Hi, I’m Victoria !
I’m so happy you’re here! I’m a creative mom of three and and I want to share with you how I was able to transfer my creative fashion design background and turn it into the most amazing creative outlet that allowed me to find joy and excitement in the everyday stay at home mama routine, giving me and my kids a constant fun and joyful environment to be in.
My beautiful three kids, a constant source of inspiration and fun!
I started motherhood determined to be the perfect mom. However, I found out that such thing doesn’t really exist and I found myself becoming increasingly overwhelmed and confused.
What I really wanted was to be a fun and present mom. I wanted to be the kind of mom that my kids would remember as playing with them, creating fun new things with them and most importantly being really loving towards them.
But the demands of the every day mom routine somehow created a mental fog and I couldn’t access my creative fun side any more. I am originally from Argentina and had worked in the Fashion industry in Buenos Aires, London and Auckland NZ until my first son was 2. I was used to the excitement, the networking and the surprises that my job had always brought into my life. However, when my first son was born I knew that I couldn’t carry on doing the type of work I had done until then and I started working as a fashion design lecturer in Auckland, New Zealand. By the time my son was 2 years old my husband was offered a three year posting in Hong Kong so we packed up, I quit my job and that was the start of me being a full time mom for the following ten years. I loved our time in Hong Kong and it was where our second son was born, however I found myself living in an expat compound surrounded by people that I didn’t know and I had a very hard time feeling any kind of belonging to anything while I was there. The demands of two young boys combined with being uprooted once again from my familiar environment and a husband that worked very long hours took a toll on me and without really noticing it I became bored with my life and I became a boring mama. It wasn’t easy because having always been a creative person, my identity was linked to creativity. Becoming a mom somehow changed that important part of me and created an identity crisis that was affecting me, my relationship with my kids and our family life.
Snapshots from my workroom. Techniques include Eco Dye, Eco print and textile collage.
One day while giving breakfast to my kids I found myself hoping that the day would go fast so that I could go back into bed and read my exciting book. When I realized what was happening I started to cry. What kind of mom was I? I was supposed to be looking forward to the day with my kids, to have fun with them and to create nice memories and exciting moments for us. It took me a while to process this realization of how boring and how removed I had become from my kids and from my life. It was not a nice moment. But a necessary one. I decided that something had to change and that it was up to me to create a beautiful life for my kids and for myself.
I needed to connect with my life in a meaningful way and I knew that if I connected with the new environment around me it would give me a sense of interaction and participation, after all I had been very happy in two different countries before which had been new to me at the beginning. I knew how to connect and interact with new cultures. So I decided to embark in little trips across the border from Hong Kong into China and beyond as a way to explore and have fun with my boys while my husband was working. Having worked in the fashion industry for so many years I naturally had an interest to discover Chinese crafts and textiles and I was hoping to show my boys how beautiful traditional textiles and garments were produced in China.
These trips turned out to be fun and a great way to connect with our surroundings. We traveled further away to Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. My kids were so excited about all the new things around them that I decided to journal every little comment they made. That ended up being the inspiration for writing and illustrating the “Saffron” series which was published by Penguin and awarded a couple of prestigious international awards as my kids were growing up.
But in the process of traveling, I discovered something that I was not expecting. The traditional crafts that I was hoping to find and learn were nowhere to be found and everything was being sold in big numbers and at ridiculously cheap prices. I was so disappointed.
Just before returning back to New Zealand I had made up my mind. I would not return to work in the fashion industry which produced fast cheap stuff. I would slowly work my way into slow thoughtful crafts that had meaning and feelings attached to them, just like the clothes my grandma used to make us (which are still in my wardrobe after all these years). We returned to New Zealand and my daughter was born. It made it even more important for me to show my three kids that old values are worth celebrating and sustaining. I wrote my books in which I shared with kids my love for culture and crafts. The problem was that I really didn’t know any crafts. So I started searching for people that could teach me. It wasn’t easy because living in New Zealand you are literally 12 hours plane trip away from most places and having three children and no second income was a big hurdle to overcome. However, for the next five years I devoted any free time I had to learn old sustainable dyeing techniques and textile crafts from books since I was alone at home with three kids and it was impossible for me to leave the house (online courses didn’t exist back then). I made a thousand mistakes and produced another thousand failed attempts. It’s fair to say that my moto was “lets try and see what happens”. My kids thought it was the most fun and exciting thing to be part of the experimenting process and we created a lot of fun and meaningful moments which we all treasure and we like looking back to. I managed to combine a couple of family get togethers in South America to learn traditional indigenous weaving methods as a way to understand, learn and celebrate old knowledge and as a result my three children have a great appreciation for sustaining this planet, sustaining and celebrating crafts and traditional methods and most importantly respecting the people involved in the production of any item.
My little experiments
Colour samples from experimenting with Eco dyeing cotton, wool and silk with dyes extracted from my garden and my family’s food waste 🙂 The little girl in the previous photos is growing up and she is my best little assistant!
My oldest son is now 16 years old and my youngest is 8 and I now spend most of my time teaching and lecturing in Fashion Sustainability. I have created community projects that incorporate textile crafts, social work and collaborate with the fashion industry combining my love for craftsmanship, fashion and sustainability.
My years of experimentation have allowed me to create a library of easy and eco-friendly craft techniques and has enabled me to re-connect with my own source of creativity and to find joy and excitement in my everyday mama routine. Most importantly it has created a joyful space for me to have fun with my kids, to appreciate them, and to share with them a moment of learning together that has brought a lot of happy moments into our lives.