My first step of engagement with most of my material is starting a plant from seed, tending it as it grows and then harvesting the edible parts. The real magic happens with what is left in the field or garden. This medium greatly impacts my work because it is never consistent. I have to be very flexible with what is available.

martinez 1 Corn leaves1 2009 copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Corn Leaves 1, corn leaves, 9 x 12 in., 2009.

martinez 2 OnionTrio1 2011 copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Onion Trio 1, braided onion tops, bolted onions, 9 x 12 in., 2011.

How do you handle your medium? What materials and tools do you choose, how do you handle them, and for what effect?

I sew, weave, and knot the waste and byproducts of vegetable material. I use an upholstery needle and a dried grass called raffia to sew the material because I like to keep it simple. When I process the material, it is important for me to have uniformity, so I spend a lot of time with preparing the material before it is sewn into a wearable art piece. 

martinez 4 Rhubarb1 2013 copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Rhubarb 1, rhubarb leaves and bolted rhubarb Flowers, 9 x 12 in., 2013.

martinez 5 garlic scapes1 2014JPG copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Garlic Scapes 1, one-year old garlic stems and fresh garlic scapes, 24 x 16 in., 2014.

Do you fully embrace your medium’s specificity, letting it, as it were, guide you, or do you instead engage in a conversation, fighting the material’s natural tendencies?

I am definitely fighting my material’s natural tendency. This is also on a spectrum because some vegetable waste is easier to work with than others. For instance, braiding soaked onion top is very manageable, as opposed to sewing dried broccoli stalks (a thimble is a must!)

martinez 6 Bean Vines and Salsify2 2015 copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Bean Vines and Salsify 2, braided salsify leaves and bean vines, 16 x 24 in., 2015.

martinez 7 Carrot Thinnings1 2015 copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Carrot Thinnings 1, braided carrot thinnings, 16 x 24 in., 2015.

How do the material objects you create reflect our surrounding world and how, in turn, do they interact with it and maybe even transform it?

What we wear can say a lot about who we are. My wearable designs reflect a playful and fleeting version of this. Many of the women who have worn one have expressed how freeing it felt to have the natural and non traditional fibers against their skin.

martinez 8 cardoons IMG 0016 2 copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Cardoons 1, cardoon stalks and leaves, 16 x 24 in., 2015.

martinez 9 Cornstalks1 2017 copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Corn Stalks 1, corn stalks, leaves and flower, 24 x 16 in., 2017.

How does the materiality of your work convey immaterial ideas, concepts, and emotions? In what ways do you deploy the physical reality of your artwork to express abstract notions?

My designs are literal interpretations of fashion here today and gone tomorrow. With my work I explore life and decay cycles of natural fibers and when on the model, the material is given form and new life.

martinez 10 Amaranth garlic stems 1 2018(1 of 1) copy

Jacinda J. Martinez, Amaranth and Garlic 1, braided amaranth flowers, amaranth stalks, and garlic stems, 16 x 24 in., 2018.


Image at top: Jacinda J. Martinez, Tatsoi 1, tatsoi, 9 x 12 in., 2011.