Pablo Acosta and Sadie Curdts are handcrafting new connections through Conozco Crafts – New Times SLO

January 12, 2023 Music, Arts & Culture » Arts
As sun rays bounce off glittering rows of locally handcrafted jewelry and art, Pablo Acosta and his girlfriend, Sadie Curdts, finalize their table, lining their wares up on hangers and shelves. The table is just one manned by many local artists at an event put on by Make Shift Muse, each bringing their own unique art and style.
For Acosta and Curdts, the event represents more than just an avenue to sell their work. It’s a place where they can network with the San Luis Obispo art community and further solidify their designs based on those new connections they form.
“Once you go and get to know people in the community, you find yourself more in the loop with these events, and it felt really easy to become connected,” Acosta said.
The couple’s business, Conozco Crafts, specializes in handmade paper cards, earrings, and other objects made out of clay. The pair have worked together since the summer of 2021 to build up their work, and along the way they’ve become participants in the local community as both college students and residents of the community post-college.
“The reason people like myself do this is that they find the community to be so powerful and beautiful,” Acosta said. “People won’t look at you differently for … being a student crafter.”
While Conozco Crafts officially began as a business for the couple in the spring of 2021, the project has its roots in Curdts’ experience during the pandemic at Cal Poly. In one of her design classes, she created a set of playing cards with the hope of being able to print them out for her own collection. With the rise of long-term online classes—meaning it was unlikely she would get to bring her creation to life—she began to look for other avenues to make physical versions of her digital designs.
“An important part of designing to me is going through the whole creative process and ending with this tangible product to show for it,” Curdts said.
Ultimately, she discovered the means to produce the cards but worried that the cost would be too much for something as minor as a class project. That thought changed when she realized the interest people had in buying the pieces, so she gathered enough money through pre-orders to create the first set of 52 playing cards.
“It was really encouraging to see that not only did people want to support my work and buy my designs, but that interest continued to grow after I produced the first batch,” Curdts said.
As her card project began to gain momentum, Acosta began to produce his own art in the form of copper earrings with clay art attached. He had recently become part of the band Couch Dog and grew interested in participating in the craft fairs put on by groups like Art and Soul and Make Shift Muse, which the band often played at.
“Initially, they just started as gifts for Sadie on her birthday, but as I was making them, my friend [and bandmate Max] began to encourage me to potentially sell them,” Acosta said.
With a community open to not only supporting them but also allowing them to refine and focus their designs to a specific group, the couple experienced a creative burst.
“It definitely started off as an explosion of ‘we want to make everything,'” Curdts said. “But with the consistent support we have gotten from the community, we both feel like our art is more personalized and intentional.”
It is this intentionality that has allowed the pair to expand their operations outside of just San Luis Obispo and into the greater world. Early in 2022, the design shop Matter, which is based in Curdts’ hometown of Denver, began to sell the couple’s crafts.
However, Curdts and Acosta want to keep things local aside from this small excursion, maintaining that they feel their work has the most impact when they are making local connections. They plan on continuing their art and sales into 2023 with their next event being the Art and Soul Fair at Bliss Cafe in downtown SLO on Feb. 4.
“It’s one of the reasons I want to do this for as long as I can here,” Acosta said. “It’s a way for me and Sadie to take our passions, combine them, and make something beautiful together to share with the people who will appreciate it the most.” ∆
Freelancer Adrian Vincent Rosas is planning a trip to a local crafts fair. Reach him through the editor at clanham@newtimesslo.com.
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