Today we’d like to introduce you to Marcia Menendez.
Hi Marcia, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstory.
I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska and worked for many years as a florist. I’ve always loved color and textures and the way they can play off and enhance each other. When our small family moved to rural Missouri, money was tight. Having been a fan of thrift store shopping since high school, I wanted to be able to update my wardrobe and accessorize it in different ways while still using thrifted items. After a trip to Walmart to buy a sewing machine, I set to work learning how to sew. It wasn’t until a serger was added to my growing stock of machines that I really found my groove.
Now my love of upcycling comes out in so many forms of clothing and accessories. Jackets and skirts, along with purses, scarves, and now tunics, are just a few of the things that come out of my studio. About 90% of my work is from fibers that may have ended up in a landfill. It brings me great joy to share my wearable art with others.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
The road of an artist is rarely smooth. One of the first challenges I had was learning my craft. What can be done and done well is a process. However, I believe I’ve grown so much over the years and continue to grow. When we quit learning and growing, that’s when we become stagnant. So I always aspire to learn more and add new elements to my work. Honestly, though, one of the biggest obstacles I’ve had recently was overcoming the lack of motivation I had during COVID 19. With a lack of shows, down went my motivation. For about 18 months, I didn’t create any new work other than masks. And then one day I was like, “Nope, I have to make something!” Being back behind my serger has brightened my spirit once again.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
My work consists of taking previously loved items and putting a new spin on them so that they become a wearable items of art that will become a staple in your closet. My work is mostly done with a serger. A serger cuts and finishes the edges of the garment. My work has the serging exposed for aesthetic appeal. I use a lot of sweaters that have bold patterns or wild colors, but I use them in addition to a lot of black, grey, and other neutral colors for a fun accent. I also have a love of all things skulls. So I have a line of skulls bags. My work is fun, bright, and non-traditional, which I think helps set me apart.
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
One of the best ways to network is just by talking to other artists. They don’t need to be in the same medium you do to have wonderful ideas and information. Another way is to join artist organizations. I was lucky enough to find so many great people in the Best of Missouri Hands. The Best of Missouri Hands is a statewide organization and has artists from every media. It’s important to remember to put yourself out there. Help others and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. We are all in this crazy life together so why not make it as enjoyable and as easy as we can for one and other.