Gloria Mercado-Martín of Lolailo makes lovely recycled message boards. In fact, I featured one of her wine cork boards in a Friday Roundup not too long ago.
1. Tell me about how you got started crafting.
My mom is a very creative person, and we always had a project of some sort going for as long as I can remember. She encouraged us to look at things differently. I remember there was an old wicker basket around the house, a bit dirty and with the handle coming apart. My mom cut the handle out, painted the basket in gold, and took it to the glaziers to have a mirror installed. Then she glued some straw flowers around the edge. From an old basket in its last legs, she created a mirror that graces her house to this day. I also remember how she found a brick in the street, and used it as a utensil holder in the kitchen.
I grew up in Spain, which is cradle to many, many artists and craftspeople. It was rare to find a woman who didn’t crochet, knit, embroider, paint, etc. Women of the generation of my mom had very craft-oriented hobbies, and that made me curious as well. I think our accelerated lifestyles of today have distanced us from crafting, but on my last trip home I was walking down the street with my sister, and through an open window we could see a young woman, maybe in her 20s, painting some wooden birdhouses. We had to smile, because it brought us some nice memories.
2. What draws you to eco-friendly materials?
Again, my mom. She was recycling before it became fashionable. My sister and I would do our homework rough drafts or calculations on the back of whatever junk mail had arrived that day. My mom would wash and save aluminum foil from the supermarket (which used to drive me crazy!!). Her example, plus her want not, waste not attitude gave us a sense of responsibility towards our environment.
3. What inspires you?
We are the recipients of many sources of inspiration. I have a degree in Winemaking, and have worked in the wine industry for a while. Ultimately, I was mostly inspired by the abundance of corks around me. I could not stand seeing the corks end up in the trash can after a tasting. I started to gather them. Then I explored what I could use them for. I asked around, saw examples, and started experimenting. The possibilities turned out to be plentiful.
4. Who are your crafty heroes?
Obviously, my mom! I also have a brother-in-law who is a painter, and I love his artistic brain. He is able to look at a cardboard box and see a mask, or a few scraps of wood and see a superhero. I wish I had those kinds of neurons.
5. Where can folks find your work?
I have a small store at Etsy!
Are you an eco-friendly crafter? If you’d like to be interviewed as part of the 5 Questions series, just contact me!
Hi there! My name is Becky Striepe (pronounced “stree-pee,” like “sleepy”), and I am a freelance writer and vegan crafter living in Atlanta, Georgia. My life’s mission is to make green crafting and vegan food accessible to everyone! Check out my new book: 40 Days of Green Smoothies!