The Queue: Jovencio de la Paz
The Queue: Jovencio de la Paz
Get to know the people featured in the pages of our magazine as they share what's inspiring them right now.
Welcome to the Wonder series of The Queue
A biweekly roundup for and by the craft community, The Queue introduces you to the artists, curators, organizers, and more featured in the current issue of American Craft. We invite these inspiring individuals to share personally about their lives and work as well as what's inspiring them right now.
For Jovencio de la Paz, there's wonder in projects taking unexpected turns
We're thrilled to feature the writing of Oregon-based artist, weaver, and educator Jovencio de al Paz in the Winter 2022 issue of American Craft. Their piece "The Scholar's Stone" is a reflection on the Japanese tradition of suiseki. Jovencio was also a participant in our summer 2021 American Craft Forum, sharing an object story which you can watch in the session recording.
How do you describe your work or practice in 50 words or less?
I am an artist, weaver, educator, and writer. My work exists at the intersection of the history of computation, coding, weaving, and textiles.
The past 18 months has presented many challenges, from a global pandemic to renewed urgency around issues of racial equity and police brutality. As we slowly move into a post-pandemic world, how are you finding beauty and staying grounded?
In addition to being an artist, I am also an ordained Zen Buddhist Monk. I live in a zen temple and follow a rigorous monastic life. This has been useful in the pandemic, as we strive on a daily basis to ground ourselves in our bodies, breath, and mind. Beauty comes from cultivating the quality of our relationships with people, places, all things—it is not always found passively.
The theme of the newest issue of American Craft is "Wonder." Can you reflect on that theme as it relates to your work and practice?
I am interested in how the word wonder implies a definite state of awe or amazement, but also a state of questioning. When I am struck by wonder it is usually because my preconceptions have been struck down by an experience, an event, etc. In my work at the loom and with computers, which both appear as very rigid, structured, or limited tools, I am still struck by how unpredictable and surprising even my best laid plans can turn out to be.
What has been the biggest barrier you have had to break through to get to the place you’re at with your career?
For a long time I was convinced that I could not make course corrections or change the creative or intellectual trajectory I’ve been on. Whenever I have given myself the permission to try out new techniques, learn new skills (even those unrelated or at least seemingly unrelated to my work) I always make breakthroughs.
What’s one of your go-to/favorite tools in your toolkit that the world should know about?
I have been weaving a simple piece of plaid fabric for about 20 months. I have no plans for this weaving to become a final artwork, product, or anything else. I find it is important to have processes or ways of making that are free “goals,” more like meditations than anything else.
What podcast should we be listening to right now, and why?
I have been listening to a podcast called Let’s Talk to Lucy, which is a series of over 200 interviews the actor, comedian, and media magnate Lucille Ball recorded largely on her own recording device. She interviews all manner of stars of stage, screen, and music. It is a fascinating view into a golden era of American TV and media.
Inspired by the people featured in The Queue?
Dive deeper into their work in the pages of American Craft magazine. Become a member of the American Craft Council to get a subscription and help fund a range of nonprofit programs that elevate the craft community.