ADDRESS Interview with Erica Leal.

Define your craft in 3 sentences or less. Reformed forms handcrafted in Vancouver. Printed sterling silver cast and finished with cut acrylic inlay. Shaping worlds you can wear.

Describe your creative process. I don’t know if I have a set process, but I tend to make pieces that take a long time to finish, so I’ll often be working on something and daydreaming about the next thing I plan to make. Living in the present, ya know? I’ll sometimes sketch ideas, but I think the most interesting aspects take shape through experimentation and play. Because I’m working in a three-dimensional medium I find it hard to fully realize a piece in a sketch, so I’ll often make rough prototypes with materials I have on hand and later refine them using modeling software to ensure that the dimensions works. There’s definitely a trial and error stage that I try to enjoy until the ball gets moving.

Where do you find inspiration when experiencing a creative block? I know that feeling stressed is never a great help for me, so I try to make use of lighter moods and relaxed moments. I go through creative bursts and lulls, so I keep a journal around to jot down interests and revisit them later. I push myself to keep moving in one way or another, when I’m not feeling inspired to create something new I’ll remake an old piece as an experiment or seek out a new skill.  It’s also helpful to just participate in the creative world (go to a museum, read, watch a film, check out what weird things animals make) and remind myself that making things is something that people have been doing for a long time as a reaction to their surroundings, and that I’m a person of this moment with a different outlook and new tools to use. I try to trust that my output will naturally be my own and of today.

What advice would you give to young designers / makers / artists / creatives aspiring to make it in their field? I remember a jeweller telling me not to expect things to happen overnight when I was in school and not taking those words seriously, but I’ve definitely thought of that advice since. I suppose I would just say be hopeful and keep going. Make progress when you can, even if that means frustrating baby steps. Building a business can feel like an endurance sport sometimes but my advice would be to keep your eye on where you want to be and try not compare yourself to others.

What’s your dream project? At the moment I think my dream project is to have a functioning studio that provides a safe work space for myself and others. We spend so much of our lives at work – it would be great to create a pleasant space where people can feel empowered and hone their skills. I suppose that’s where ‘shaping worlds you can wear’ comes in.

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