Wednesday, October 5, 2011

What happens when two artists create a human?

I don't know a thing about kids, but what my 18-month-old daughter does with a paper and pen seems weird to me.

First of all, she thinks Crayons and markers are stupid, and she demands a ballpoint pen (which is obviously an eyeball-poking hazard, but remember, I don't know anything about kids). Then she puts her face 1 inch from the paper and draws -- for like an hour or more, uninterrupted -- the tiniest, most intricate loops and swirls that I've ever seen. No scribbling. Just these hyperfocused hieroglyphics that are probably the key to the center of the Earth.

As a mom, I'd like to assume this means my kid is a savant whose incredible brain capacity future generations will study in awe -- and not a future serial killer, the line between which is terrifyingly fine.
But the truth is probably somewhere in between the two extremes, and she's probably just copying what she sees around the house.

As a geriatric Luddite at heart who doesn't "trust that gosh-darned modern technology," combined with my complete lack of any short-term memory whatsoever, I write everything down. The only way that I can remember to feed and water myself, much less do grown-up things like "keep my kid alive" and "wash my face," is to follow a stack of extensive to-do lists.

And my husband is an artist. He has covered nearly every inch of our house, his body, my body and the backs of all of my to-do lists with sketches and tattoos and doodles and masterpieces.

So as far as little Bettie Anne knows, the pen is an extension of the human hand. If I could read Baby, I bet I'd find she's making to-do lists about how she needs to draw more.

Either that, or she's doing long-hand calculus and physics equations. You know, just to spite her mathematically disabled parents. Rebelliousness also runs in the fam.

Here's a story problem for you: What kind of daughter do you get if you mix an artistic Cuban family with a carpenter dad who always brings his blueprints, sketches and wood tools home?
You get a jewelry genius, that's what.

Her name is Lorena Marañn, and she moved to Boulder from Miami last year. Marañn, 22, creates unique necklaces, bracelets, earrings and military-style shoulder pads (my favorite) out geometric-patterned hand-embroidered wearable art.

The bright colors are inspired by Cuban music, food and culture. The sharp patterns are inspired by her dad, who she says taught her about shapes and lines and how they can be manipulated.
Marañn Jewels ( are available online and in Fancy Tiger in Denver, and she's looking to offer her line in Boulder County soon.

Although each piece takes as long as several full days to even a month to hand-make, Marañn keeps the price point low, from $30 to $150.

"People have told me I'm underpricing my pieces because it takes so long, but I think that things like this should be available to everybody, because I don't come from a very wealthy family," she says.

Marañn taught herself how to do needlework after she lost her job and picked up a kit at a thrift store. She began selling her art on two years ago, but did well enough to start her own online store and pursue the passion full-time.

She admits her family -- "very humble, nonconformist, and a line of a lot of artists" -- played a big role in her growing into the artist she is today.

"They showed me that I could find happiness and a good life through art," she says


Photo by Iman Woods Creative.

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