I recently had the pleasure of *virtually* sitting down with Diana Gonzalez of Sweet Buddha Designs. I learned quite a bit about her artistry and spirituality--plus I reinforced my love of gchat. With Thai food on my plate + Diana’s 2 year old, Dakota, on hers, the Internet brought us together while paying attention to our individual priorities. Sweet Buddha Designs is eco-mindful, utilizing natural yarn and recycled papers. Diana describes her aesthetic as “Martha Stewart, Janis Joplin and Courtney Love visit a Buddhist Monastery and get crafty.”
How did you decide on the name Sweet Buddha Designs ?
I collect religious deities: Hindu, Catholic and Buddhist. I'm a spiritual person, and don't believe in labels, but I follow Buddha's teachings. I wanted laughing Buddha designs but it was taken on etsy so I went for sweetbuddha.
Do you have a creative mentor? What inspires you?
Well I don't think I have a real mentor. I guess that I don't believe so much in a real like . . . person to look up to. I was taught from an early age that people will always let you down, but faith in a higher power is something that never fails. My inspiration is the world around me. I find myself inspired by nature, by the practicality of life, and the things needed in life . . . and city life; the city really inspires me a lot too. The things I create come to me; I really feel like they come to me by muses and good spirits that guide me . . . sounds crazy, but then, I am a little nuts.
What was the transition like from crafter to etsy seller?
Well, I’m an entrepreneur at heart. I started making soap and my husband suggested that I try selling it. So I did for years, until it got too common and too expensive for me. I decided to do paper crafting and crocheting until I had the money for soap making, then lost interest in the soap :)
[Crafters everywhere can relate!]
Do you have a favorite item you make now?
Honestly my favorite items are the ones that don't sell! The cards are what I love. People love my stamps and cowls, but I so enjoy making cards. I put so much of myself into them.
Where would you like to go next, creatively? I want to create an empire, lol. Not really. I want to design more items, hats, gloves and things, and more paper items . . . just branch out. As far as my paper items, I want to start creating things to empower other people to create, like more hand carved stamps, unique paper supplies, and craft supplies.
So what is a typical weekend like for you?
Juggling my little one, my husband, yoga, and finding the inspiration to make things that I love.
Bikram? I do Kundalini yoga.
Do you craft with your daughter?
Oh my daughter is 2 tomorrow*! She's a bit young to do crafts now, but I do paint with her!
[tomorrow* relative to interview timing]
Big plans for the special day?
Hubby is making a pinata for her, I'm going to do some potato stamps, and we're going to have the kiddos make some potato stamp art.
Diana concludes with her true passions and inspirational side project:
Life is art. Art is the world around you. Money doesn't matter. None of that matters. What matters is what you make matter. For me, all that matters is my family and my art. I consider it my mission in life to teach others to heal through art. I consider what
[The meetup] is called the NYC craft circle.
For more, check out the Sweet Buddha Designs shop and Diana's blog.