Support Local: Yerbamala Designs
May 11, 2017Dominique Stewart
We’re blessed to be living in what can only be described as an Artisan and Innovation Renaissance with the overflowing bounty of local makers and innovators that we have at present. It’s impossible to not revel in the countless local businesses that seem to be geared to your specific lifestyle, while on the flip, the market of consumers who are so eager to appreciate your work that it’s hard to say who is the true winner: the maker or the mindful consumer. But in the case of Yerbamala Designs, it’s clear that it’s us, the consumer, that wins each time.
From the restless hands of Alexis Oliva and Yanira Lopez, Yerbamala Designs has been Miami’s go-to for simple, yet decor plant hangers and wall statement pieces. And while we’re not saying that the rise in purchased succulents and other house plants can be attributed to their macramé hangers, we just can’t picture any other way to adorn the greenery in our homes.
What do you guys do and why?
We design and produce macramé pieces, using traditional knotting techniques but with a modern take. Our brand is Eco-Friendly, our pieces are created using recycled cotton cord. We enjoy interior design and our pieces complement all decors, utilizing the vertical space that many times remains unused. Yerbamala Designs allows us that creative collaboration and partnership that we longed for so long. We love working and creating together and the experience is just priceless.
What’s the story on how you met and started working together?
We met in college a little over 20 years ago. We were students at Havana University in Cuba. Shortly after graduation, we migrated to the United States where we eventually started working for corporate America. There has always been a strong interest for the arts and all of its forms, especially visual arts and interior design and in September 2015 while still being part of the corporate world, we decided to launch Yerbamala Designs as a much needed creative outlet. We consider our aesthetic to be half way between “more is more” and “less is more”, as we feel comfortable creating macrame pieces following both trends. Attention to detail and a clean execution are a must in our work.
How did you decide on the name Yerbamala Designs?
We combined two Spanish words Yerba + mala, which literally means “weeds” as in the wild plant that grows everywhere. The resilience found in plants, specifically weeds, has always inspired us not only to seek strength and be resourceful but to also find beauty and inspiration in unexpected places.
How long does it take to finish one piece? Like the Boho Wall Hanging piece?
We are rarely working on just one piece at a time, the process is never linear as we are always multitasking, so it’s hard to accurately time how long completing a piece takes. But I can tell you that wall hangings are specifically time-consuming.
What inspires you?
Our Inspiration comes from all around: Nature – Our house is kind of a jungle, plants everywhere! – Architecture, Mid Century Modern color palettes and patterns, our beloved Havana, our hometown (a city of mixtures and contrasts) and of course, the many flavors and textures Miami has to offer.
What has been your favorite collaboration or piece that you’ve done?
I would have to say our color-block plant hangers. They totally reflect our aesthetic. We love incorporating color into our designs. With something repetitious like macramé, it seems like it would become monotonous halfway through.
Have your curated a playlist to occupy your mind? If so, what are you listening to?
Our taste in music, as well as in design, it’s pretty eclectic. Nina Simone, Gorillaz, Chet Baker, Silvio Rodriguez. Lately, we’ve been dancing a lot to “Down” by Marian Hill.
You both hold workshops currently at West Elm. How did you venture into that realm?
We are very passionate about teaching our craft. We both pursued careers that involved teaching, it’s what we went to school for, so it comes very natural to us. Passing our knowledge onto others is an integral part of what we do and has always been an amazing experience. West Elm has been extremely supportive offering a platform to the local makers community, not only through the LOCAL program but also by hosting pop-ups and classes that connect the makers with a bigger audience.
Why is it important to support local businesses?
Local businesses bring the real flavor of the city, offering and preserving a community’s “one-of-a-kind” feel. The familiarity and sense of community are one of the best features that local businesses offer that chains lack. We are very excited about initiatives like support local that brings both, local business owners are their customers closer. For more information on Yerbamala Designs and their classes, follow them: @yerbamaladesigns .