Nov 1, 2013

Soul Craft: Neena Creates

 Your favorite piece of apparel. It keeps getting softer with wear. Every stitch tells a story. Penelope Valencia, of the Etsy shop, Neena Creates understands the importance of telling your story through your own sense of style. Penelope creates amazing hand-made screen prints of quotes on soft American Apparel clothing so that you can showcase your unique story. She has graciously shared her creative process so that you can learn more about her and her "soul craft".

*What is the process involved in designing a pull-over?

I don’t really have a specific process... I keep in mind the shape/drape of the pullover and make sure that whatever design I print on it stands out and is bold

*How do you design your quotes?

It’s almost like a puzzle. When there is a quote I want to work on, especially if it’s a long sentence or two, I have to factor in the size of the embroidery hoop and also the shirt/tank that I want to print on, then I figure out how the words will fit together. I start to visualize the configuration and then I’ll start sketching it out. Some quotes I’m able to get it how I want it in the first sketch... that’s the best! Most times I have to write it over and over until it just looks right to me, and on occasion a quote won’t look right at all and I’ll have to abandon it for later. 


*Where do you draw your inspiration for your creations?

Definitely from books that I’ve read. The quotes that stand out to me are positive, romantic, and inspirational. I started practicing yoga again after a long hiatus and it’s becoming an important part of my life, so I plan on adding yoga inspired quotes. Also, I’ve been finding so much inspiration from instagram! I love it all whether it’s random people or my friends documenting their everyday lives, professional artists and photographers, or funny memes. Especially for myself when I share my own pics I force myself to be creative about it as much as I can.

*What made you choose American apparel over another brand of clothing on which to put your designs?

I love that American Apparel is made in the USA. They also practice vertical integration, meaning their manufacturing operations are based locally (spinning & dyeing the yarn, sewing the shirts, selling etc). For me this was important because a big part of my business is trying to be as sustainable/eco-friendly as possible. American Apparel is a good fit and gives me a lot of choices in terms of styles of clothing and accessories. Here is a link for more info on their practices
Another reason I love American Apparel is how easy it’s been for me to order from them and how quickly I get my shipments. Since I am located close to their Los Angeles warehouse, I will usually receive my order within a day or two. Other companies can take up to 3-5 days which puts a damper on my order processing times.
I do order on occasion from Alternative Apparel, their eco-friendly line is called Alternative Earth, and I’m always on the lookout for other eco-friendly companies that offer cute styles.

*Do you think you'll branch out to other pieces of clothing such as pants or skirts?

Yes!! I’m currently working on a design for a yoga pant, and I’m looking at dresses and possibly shorts and/or skirts. I definitely want to expand from tees and sweaters.... actually getting around to it is another question!

*What is your favorite book? Who is your favorite author?

Oh no! There is no one or simple answer to this because I love so many different genres and the books I love, I do so equally. However, let me try and make a list of my top 5 favorite books and authors at this very moment:
~Jane Austen/ it’s a tie between Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion
~Janet Fitch/ White Oleander
~JRR Tolkien/ Lord of the Rings Trilogy
~JK Rowling/ Harry Potter
~Charles Duhigg/ The Power of Habit
And I have to give a shout out to a few old school series that I loved and obsessed over when I was younger: Sweet Valley High, Nancy Drew, and Christopher Pike novels.

*What advice can you give to someone starting out in their creative journey?
To believe in yourself and be kind to yourself, and then give that to someone else in return.

1 comment:

Friend, I am honored you stopped by my little corner of the internet and shared your thoughts. I do read every comment and I am paying attention to what is being said. I encourage the feedback. If you have a more personal question I ask that you email me. Thank you!