Rational Beauty

Shonquis Moreno

Brooklyn-based Shonquis Moreno may be new to making but she’s not new to thinking about making. I met Shonquis several years ago at Dwell magazine where she was an editor, contributing a lively range of design articles to our editorial mix. During her career she has been a keen observer of textiles, architecture, interiors, furniture, window display, scenography, fashion, and graphic design, as well as ‘design-art’. She currently writes on a freelance basis for publications such at T, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, Wallpaper, Metropolis, and American Craft, among others.

No one can accuse Shonquis of being idle. Speaking with her it occurs to me how much can be done if we are always doing. “I’m one of those people who doesn’t know my own mind until it takes some form outside myself; I think by writing, for instance,” she says. “I find the world through the words, instead of the other way around. And I think, for me, it’s the same with making things.”

Over the past few years Shonquis has turned her attention to learning how to make objects, focusing on surface pattern, texture, and color as she continues to work as a freelance journalist. She hopes to produce her patterns in multiple forms, from upholstery fabric, wall coverings, and tiles to carpets and handbags. Lucky us!

Scarves are her first series of textile patterns, derived from the pixels and facets patterns of her own personal photographs. The result is a collection with a beautifully uneven scale and bold, lush color. She explains, “I took some personal photographs that were records of some difficult moments in my life—a turning point that I hadn’t understood was a turning point at the time it was happening—and I turned them each into something good.”

Her decision to use unhappy memories as raw materials was truly transformative. “I skewed them to an extreme, in any way I could think of, until the memories they had come from were blunted by having been turned into a source of beauty, and looking at them became a joy to me,” she says.

Shonquis draws inspiration from visionaries such as Milan Kundera and Girard Richter, exploring how much our identity depends on perceptions and memory (not objective facts). In this sense, blurring helps us to see ourselves. She also directed me to a Ted Talk video featuring behavioral economist Daniel Kahneman who posits that our “experiencing selves” and our “remembering selves” perceive happiness radically differently.

For me these scarves have it all: beauty and brains! Shonquis’s take on the pixels and facets patterns are eye-catching and the range of color within the scarves makes them versatile for any wardrobe. I have the “Winter Scarf”, and depending on how I tie it, I can show as much of the color and pattern as I want. As I look at her collection of scarves I can’t stop thinking about tough memories being recasted into gorgeous objects. Transformation never looked so good!

shonquismoreno.com.

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Fabrika

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Winter

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Derelict

“I’m one of those people who doesn’t know my own mind until it takes some form outside myself; I think by writing, for instance, I find the world through the words, instead of the other way around. And I think, for me, it’s the same with making things.”
—Shonquis Moreno

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The silk neck scarves—Chelsea, Fabrika & Derelict—tied up shows the play of color artistry.