This week’s interview is with Uruguay-based Lorena Quiroga from Quirogaquiroga who makes sumptuous blankets, cushions, clothing and accessories; the blankets in particular have caught my eye and I would very much enjoy one as a gift (hint, hint to the boyfriend ;))
And now I’ll hand over to Lorena to tell you more about herself and her beautiful work…
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I am Lorena Quiroga, I am 45 years old, married, and I have 3 daughters. I live in Montevideo, the quiet and small capital of Uruguay, a country with lots of open land and lots of sheep. That might be the reason why I’ve always loved wool and its advantages.
How did you get started in your handmade business?
I started working with Textile Design in 1995 while living in Bueno Aires, Argentina. I was studying Graphic Design at the time and my sister and I had the opportunity to design an entire collection of knitted garments for the company we were working for. In 1999 we started working independently and created Quirogaquiroga (making reference to our family last name). Some time later, I decided to move back to Uruguay where I focused completely on the business. Within a year, I was already selling well in Uruguay and exporting my knits to a few countries.
What first made you want to become a designer?
As a child I always loved drawing, coloring, and painting, so I took arts and crafts workshops. As a teenager, I took wood sculpture lessons for 2 years. Later, I moved to Buenos Aires and studied Graphic Design for another 2 years. All those experiences motivated me to get my first job in a clothing store. They quickly offered me work in their factory, where I made my first steps towards becoming a designer.
Apart fom crafts, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Yoga, walking, and enjoying nature, either by myself or with my family. At home, I like drawing, painting, and print making.
How long have you been creating art/crafts and how long have you been selling online?
I have been designing for my brand for 17 years. My first online sale was through Etsy in 2014.
How many different places do you sell from?
In Uruguay, I sell my products at the following places:
Manos del Uruguay (a non profit social organization)
El Canuto: elcanuto.com.uy
Las Molas: www.facebook.com/lasmolas.tiendasolidaria
Largas Charlas: www.facebook.com/Largas-Charlas-1496718147227145/
La Escondida: www.laescondida.com.uy/la_escondida.html
And outside of Uruguay, I sell my products on Etsy:
In ten years, where would you like to be?
In 10 years I would like to be as close to nature as I can. In Uruguay, it would be in the countryside or at the beach. I would like to live in a green place close to the ocean, creating pieces with my own hands.
If you had to recommend one movie, which perhaps isn’t so well known, which one would it be?
One of my favorite movies is David Lynch’s Blue Velvet.
Do you collect anything?
I collect textiles from around the world, some of which were bought whilst traveling. They can be antiques or contemporary, and they all have their own interesting characteristics, such as weaving or knitting techniques (mostly traditional of each place) or materials.
What are three tools in your workspace that you could not live without?
Measuring tape. Various pens and pencils with different colors and lines. Thread colors and wool samples.
If you had the opportunity to learn one more craft you don’t already do, what would it be?
I would like to learn Macramé, different embroidery techniques, and calligraphy.