Monday, March 1, 2010

Featured Artisan of the Month

Maria Isabel Olivera
Owner of Reincarnations

I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of recycling. To be able to take something thrown out and discarded and transform it into something new and valuable seems to have a certain magical quality to it. It’s kind of like taking a wand, hovering it over something and “Presto”, you turned it into something totally different. That’s how I feel about everything I make.
There’s more to it than that, however. Growing up in Queens, NY, you kind of reconcile yourself to always being surround by trash. It’s everywhere; floating about on the street, overflowing from trashbins, and lying about on subway cars. It seems that if we could only manage to make use of all the things we through out, we’d never be in want of anything. During these times when everything from money to jobs are extremely scarce, it makes sense to waste nothing and to get the last bit of use from everything. I not only get to enjoy and love what I do, I also get to feel like I’m making a strong statement with every piece of trash I recycle.
To be sure it’s all TRASH. It’s stuff I’ve taken right out of the trash bin, but at the risk of seeming immodest, I make trash look really good. When I was a kid, I made my crafts and art from trash out of necessity, since my $2.00 a week allowance didn’t buy me much in the way of art supplies. As I entered graduate school and my craft hobby became more of a fettish, my tight budget once again assured me that I’d be turning to the trash bin for my materials. After working two years full-time as an academic adviser straight out of graduate school, I was able to save up enough money to start “Reincarnations” in the Fall of 2007 and in summer of 2008, I made if a full-time endeavor. I haven’t looked back since.
These last few years have been the most rewarding years of my life. I’ve learned so many things and have met so many wonderful people. It was with such wonderful people that I was able to co-found NYAC (New York Artisans Collective) in the fall of 2009. Though we are a young group by any measure, we’re constantly growing and trying new things. I look forward to many more craft fairs and events to come and I’m optimistic that this year will be better than the last for me and all of my fellow crafters.
For more info on my crafts and upcoming events feel free to check out my facebook page at You can also check out photos of my latests crafts at And don’t forget to check out my online shop at
Maria Isabel Olivera
(a.k.a. ReincarnationsNY)

1 comment:

  1. That is very true about all the trash floating around in Queens! But I suppose that something positive can come out everything. :)