One of our favorite SF projects that we miss is Big Things, a DIY web shop and blog started by culture connoisseur, Rebecca. She is a master stylist and curates wonderful wares from all over the world.
She is the kind of woman we want Revolver ladies to be inspired by; a doer, a maker and always thinking ahead. The girl who you can't help but be friends with because of her positive attitude and fiery ambition. She is a favorite for street-style photographers where ever she goes, mostly because she has a unique look that is all her own. She is not focused on trends but on comfort and a creative mixture of colorful textiles.
Since leaving SF, she had been living in Mexico City, a cultural hub that is incredibly rich in craft, culture and art. We squeezed in an interview during her intense travel schedule about her experiences while in Mexico and the future of her Big Things project.
Of all the major metropolitan cities all over the world, why did you decide to go to Mexico City?
Last summer I spent a few weeks in Mexico City and Oaxaca with Brook and Kirby from Job & Boss
, Tessa from Ogaard Textile Work
, and another friend Carlie, and we all just fell head over heels for Mexico. For me, Mexico City was the perfect mix of absolute chaos, deep-rooted culture and mystery. So when several ends tied up for me last year, I felt like DF had called my name and I figured—screw it, let’s go back to el Distrito Federal!
What were your expectations moving to Mexico? Was there anything about the city that was proved wrong by your experiences?
Honestly I tried to have as little expectations as possible. My goals were to learn Spanish, take photos, and make a few friends along the way. I knew I was jumping into something blindly, naively, but that’s what I was looking for. That said, my expectations of this place as a jumbled, sprawling mess were exceeded infinitely! There are some days that I can’t even leave the house because the street is just too overwhelming- the sounds, smells, the sheer number of people is just absolutely mindboggling. I must also say that I thought it would take me much longer to learn Spanish, but with a few friends correcting your grammar and some good hours of study, ¡si se puede!
Big Things seems to document cultural movements including art, fashion, etc and Mexico City seems to be a hub for powerful art movements. What is happening in Mexico City that you are noticing? What kind of movements are happening in art, music, fashion and film?
What I love about the city is the diversity in the art world – there are design folks working on new versions of ancient objects; architects and muralists doing massive projects; politically-driven performance artists and dancers; experimental photographers; printmakers doing 10-foot woodblock prints. You can even dance to Son Jarocho played by the coolest young people playing traditional instruments like the donkey jaw! In every medium there seems to be an exploration of (or at least reference to) Mexican history but there are also some brave souls who are challenging or stepping out of that paradigm, crossing-over genres, and making fascinating work. It’s hard to generalize, but it’s definitely an exciting time for a city that is still trying to define itself in a global context.
Even the food world has trailblazers: my good friends, Los Loosers, are delivering vegan food on bicycle which is something very new and exciting for DF, where people still consider chicken vegetarian.
I think that the Big Things shop is curated in a way that really shows off weird, beautiful and lovely hand crafted goods that you pick up on your travels. There also seems to be a resurgence of young Mexican artisans crafting and making handmade goods on marketplace platforms like Etsy or receiving more recognition for their craft on a global scale. Is the idea of "Made in Mexico" changing?
Yes! There are some talented designers here who are changing the way people interact with craft on a daily basis. Collectivo 1050 is working with alfareros around Oaxaca to produce contemporary vessels and ceramics; Cocina Sana is doing something similar with potters in Michoacán. Many of these small pueblos have experienced mass exoduses of their male populations to work in the United States or Canada, so supporting the women who are maintaining their communities at home is a plus. There are also tons of craft fairs and exhibitions of other makers here in DF who through the internet are reaching wider audiences.
How has your experience in Mexico City influenced Big Things?
Ooh! I can’t express how much I have learned here and in Oaxaca— from a visual perspective I have absorbed so many ideas on how to display and arrange objects, combine colors and textures. I’ve spent so much time in the library and museums, reading and exploring the history of a country and a culture that is so painfully complex. I’ve been concentrating on the history of photography in Mexico, which has been a big influence in my photo work. But overall I think living here has given me a broader perspective on living my own life and my own ideas of love, death, history, etc.
How is Big Things evolving from now, now that you are traveling so much?
From here I’m really going to be concentrating on my photography and educational projects. Speaking Spanish has opened so many doors for me and I hope to continue sharing exciting finds but in a less commercial, object-based way and more with ideas and inspiration. Stay tuned for more BIG projects in 2014!
Safe travels where ever you go Rebecca! Everyone in SF misses you!