It's not everyday we come across an artist that is a full time grad student, has a full time day job, and still has time to create the most adorable hand-tufted and embroidered pieces - that is until Ana Rodriguez. She took some time out of her busy schedule to discuss moving to find comfort and the joy of creating for herself and no one else.
Where did you grow up?
I moved around a lot! I was born in France, moved to the US, and went to 6 different schools by middle school. I’ve spent the most time in Washington state, which is where I’m currently based.
What does home mean to you?
Home has always been about the people and objects in my space, but I’ve been thinking more about the space itself since Covid began! My girlfriend and I spent the first 6 months of lockdown in our tiny 200 sq. ft studio apartment in Manhattan. It was home, but it didn’t feel very homey. We recently moved into a new place in Seattle where we have more space and a lot of light in our home! Every room is painted a different color and I love it. We’ve gotten really creative about setting up a comfortable space - we fixed up broken tables and reupholstered chairs so we could spend all our money on cozy things like a comfy couch and soft pillows.
How do you start your day?
I make myself a cup of coffee and drink it on the porch! Seattle is chilly so I’m usually bundled up in blankets and using the cat as a small heater.
How do you practice self-care?
Finding time for art is a huge part of my self care. I’m currently working a full time job plus full time grad school at night. Making time to listen to a podcast and craft something is the best thing I can do for myself. I also love running, good drinks, and my therapist.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your work.
I’m inspired by the rug making process itself! It’s so fun and tactile and it reminds me of everything else that I love. I get inspired by anything that makes me feel good - soft things, bodies, fruit, comforting spaces, and nice colors.
How does creating give you joy?
I get a lot of joy from the physical aspects of rug making and embroidery. Making a rug involves my whole body. It’s also a really organized process, which is really satisfying to me.
What are some tips you'd give to artists who are trying to find their voice?
Don’t force anything! When I started selling my work, I took a lot of commissions for people just to get more of my stuff out in the world. I quickly realized that I don’t enjoy making other people’s ideas nearly as much as I enjoy making my own ideas, and I think it showed in the work. Now, I’m ok saying no to custom work if it doesn’t feel right to me and it’s helped me refine my voice. I also work at my own pace and try to give myself wiggle room for big projects so I always feel my best when I’m working.