Brooklyn by way of Santo Domingo, Lizania Cruz has spent most of her life trying to use art and design as tools to better the communities around her. She recently launched her own jewelry collection to honor a foundational but often overlooked design tool: the thread spool. When was the last time you really thought about the thread spool? (That's what we thought.)
Where are you from?
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic currently living in Brooklyn, NYC.
What do you do?
I’m an Art Director at General Assembly and a Creative Director/Jewelry Designer of Bagavundas.
What is keeping you busy these days?
I was recently selected to collaborate with the Center of Urban Pedagogy and Vocal NYC on its program Making Policy Public; our mission is to make information on policy more meaningful to the public. Our collaboration will focus on a design that explains the Fair Chance Act to formerly incarcerated workers looking for jobs in NYC. This new law protects them against employment discrimination and maximizes their opportunities to effectively re-enter the workforce and reintegrate into society.
I also recently launched my jewelry line Bagavundas. I’m interested in how products come alive, and the thread spool is one of the key tools that made fashion accessible. The fact that this tool has gone unnoticed is what inspired me to create a line that celebrated the wooden thread spool as a design object.
What is most important to you?
To always remind myself that feeling comfortable is not a good thing. It's so easy to let yourself go and not challenge yourself.
Best advice you've ever received?
Have a set amount of time to dwell about a failure - but then move on. 24 hours is enough time to dwell on a failure.
Where do you get your inspiration?
From the streets, at an art show, on the train, at the dance floors. Mostly from seeing people and interacting with them.
What does time mean to you?
Time allows us to remember the past, enjoy the present and look forward into the future. It's what Einstein said: “The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once”.
How do you accessorize?
I like statement pieces with character that feel modern. Lately I’ve only been wearing Bagavundas.
When do you wear a watch?
I recently started wearing one everyday because it keeps me from looking at my phone all the time. It feels good: I’ve been watching my surroundings more rather than my screen.
Who is your favorite artist?
Right now, it’s Taryn Simon. I have always loved her work. Her last show Paperwork and the Will of Capital is really beautiful and inspiring. She researched flowers that were present during the signing of different international agreements and created sculptures out of them which then she photographed.
What is your favorite book?
Rayuela, from Julio Cortázar. It made me appreciate serendipitous moments in life. I often gift it to friends. The author allows you to read it two ways: as a linear novel or going back and forth into the story. It’s a story about love, jazz, life, and dreamers in Paris during the 60's.
What is your favorite thing about New York?
The energy. Things are constantly changing. Everyone is hustling and going after their dreams. It’s what makes it all worth it.