INTERVIEW

Interview with Artist

Cassandra Mayela

 

 

Cassandra Mayela is a textile artist based in New York who explores themes of identity, migration, and belonging in her work. Her sculpture Maps of Displacement is currently on display at the Mara Hoffman store in Soho, New York until the end of August.

 

MH: Can you introduce yourself?


CM: My name is Cassandra Mayela, I'm originally from Venezuela. I've been in New York for eight years now.

Can you tell us about the piece that's in the store?


CM: This is the first sculpture for my project Maps of Displacement  which I've been working on for three years. The project is to chart Venezualan displacement across the United States and this piece reflects the displacement of people to the city of New York.

 

Essentially, I collect clothing from Venezuelan immigrants who have relocated, something that the person connects to feels identified with, or that somehow can mirror their migratory experience. So you can see, that could be anything from a stuffed animal, bikinis, formal shirts, and things from the Caribbean, where we grew up. The textiles are then cut and woven into the piece. This piece features 110 collected garments that belonged to 110 people. I am currently working on the Florida one. I hope at some point to do people across the globe, but in time.

INTERVIEW

Interview with Artist
Cassandra Mayela

 

 

Cassandra Mayela is a textile artist based in New York who explores themes of identity, migration, and belonging in her work. Her sculpture Maps of Displacement is currently on display at the Mara Hoffman store in Soho, New York until the end of August.

 

MH: Can you introduce yourself?


CM: My name is Cassandra Mayela, I'm originally from Venezuela. I've been in New York for eight years now.

Can you tell us about the piece that's in the store?


CM: This is the first sculpture for my project Maps of Displacement  which I've been working on for three years. The project is to chart Venezualan displacement across the United States and this piece reflects the displacement of people to the city of New York.

 

Essentially, I collect clothing from Venezuelan immigrants who have relocated, something that the person connects to feels identified with, or that somehow can mirror their migratory experience. So you can see, that could be anything from a stuffed animal, bikinis, formal shirts, and things from the Caribbean, where we grew up. The textiles are then cut and woven into the piece. This piece features 110 collected garments that belonged to 110 people. I am currently working on the Florida one. I hope at some point to do people across the globe, but in time.

 

How did you begin working with textiles?


CM: I began working with textiles when I was nine, or seven, somewhere around there. My mom was terrified of me, I would ruin my clothes, I would stain them, dye them, paint them, cut them just to try to make something new. She enrolled me in several extracurricular classes and I learned how to weave and stitch and things like that. But as a practice, I began to take it seriously, five years ago. I've been self-taught with everything that I do.

How did you begin working with textiles?


CM: I began working with textiles when I was nine, or seven, somewhere around there. My mom was terrified of me, I would ruin my clothes, I would stain them, dye them, paint them, cut them just to try to make something new. She enrolled me in several extracurricular classes and I learned how to weave and stitch and things like that. But as a practice, I began to take it seriously, five years ago. I've been self-taught with everything that I do.

Tell us about your creative process. How does it start? Where does this all begin for you?


CM:
Basically, my boyfriend has the perfect description for how I get in a groove and start working seriously on something: I have to clean my house. First, I do the dishes, I sweep, it takes like an hour to get into it. Then I just go to the studio and really just start touching materials, seeing the color, how textures feel and smell. It's very tactile, and it's very interactive with the material that I have.

 

For this piece, I don't really have much control over the color palette, or the textures, or the quality of the fabric, etc, because I'm receiving the garments, so it really depends on what I have available. I cut everything in strips and hang it in my studio, that way I can see my color palette and start weaving and composing. I guess it's been fun.

“I'm deeply inspired by materials and people, I think living in New York is so nourishing.”

What would you say nourishes your creativity?


CM: Rest. I have to be well rested in order to start anything or start thinking about anything. But I'm deeply inspired by materials and people, I think living in New York is so nourishing, you get inspired. Every corner that you turn around there is fashion and dirt and the city and heat and everything is colliding in this space.

Tell us about your creative process. How does it start? Where does this all begin for you?


CM:
Basically, my boyfriend has the perfect description for how I get in a groove and start working seriously on something: I have to clean my house. First, I do the dishes, I sweep, it takes like an hour to get into it. Then I just go to the studio and really just start touching materials, seeing the color, how textures feel and smell. It's very tactile, and it's very interactive with the material that I have.

 

For this piece, I don't really have much control over the color palette, or the textures, or the quality of the fabric, etc, because I'm receiving the garments, so it really depends on what I have available. I cut everything in strips and hang it in my studio, that way I can see my color palette and start weaving and composing. I guess it's been fun.

“I'm deeply inspired by materials and people, I think living in New York is so nourishing.”

What would you say nourishes your creativity?


CM: Rest. I have to be well rested in order to start anything or start thinking about anything. But I'm deeply inspired by materials and people, I think living in New York is so nourishing, you get inspired. Every corner that you turn around there is fashion and dirt and the city and heat and everything is colliding in this space.

Shop Cassandra's Look

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