Baker with Fifty Italian Strings