Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Guisela. I’m the one who puts all of her energy and heart into the shop Under a New Light. I’m Peruvian and currently living in Montreal with my husband Michel, and my sweetest little daughter, Mia-Valentina. Civil and environmental engineering has been my battlefield for a long time, but I’m far from being the all-logical, all-serious type.
I come from a family of entrepreneurs, which is where my desire to create and build comes from. I had never devoted time to make something with my hands, though. After giving birth to my little Valentina, I felt that it was time to try something different. Everything began with my desire to bring the mystic of the past into the present and show it “under a new light,” from my own perspective.
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
I spend time playing and doing some zumba fitness with my very energetic daughter! I’m currently finishing a university certificate, and finalizing some paperwork to get my engineering permit in Quebec. Once a week, I do volunteer work in an organization that promotes socially and environmentally responsible choices. When I find some time, I also write on my blog.
I love to travel, explore and discover new things and people. Whether it’s going apple picking with my family, singing karaoke with friends, drinking a good wine or looking for an excuse to stop at a Peruvian restaurant, I’m always up for a new adventure. I’ve recently been getting into photography more and more. I like to find concepts and capture special moments.
What would be the title of your memoir?
Pintarse la Cara Color Esperanza, Tentar al Futuro con el Corazon (Paint Your Face With the Color of Hope, Tempt the Future With an Open Heart). This title comes from the lyrics of a Diego Torres song that has accompanied me many times. I like the philosophy behind it, because it’s very simple and yet so powerful at the same time. The idea is to remain optimistic, persevere and attempt to do your best. I have to remind myself to keep moving into the future, always following my feelings and always with an open heart.
Where does your inspiration come from?
The first thing that inspired me was the mystic legacy of the Native peoples of the Americas, such as the Incas, Aztecs and the Native American tribes of the U.S. and Canada. I really love the wisdom and spirituality that comes out of their art. I also like their consideration for the interconnectedness of the elements of nature.
I’m also inspired by exploring my Peruvian roots, which is why I love to include colourful materials. I’m really into geometry and geology. Nothing too complex, though. I always try to give my designs a natural and simple touch. That’s why I love using natural raw stones and crystals.
My concern for the environment is also an element of inspiration. I make a conscious effort to use as many materials as I can that are re-claimed, eco-friendly or vintage. I’ve recently taken another step to reduce my impact on the environment by making my shop carbon neutral. I bought carbon offsets that are generated through projects that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
The thing is, inspiration is everywhere and evolves constantly. It just depends on the environment, the people and the experiences.
What does handmade mean to you?
For me, handmade is all about creativity and community. When I began experimenting with handmade, I was stunned by how big, dynamic and thriving the Etsy community was. I felt like even when I was home alone, I was surrounded by friends who were ready to cheer me up whenever I got into creative troubles. For me, handmade is all about people. It’s about people’s lives, people’s experiences, people’s dreams and happiness.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
My father has always inspired me to do my own things. He has his own business in Lima. I remember when I was a small girl, he made drawings of the machines he wanted to build. He explained with so much passion how the different pieces fit together and how he planned to build them. I was very excited to go with him to get repurposed parts to build them. The more passion that he put into his creations, the more inspired I became. It was so magical to see his face, and how passion can drive us.
How would you describe your creative process?
I usually start with sketches. I try one thing, then another. Next I pick the materials, colors and start to make the magic happen. And when the magic doesn’t happen, I look around and realize that my house is a mess. That’s when I start moving things around to make my workspace inspiring again.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
For me, words are the mirror of the soul. I can get really inspired by deep and powerful words, so I’d be thrilled to see Paulo Coelho’s creative space, wherever that may be. Coelho can be so inspiring. I particularly love the quote from The Alchemist that goes, “And, when you want something, the whole universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A very beautiful sculpted stone from Cuzco that my sister gave me many years ago. It has followed me in all my journeys.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
Music is my cure, el alimento de mi alma (the food of my soul).
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I’d love to live from what I’m creating, be happy, healthy and enjoying precious moments with my little family. I’d like to be able to travel to Peru more frequently, have another baby and escape with my family to explore and experience more adventures. Having my own studio that I decorated would be nice, too.