I first came to Australia in 1996 with my husband, so we could study English. Nine years later, after we had two children, we returned to Chile.
We were happy there—until the 2010 earthquake. It was an 8.4 shock, and our house was destroyed. So we then decided to return to Australia. There are opportunities here.
I had worked both in Chile and in Australia. When we returned to Australia, however, I did not leave my home for a long time. Luckily, two sisters, Alejandra and Anite said, “Oh, we’re part of SisterWorks, why don’t you join?” and I said, “Yeah, sure.” I had been knitting and crocheting at home for about a year, but I’d never made jewellery before; that’s what I’m doing now. I had learned knitting as a student in convent school.
My SisterWorks mentor helped me focus when I felt confused about doing too many crafts projects. She helped me decide: what are the skills I do best?
I learned to develop my own style. I use fabric and beads in my jewellery, and crochet the wire. I learned to do some very difficult stitches.
When I first began selling in markets, my mind went blank, which is funny, because in Chile I used to sell wine. It was hard for me to sell my own jewellery. A SisterWorks volunteer taught me how to talk to people, because when you make things you have to sell them, and you must have the passion to talk about what you do so people listen to you.
I’m going to markets more often now. This has been an excellent experience. You meet lots of people, your English improves, you develop contacts, learn to sell on the web. This is what SisterWorks has done for me.
I have been developing my jewellery using new materials and techniques.
I am not using sterling silver wire, which is not only suitable for people with sensitive skin, but refines my products. Additionally I use non-tarnish wire, lapizlazuli and semi-precious stones. When I first started making jewellery I used fabric and cotton thread, and I have reincorporated these elements into my new designs.
I continue to sell my jewellery at SisterWorks, markets, Global Sisters, Hawthorn Gallery and the Bini Gallery. I was also contacted through instagram to take part in RAW Verve; a platform where independent artists can showcase their skills and work. This provides me with a good opportunity to travel and sell my products in diverse locations.
I am continuing to build up my online brand, developing my instagram and marketing skills. In developing my work and taking classes, I am constantly being exposed to my opportunities that I was not previously aware of.
In the future, I see myself in a small store, selling not only my products, but also other items imported from Chile—including wonderful jewellery made of wheat; a native Chilean product.