MEET THE MAKER: THE SISTERS BEHIND CROSSING THREADS
Sometimes in the design industry, you meet people who are so creative, so talented and so innovative that you get excited just thinking about working with them... we've just experienced all this and more teaming up with Lauren and Kass, the sister duo behind Crossing Threads. We came to them gushing about a beautiful piece we spied on their Instagram feed a few months earlier and wanted them to create something similar albeit larger for our development project in Byron Bay. They set to work, weaving up our incredible custom piece (tune into our Instagram for a sneak peek)...we are so excited to introduce you to the Crossing Threads team.
Who are you?
Lauren Hernandez, 29 years old
Kass Hernandez, 28 years old
We are the first Australian-born generation from migrant parents who emigrated from the Philippines. We grew up in the suburbs of South Western Sydney and now live in the inner city.
Lauren comes from a creative background, working full-time as a Designer in the advertising industry and has extensive experience in fashion/prop styling, photography, and blogging. Crossing Threads has not only become another outlet to flex her creative muscle, but also a platform to practice her accumulative experience in design and marketing.
Kass has a background in client service and finance. She currently leads a full-time project delivery role in the implementation of trading software to clients in financial markets. Crossing Threads has become a rewarding outlet for Kass to explore creatively and freely in comparison to the corporate and demanding environment she faces at work.
Where do you live?
Lauren: I’m based in Zetland, a great spot in inner-east Sydney, super close to all the hot spots that Redfern, Alexandria, Waterloo and Surry Hills have to offer, plus easy access to the bike lanes to Centennial Park. There’s a good balance between the developed living clusters like East Village and charming terrace houses that have been here for years. I love how nearly every street is lined with gum trees and native flora. Mother Nature still prevails in the inner-east and lucky for me, my street is super quiet only to be woken by birds chirping loudly in the mornings.
Kass: I live in the inner-west hub of Ashfield that is 15 minutes out from the CBD, but is just far out that has the leafy and nostalgic family feeling of suburbia. Given that I work full time in Barangaroo, it is a quick train commute and is close to other eclectic surrounding suburbs that have lovely cafes and brunch hotspots. We live in a 200-year-old art deco, 4-block apartment block with high ceilings of which my bohemian living room/studio blurs the boundaries of work, rest and play.
How did you get into weaving?
Lauren: I’ll let Kass answer this one!...
Kass: In early 2015, I bought Lauren and I a weaving workshop with Natalie Miller for her birthday. It was hosted in Koskela, Alexandria. Growing up, my sister and I have always shared a passion for art and textiles and this was another opportunity for us to bond and learn something new together. We immediately caught ‘weaver-fever’ as they say, and started to experiment with fibre and find our own aesthetic and style. Given that we both lead totally different career paths, it has been a serendipitous surprise that Crossing Threads has grown to be a hungry, successful side business. What drives me to create is the meditative feeling that I get from the practice that provides such a fulfilling balance to all other aspects of my life. For Lauren, Crossing Threads has been a platform for her to practice her accumulative experience in Creative Direction, Social Media Strategy, Content Creation and Styling, not to mention allow her to express herself creatively versus her full-time commercial role in advertising.
Where did the idea for Crossing Threads come from?
Crossing Threads aims to inspire, evoke emotion and conjure up memories; celebrating the innate connection that we are all threads which make up the tapestry of life.
"Create, Connect, Cross Over" is the ethos and manifesto behind our practice of Crossing Threads and as artists.
Each of our pieces is birthed from past or present experiences. What we are currently experiencing in our personal lives and our commentary on the world around us. Emotion is paramount in each of our works and is the driving force to inspire the way we weave and what we weave. Through fibre, we breathe with our hands and allow our inner conversations to come out and take a life of their own. Each work is a fibre dialogue where the viewer can interpret as they wish. We aim to inspire people to look inwards into their mind and lives and hope to unveil any hidden struggles/dialogue and be able to confront them or at least shed light on what was once kept in the dark. To 'cross over' is the ability for us to transcend barriers whether they be geographic, cultural, age difference and emotional.
Most siblings wouldn’t dream of working together, let alone run a business together- what’s your secret?
Whenever we reflect on how far we have come since the beginning (but also what is yet to come), we are grateful to be able to share this creative journey with each other; both the ups and downs. Being only a year and one month apart, we have always been attached at the hip ever since we were young. Being able to unconditionally love and trust each other, we believe has been the driving factor in our success as business partners. But let’s not forget that given that we intimately know each other’s strengths and weaknesses, this can simultaneously both play to our advantages and at our expense. However being able to honestly and openly communicate with each other on a daily basis, allows us to identify areas that we can improve on together. It is never easy hearing the truth when you don’t want to accept it, but our ability to compromise is a skill we continue to cultivate over time. We have learned to never undervalue the importance of checking in with each other and to ensure that we carve out some ‘sister time’ outside of working on Crossing Threads. Underpinned by our shared sense of strong work ethic, we see that the creativity, quality of our work and productivity increases when our relationship is thriving through continually pushing each other to become the best version of ourselves.
Where does your inspiration come from?
Lauren: I’ve always been a creative person since I could remember. To see an end result is something I always strive for; to see my ideas come to life and realised, knowing I am the sole creator of it. It purely is self-expression and the process itself, it just as important as the end result. Since I exercise my creative muscle in my full-time role in advertising, weaving has become a different creative outlet. For more than 8 hours a day, I literally push pixels around on-screen, and to finally have something tangible in my hands like fibre, it brings me peace. It’s almost like I have to put down my day-to-day tools… and then immerse myself into something new yet familiar.
I am inspired by utmost everything. Mother Nature, beautiful vignettes on my walk to work, music, and friends that I find empowering and pushing themselves out of their comfort zone.
Kass: I draw inspiration from the various textile pieces that I have collected from my travels. From the craftsmanship used to create such pieces, to how they interact with each other, this is always the balance that I strive to achieve in my work. The neutral palette is one that I thoroughly enjoy working with. It challenges us to create depth and contrast through a variety of textures. Foraged, knotted, woven and interwined = ‘INTERKNOT’, a technique that I created through experimentation and one that has become a distinctive signature look for Crossing Threads. The meditative process and how weaving makes me feel 'present' in the moment is what motivates me to create, and I just can't stop!
How important are materials to your work?
The majority of the fibre we use is Australian wool and sourced from Australian woolgrowers and suppliers such as Nundle Woollen Mill and the great team at ‘Morris & Sons’. Wool has always been our number one preference as it not only feels better to work with but also has an authentic finish. Buying local is important to us to help support the few Aussie mills left in Oz. With that said, we also like to opt for a more sustainable practice where possible and use a variety of up-cycled fabrics, thrifted fibres and discarded materials we have collected along the way.
Using upholstery samples, discontinued materials, leather off-cuts and old clothing raise feelings of excitement and resourcefulness, challenging us to make something out of once was ‘waste’ and being open to the ‘surprise and delight’ beauty that can come from it. The result of using these up-cycled materials mixed in with luxe fibres sets our aesthetic apart, being a unique point of difference which is hard to replicate, retaining its integrity and individuality.
What are your favourite pieces to complete?
Our favourite pieces to create are commissions pieces where our clients entrust us with creative reign and allow us the opportunity to create and "work our magic". Most of our commission pieces have stemmed from a self-initiated, personal piece either one of us has created. When we create without forced direction, we feel the execution is more organic and intuitive. There is a 'surprise and delight' in the creative process, which often results in new techniques and innovations. Our favourite pieces we have created to date are 'THE DIVIDE', 'SURRENDER' and 'UNDERGROWTH' - all pieces created during a difficult time of pain/grief/compromise/growth.
Do you plan your pieces out in advance or do they happen organically through the weaving process?
It all depends if it is a commission piece or a personal one. We always strive to carve out time to create for ourselves, as we are artists who yearn to express what words cannot tell. If it is a commission piece, we go through the motions any commercial work entails, as we would like to create a piece which truly resonates with them. A piece they will love. Here go to the effort in understanding the client's needs, preferences, and timings. We have been privileged to work with clients who would rather let us have creative reign and let the organic process of weaving take form. It really is magical when we install a weave and stand in front of it with our client and soak up the end result. Weaving for us is moving meditation and also a spiritual practice. Art is an act of prayer. To share this with a client and manifest their vision in a one-of-a-kind piece is rewarding.
What’s your design advice for people wanting to add one of your pieces to their homes?
Our advice is to go with your gut. Your home is your sanctuary. We understand that what you choose to have in your sacred space is really personal and art is too. The piece should speak to you. Reveal something new, put a smile on your dial or simply be a reminder of hope or a time in your life that is important to you. Our pieces are birthed from emotion. It is here we believe our Crossing Threads ethos of 'Create, Connect, Cross Over' will spark something within. If you would like us to go with you on that journey in creating a piece which resonates with you, it would be our pleasure!
What are your favourite things?
Lauren: Coffee and carbs. Waking up next to my partner Tim. Riding my bike without a care in the world. Family time. Milk Beach, Sydney.
Kass: My favourite things are practicing yoga, eating different foods and sharing it with people I love. Dried mangoes and the Museum of Contemporary Art. During the weekend I love visiting contemporary art galleries to find inspiration
What can you both not live without?
Ahhh that's easy! EACH OTHER! There's a quote belief wholeheartedly in - "The greatest gift a parent can give a child is a sibling." It may sound a little too sentimental but we are blessed to share what we have created with one another; she's friend for life! Other things include coffee, inspiring podcasts, weaving and quality time with family and friends.
You can explore more of Crossing Threads amazing works on their website.