Design Week 2018: Hands On

How Working with Your Hands Can Heal the Mind

Mexican American artist Vania Vananina talks tactile creativity.

By Catherine Johnson March 27, 2018 Published in the April 2018 issue of Portland Monthly

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Vania Vananina

In advance of her Design Week event, Mexican American artist Vania Vananina talks connection and colors.

Your Design Week workshop is a very hands-on: sculpting, painting, guided meditation ...

My first goal is to connect with people. When I’m able to share a moment through art-making, the connection that sparks is something that has no price, and is a reminder that we’re all in this together. When people leave my studio, the common words or feelings that linger are a sense of renewal ... and a sense of confidence in what they feel and think.

How does working with your hands help that?

When I start making art I feel like this universe within me is speaking up, and I start pouring everything I feel and sense onto a canvas. It can be clay. It can be wood. The canvas is metaphorical. No one piece I’ve ever made is the same as another. I [let] the materials and my heart’s desires do what they want to do. It feels very fresh, very free.

What inspires you?

Definitely bright colors. They make me feel alive and spark my imagination. Whenever I’m out in the world, and see bright colors, I feel this urge to start making things.   

Creativity Workshop: Make Art Across Mediums

1–4 p.m. Sat, April 21, Magnetic North, 2021 SE Belmont St, $145

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