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Craft With Conscience: Trini Guzmán

Craft With Conscience

'Craft With Conscience' began in early 2016 as a weekly Instagram series dedicated to sharing the work of other creatives and as a platform to openly discuss certain aspects of ethical art-making and consuming in the age of the internet and social media.  

This series arose out of my own frustrations related to seeing my work constantly copied stitch-for-stitch, sold without permission, and credited to other people.  Rather than wallowing in unproductive negative emotions, I wanted to find a way to bring this common issue to light in a positive way.  My solution was to share the work of artists, crafters, designers, and makers who I greatly admire for their originality and dedication. Initially, I shared work similar in materials or subject matter to my own, having heard the argument, "There are only so many ways to stitch plants, I'm not copying you..." one too many times.  The truth is, no matter what the medium or subject, every artist from hobby crafter to professional painter has their own perspective and voice. It takes effort to develop one's visual vocabulary and it can be disheartening when your's is taken and misused by other individuals and sometimes larger companies.

All that being said, now is an incredible time for working artists because of the vast resources of the internet including sources of inspiration, the ability to reach a large and global audience, and as a community building tool. As you may know, I love sharing my work on Instagram and following other makers. It's a wonderful way to connect with other artists, be inspired, and feel supported, but we all need to be aware of how we use these resources and what effect it may have on others.

Since the start of 2016, 'Craft With Conscience' has grown and evolved just like any other creative pursuit and has recently expanded to include short interviews with featured artists. I've asked participating artists a series of questions about their studio process, sources of inspiration, and how image-sharing sites like Instagram and Pinterest influence and affect them. I hope you read on to see what they have to say!

Craft With Conscience: Trini Guzmán

Sarah Benning


Trini Guzmán // Fiber Artist // Santiago Chile

 Trini is a multidisciplinary artist from Chile. From large scale murals to embroidery, her work is a continuous exploration that seeks to push the limits of her own possibilities and interests, using bold colors and intricate textures. Over the last years she has been focusing on fiber art, something that has always called her attention and that she now shares through her project Cosío, Bordao, Tejío (that means sewn, embroidered and knitted in Chilean). She also shares her personal experience about creativity through  teaching embroidery classes and in her book The Embroidery Revolution.

Check out more of her amazing work on her website, her Instagram, or @casiobordaotejio.


1. I began my #CraftWithConscience series as a way to simultaneously promote the work of other makers and to discuss the complicated issues surrounding creative inspiration and developing one’s own visual vocabulary. The internet is an ever growing fixture in many artists’ lives and businesses, could you talk about the role the internet plays in your artistic and professional life?

 For me it's a wonderful way to share my creative process, to look at my artwork from a different perspective and to give my pieces a parallel life, since they not only live between the walls of my studio, but also start having a digital life, where they travel and connect with people and opportunities, multiplying their possibilities. The visibility the internet gives is amazing, and I love how it can bring people, art and projects closer when used in a positive way. It also has given me the opportunity to work from home, to promote my classes and to dedicate full time to one of the things I love the most, that is embroidery. I also enjoy the possibility of following artists I admire, and watch the process they share and to see how we all share similar things with art, whether it's bliss or difficulties.


2. Where do you find inspiration for your work?  In what ways has the internet and/or social media impacted your design process?

 I enjoy improvising, not having everything figured out is an absolute part of my design process and nature has always been a starting point for me when looking for inspiration. Also traveling, since it has given me the opportunity to experience different cultures, landscapes and even color palettes that shake me out of what I am used to on a daily basis, that is truly inspiring. The internet also gets me closer to those different places and people, offering a wide range of inspiration and where I also learn continuously from others. It can also be a huge distraction that I try to avoid in order to optimize my focus, even though that is not easy at all because I get distracted doing several things at the same time.

I must say that the impact of the internet and social media has been positive and I'm really grateful for the ways it has boosted the scope of my work.


3. How have you, as an artist, found your creative voice?

Learning to recognize my fears, frustrations and insecurities has been key.  Realizing them has helped me, not to get rid of them, but to be aware of my own limitations in order to take action and not to get paralysed by them. This has made me feel more empowered, even though it's from one of my most vulnerable places. I think our creative voice is in constant change and evolution, and its not only built from our bright sides but also from our shadows.

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4. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram are popular places for artists’ to share their own work. They also act as public visual archives, often leading to creative work by others that walks the line between ‘inspiration’ and ‘infringement.’ Have you encountered copies of your work online and how does it affect you? What are your strategies for dealing with it?

I have stumbled upon situations like this, and at first it was really shocking to see there was not even a mention of the origin of the image, and I felt my work and authorship was being completely disrespected. Then I realized there is absolutely no control over the destiny the image of our artworks may have: they can reach marvellous opportunities and they also risk to be disrespected and copied. I love sharing what I do and what I know, and I prefer to be trusting than fearful that I might get copied and not share anything at all. I think social media also has the power to create awareness that behind an image there is a person working hard that deserves respect. I focus my energy on creativity and the people that genuinely celebrate it.


5. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists or creative business people?

I remember a moment when I was younger, after completing art school, working in many diverse activities, like selling cupcakes I made or working at some random store to earn money, while simultaneously trying to develop my artwork in my spare time. I asked myself constantly how to really dedicate to arts and live from it, fearing that it was so hard and impossible and something only a few could enjoy.

I realized then that I have studied arts to work full time at it, not at something else. Creativity was my passion and I saw very clearly that that was the road I wanted to build for myself. So I decided to drop all the other random activities that I was doing to dedicate full time to arts, and I declared to myself that I would fully try that year. If it didn't work, if I got disappointed, only then I would let myself work in whatever any other random thing, but first I had to try putting all my energy and focus on arts, putting fear aside. Its been 7 years since that conversation with myself, and since then I have worked and lived doing different projects I love, all related to arts and creativity. It hasn't been easy all the time, but I have enjoyed it! So my advice would be before giving up on what you love and what you dream, give it a full year, putting all your focus and energy on that, and only then decide whether it is you want to keep trying or abandon at all. It's a road built on perseverance and on self discovery. It will put you to test plenty of times, constantly asking if you are truly willing to insist. So its important to align the heart, thoughts and guts of ourselves and insist!



6. Do you have any favorite blogs, artists, or Instagram accounts that you’d like to share?

Oh there are so many artists I follow now that I admire in the most diverse areas. Plenty of them have been featured in the Craft with Conscience series, Also I can think of the following: