Our spring campaign took us to Joshua Tree, where we had the pleasure of meeting Robin Hercia, a designer of textiles, graphics and interiors who found creative freedom in the Californian desert. Discover more about Robin’s craft, the local women who inspire her, and why she’s subconsciously putting gradients on all her designs.
Our shoot is taking place in Joshua Tree – what is it about this place that inspires you?
I moved out here for the space – the wide-open landscape and cotton-candy coloured sunset skies allow a creative mind to work at its own pace. Ideas are born from an intuitive natural place and the process of development and execution has clarity to it since the external world offers neutrality and lacks clutter.
What was your journey to becoming a textile designer and what is it that makes you so passionate about it?
I found myself in a post-secondary Textile Design programme after studying Interior Design. I wasn’t ready to enter the world and was still exploring who I am as a creative person. In the third semester of my first year, I met my biological mother and learned there’s a long family history of textile work among women in the family. It was a bit of a trip, and I took it as a good omen that I was on the right path.
Did you experiment with other forms of art that inspire you today, even if you don’t practice them currently?
I run a multidisciplinary design studio. A lot of what I do is graphic: package design, branding, art direction and custom artwork for albums and books. I also have two interior projects currently underway: one in Yucca Valley, California, and another in British Columbia, Canada. They’re two totally different places and I love working this way because I believe that design should be directly related to the vernacular of the place. The structure itself – the way it relates to its environment, and everything contained within it should be a reflection of the place it comes from. In this realm, I spend a lot of time learning what materials are inherent to these places, and how to make a space that has an honest relationship with its surroundings.
What made you decide to start your own design studio?
It was just the natural thing to do at a certain point. I’d worked for a New York fashion designer for most of the noughties, moved to California and took some time restructuring my life, and it sort of just had to happen in order for me to be able to work in the full spectrum of applied arts that I do. Any other firm would have me doing one thing, but I sort of need to do five to be happy.
You use what you can get from the earth to make your inks – can you tell us a bit more about that process?
Natural materials are more pleasant to work with, and, practically speaking, don’t require industrial safety equipment that a lot of chemical dye processes require. When I was in school, I recall working with a material that would burn through everything save for plastic: I’d rather live a life working in a healthy relationship with my materials rather than ones that are out to get me. I also enjoy the limitations of working with natural materials. Having every colour option in the world is overwhelming.
Are there things in your everyday life that you draw inspiration from?
The skies. I can’t stop putting gradients on everything. Even in completely unintentional moments I can look back at a piece of work and think damn it, I’ve put a desert sky gradient on that too. I guess it’s becoming a signature.
What have been some of your favourite pieces to create?
For the last few years, I’ve been working with knit and woven wools and silks. Contrary to popular belief the desert does get cold and experiences autumn and winter. Every year when the temperatures drop, I love getting back into these fibres because they absorb colour so richly. Even after several years I still look back at the drying lines and double-take the colours because they’re so deep and vivid.
For those who want to find their inner artist but don’t know where to start, what advice would you give?
Advice that somebody gave me once: “make something every day.” It will often stink but make it and move on. Eventually, there are days something you’re truly proud of comes out. Creativity is a muscle that needs to be exercised.
What are your plans for this year, do you have any interesting projects that we should look out for?
I have my first full-scale interior project underway. In a few months’ time, I’ll be able to start sharing finishing details. There should also be some big transitions in my textile studio in the coming months as well. That’s all I’m able to share as of now but I’m really psyched about where I’m putting my energy.
Who are the women you’re inspired by?
The ones I work within my own community. A lot of our local businesses out here are women-owned – many are colleagues, and some are personal friends. Our proximity to LA keeps us on the periphery of a major cultural centre which we all benefit from but it’s still a rural community and the hustle is real. The women who inspire me most are those that are around me every day kicking ass making it happen and making their lives in the most insane creative ways. Some of the accomplishments I get to witness blow my mind and I’m so honoured to be a part of this deeply artistic community.
Follow Robin on her Instagram @robinofmojave.
Discover the Back To Origin Collection.