• Dreamers + Doers: Sonadora

    Someone like Lisa Garcia, the mastermind behind Sonadora, is an inspiration to anyone who's looking to turn their hobbies into something more. While Lisa started her career as an interior designer, she quickly branched out into other forms of creativity and has tried her hand at product design, art direction, and photo styling, as well as singing in the band Copperfox.

    We visited Lisa's cheerful Nashville studio to chat with the artist about her work (which lined the walls everywhere we looked), and left feeling inspired to step out of our own comfort zones.
    Photos by Stephanie Kincheloe

    How did you get started in working with textiles?
    I had a creative venture making jewelry and started incorporating fiber into my pieces. Working on such a small scale can be tedious and frustrating when experimenting and coming up with new designs so one day I decided to make one of my necklaces into a much larger wall hanging with fiber as the main focus. At the time, most people hadn't seen anything like it (although older people likened it to macrame), but the interest was evident from the get-go and I decided to put my jewelry line on the back burner to pursue my wall hangings. I found a lot of fulfillment in the tactile experience of working with the fiber and showcasing that material in new and bold ways. It just so happened that the fiber movement took off roughly a year after I had started so the timing was perfect to turn it into full-time work.

    How do you describe your work?
    A tactile exploration of shape, value and movement.

    What’s the hardest part about your process? The easiest?
    The hardest part is having a balance between the art and function of “making” and actually running my business. Answering phone calls and emails, dealing with the logistics of packaging and shipment schedules when all I really want to do is create is a constant challenge for me.

    What’s a normal day like for you?
    I get in the studio in the morning and I make myself a pot of tea, turn on some music or a podcast (Serial got me through all of my holiday orders!) and start to play with materials and allow myself the time to experiment before I get to work on fulfilling my orders. Taking that time to myself before I start “work” keeps me inspired and prevents me from getting burned out during busy seasons. I indulge in the reminder that creative exploration is what makes this work so fulfilling.

    How does your background in interior design translate to what you’re doing now?
    Having a design background means I spend less time wondering what does and doesn’t work through trial and error, and more time creating new pieces and running my business. I know the Design Principles like the back of my hand and refer to them often when I’m working on something new. My background in Interiors, specifically, allows me to think of each piece in the greater context of a potential space, its possible future home. How can a piece complement a space without overpowering it? In a world of endless possibilities for an interior, how do I make pieces that fit with different spaces and aesthetics without even seeing them first hand? How do I make timeless, and durable items that will transition with the future owner over time? These are things I'm constantly thinking about which is why you won’t see too much color in my work and why I like to stick to natural fibers whenever possible.

    How do you decide which materials to work with?
    I only bring materials that I love into my studio; it's a hard, fast rule of mine. With that being said, I like to think that whatever material I’m working with has already made the cut, and since assessing color, visual weight and texture are second nature for me now, I tend to piece things together without even thinking about it.

    Do you enjoy working on decorative pieces more or functional pieces?
    I’ve done some product design in the past so I’m constantly looking at objects around me and thinking of new ways of interpreting them. I have notebooks full of sketches of every day home objects reimagined and I hope someday that I have a full line of home goods. For now, I'm really enjoying the art of making the wall hangings. They allow me to explore without the weight of practicality that is necessary for creating functional pieces.

    Do you have a favorite piece you’ve made?
    I made a collection of Art Hangings last spring inspired by Lunar eclipses and feminine mystic symbols. I had no intention of selling them and made them just for the art of making, but more and more people had seen them in my studio and started requesting them. Since they were Art Hangings, they were mostly one of kind and I miss seeing them around the studio.

    How long on average do your pieces take to make?
    There's a bit of a range from half an hour to an entire day in the studio. It's always a balancing act to make pieces that can be reproduced in a reasonable amount of time but my favorites are always the ones that take a very long time to make and are harder to keep in stock.

    Can you tell us your favorite thing about living and working in Nashville?
    The community here is so generous and supportive! I tell everyone that it's easy to thrive here as an artist. There is zero competition and everyone has pride in our community of makers and is generally enthusiastic of new works emerging amongst the makers here.

    Is there a dream project you’d like to work on that you just haven’t started for some reason?
    I would love to do a large scale art exhibit of my work where I’m able to make pieces with more exotic materials and with much larger works with a focus on interaction.

    Do you have any advice for other young creatives out there?
    Just show up every day. If you love something, do it EVERY day. Don’t leave any room for excuses and instead, fill that space with your work. If you believe in your work, continue to do it and live your life in a way that others start to believe in it too.

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