I’ve always called myself a writer first. It was the one thing I loved doing and — thanks to the affirmation of my parents, sisters, teachers, friends, publishers and later on my magazine and book readers — something I did well. As of late, however, I have been drawn to other art forms: sewing, silkscreen printing, paper cutting and sketching. I do think that the process of creating them requires a certain measure of storytelling. Before I make a plushie, I sketch it out the way I would a draft or story synopsis. Who was this character, what did he like to do, and who were his friends? What would he wear? From there, I refined the sketch and added details: berets, curly mustaches, a ballerina tutu, rosy cheeks. This is akin to a writer filling his story with descriptions, little details that make the words more vivid in the reader’s imagination. And then I select my materials: I peek into my salmon-colored suitcase filled with knits, felt, linen, cotton and a few small scraps of Abel Iloco woven textile. Then I decide on the swatches that would bring my character to life.
For Salvador, I used wool felt and embroidery. During the actual sewing process, I improvised on certain details. I may have had a plan on paper, but sometimes I allow myself to tweak and alter a few things as I please during actual production. As a writer, I have become aware of how a story can take on a life of its own and prod me, the author, to follow its lead (even if it means veering away from the original outline).
So whether you sew, sketch or scribble stories, there are parallels to the creative process. And yet, each and every experience will be unique. And that’s what makes it so much fun.