LEATHER ART

SELINA | ANIMISTIC LEATHER

Desert Mama- Who is Selina and where can we find her? Tell us about yourself:

Selina- A lot of people assume I was named after the Texan singer Selena but in reality I’m really just named after a flower shop my mom liked in her neighborhood.

I’m a huge dreamer, that’s who I am. As early as I can remember my parents were supportive of my imagination & creativity. I was always reading my library books, writing in journals, drawing, & painting. Always in my head & I’m for sure still like that.

As of a year ago I’ve been in Vancouver, Washington in the Pacific NorthWest. It’s a hell of a lot different from where I was born & raised around Southern California. It’s pretty quiet living over here.

DM- When and what made you get into this type of craft?

S- I have so many stories of my childhood interests that lead me to what I do now but the short version is I graduated college in the summer of 2017 & after a vacation in New Mexico, I got a call to interview for a job in San Clemente. Went to the interview, took a change of clothes with me, spent the day on the coast, & when I returned to my truck everything I took with me was stolen! My favorite small black suede leather fringe purse was now gone & for some reason I decided to make it myself instead of buying another and that decision charted a whole new passion in my life.

I bought a sewing awl and the most beautiful white buckin hide and recreated my bag but with my own twist to it. I worked in the field I studied for and created my art after work & weekends for about a year and a half. I felt wiped out from years of full time school & my job at the time that I just wanted to do something for myself. So I took what was supposed to be a “break” but jokes on me because now I only do leather.

DM- Who taught you how to do this?

S- When I first started making bags & accessories for myself I was self taught with a lot of trial and error. When I decided to create apparel, YouTube was my teacher for pattern making.

I realized later that you could just buy premade patterns but they’re confusing to me so I stick to my version of pattern making.

Leather lacing is a whole other art form in itself. When I first started I knew the basic lacing techniques: dot stitch, whip stitch, cross stitch. I use cross stitch & herringbone lace stitch the most but when I want to learn a new technique I head to Youtube or sometimes even leather forums. It’s insane how intricate and complicated leather lacing can get but the outcome is beautiful. I plan on learning / incorporating more decorative lacing in my future projects.

DM- What is your source of inspiration and what do you like to convey with your art?

S- Super inspired by the 70’s, colors of the desert, rock n’ roll & country music, negative space, simplicity, the feeling of riding in a truck or motorcycle through the mountains, & really just about whatever I’m interested in at the moment. I really just want my pieces to be about freedom and a good time.

My hip bags were made so I wouldn’t have to carry a purse on the back of my guys motorcycle, my tops were made to party in, and the fringe on all my pieces is for the fun of it. No such thing as too much fringe!

DM- Show us what you think is your best work by now and tell us why you love it:

S- The Bone Fringe Jacket is my absolute best work so far. Other than the leather itself and the domed wheat penny buttons, I made every single part of that jacket. Made the pattern, punched each hole individually, used yards of leather lace I cut myself, laced it together by hand, fringed the entire back and arms very thinly cut, & laced the edges in a cross stitch.

It´s always a proud moment when a sketch on paper becomes a reality made from your imagination and two hands. It was a dream of mine to be a designer and this is as close as I’ll get to being one.

My dream now is to have an artist wear one of my pieces on stage. That’s when I’ll probably cry. Manifesting that for this year!

DM- The part you love the most of what you do, and the worst part:

S- Love the creative aspect of my art. I have pages and pages of sketches I have yet to even make happen!

The worst part is the creative funk, the imposter syndrome, that shit really gets to me more than I’d like to admit. But then someone will commission a piece like a wedding dress (that
I recently made for a jeweler), and my confidence comes back to me. Like okay, maybe you are kind of good at what you do just shut up and do it!

DM- What do you think is the key to success?

SStaying true to yourself, doing what you want with your life, & keeping yourself accountable for your growth (something I worked really hard to earn over the last year).

DM- Where and how would you like to see yourself 10 years from now?

S- I would love to be in Arizona or New Mexico so that I’m closer to my family but mainly for the sunshine and desert living. I for sure belong in that climate more than anywhere else.

I’m sure I’ll still be making leather art but as for what else I’ll be doing, who knows. I have so many interests. My life could go in a completely different direction and I’d be more than okay with it.

DM- Your happiest childhood memory:

S- All the time I spent with my elders are my most cherished memories. My memory of them is faint now but I still remember their stories.

A memory that I refer to often is getting into the front middle seat of my Tatas truck and being between him and my Nana in the driver´s seat. He’d play old Spanish songs and we’d all go for a cruise to wherever. That memory is my first true memory of feeling free. Being on the road, listening to music, it was pure bliss.

DM- Your best quality and your worst defect:

S- I’m really organized so that helps a lot with getting things done & reaching goals. But it’s also a hindrance because if my home, workspace, or just life in general isn’t organized I won’t do anything productive until I organize or create a plan. I’ve wasted so much time on reorganizing closets or deep cleaning my kitchen when I know it really doesn’t matter.

DM- How is a perfect day in your life?

S- A perfect day is getting lost in creating, the sun shining, good music, eating fresh fruit, then spending the evening outside at a classic car show or something like that. All about the simple pleasures in life.

DM- What do you do for fun?

S- Estate sales are my decompress days. It’s so fun for me to peek into someone else´s life & see what they were all about. You can always tell a lot about people by the things they cherish & surround themselves with.

DM- A success and a failure:

S- Being able to live off my creativity. It was really scary leaving my career & not having weekly paychecks. It was really weird the first few weeks. I was like, “Oh wow I need to rely on myself now for everything”. My dad was an entrepreneur since he had me at 19 & he’d always talk to me about business so I definitely got the spirit from him.

I plan on returning to my career soon but I’m super happy I took that risk because it was something I was fearful of and proved to myself was possible.

Been through a lot of failures that thankfully didn’t harm myself or others. When I was going through my toughest one my dad would tell me, “It’s what you do after you fail that matters.” He would always say, “Hold your head up and move on from it.” Love that guy.

RECOMMENDATIONS

– A phrase: «Live your life like a movie».

– A film: Almost famous.

– A drink: Lemonade…but mostly a cold Budweiser.

– A song: Slide of Your Satin Sheets – Johnny Paycheck.

– A book: Walden – Henry David Thoreau.

– A city: Mexico City, Mexico.

WHAT DOES SELINA PREFER?

  • Ten years in a coma / Ten years in jail 
  • City life / Country life 
  • Talking to animals /  Talking to the dead 
  • Having more time / Having more money 
  • Constantly winter / Constantly summer 
  • Having a family with 5 kids / Not having kids at all 
  • Only eating salty food / Only eating sweet food
  • Waking up in a desert / In a boat in the middle of the Ocean
  • Knowing what you will die of / Knowing what day you will
  • Something organized / Something improvised
  • Visiting the past / Visiting the future
  • To be unable to see / To be unable to hear 
  • Reality / Fiction
  • Light on / Light off 
  • Motorcycle trip / Car trip
  • Never leaving your city / Not being able to return 
  • Continuing with your life / Restarting your life 
  • Being submissive / Being dominant
  • Music concert/ Theater play