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16.5.13

Seiz Dedos Open Studio

By Marcela Filomena 

In the midst of a torrential downpour, I drove through puddles the size and depth of small ponds, on a mission to get to Old San Juan and cover Raiza Ascanio and Agnes Anna Szabó's joint showing.  A little worse for wear I finally arrived at Seiz Dedos Studio, excited to see the work. 



I had known about Agnes Anna for a while, having first discovered her through a green design blog, but I had no idea she'd been living in Puerto Rico for a little over a year.  After receiving a degree in fashion design at Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design, she applied and was accepted into an artist residency program at Beta-Local, a homegrown nonprofit dedicated to fostering artistic endeavors.  The resulting project was a line of sturdy, hand-painted bags made from reclaimed sailing canvas.



Her current clothing collection continues in the handcrafted vein, using eco-friendly organic fabric and screen prints made with ink developed from chlorophyll.  The silhouettes are loose, skimming over the female form, allowing the user to breathe and move with the garment.  Agnes Anna's background in screen-printing serves her well, using the technique to change some of her fabric's texture from soft, opaque cotton into stiffer, almost leathery iridescence. 



Raiza's pieces fit well within the eco concept, featuring hemp and cotton cord twisted into simple, streamlined nautical knots.  This is design pared down to its essence, emphasizing timeless shapes and a classic design aesthetic. All of Raiza's work is machine washable, handmade and kid-friendly.  Indeed, my favorite of her lines repurposes colored pencil stubs left over from her other job as a children's art teacher, wrapping them in colorful thread and fashioning them into whimsical necklaces. 



Also noteworthy are her needlepoint pendants of geometric designs on small embroidery hoops, which can be worn on a chain or hung on a wall for decorative purposes.

In a similar multi-purposing vein, Raiza shared her most recent venture: a mix and match collection of cloth jewelry, where a pendant can be snapped off and attached to an ear snap, or a ring, thereby creating a whole new world of accessorizing possibilities.