Celebrating my Hispanic heritage through crafting
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Hispanic Heritage Month is celebrated between the 15th of September and 15th of October in recognition of independence across eight Latin countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile, and Belize.
As a Hispanic living in the U.S., it brings me great joy not only to represent the wonderful country that I live in, but also to celebrate what it means to be Hispanic.
As a crafter, I strive to share my love for the country I live in and my heritage through projects and tutorials I am able to create with my Cricut® machines.
I was born a crafter. It was one of my talents I discovered very young.
I began creating small cards and tags for my teachers. I helped decorate for school activities, especially multicultural activities. My culture has always been an essential part of all that I do. As a Latina, I have always felt that I could help others around me, particularly with my skills and ability to translate.
My journey with Cricut began similarly as it has for many other crafters. I was going through postpartum depression and it had evolved into depression. I was searching for something I could do from home, make money, and feel better.
I wanted to escape my thoughts.
I shared my thoughts and feelings with my husband and my mother-in-law. They encouraged me to think about my talents and find something that I could make and sell. And, that’s how I found out about Cricut.
I immediately thought about all the beautiful invitations and party banners I could make to sell. So, I bought my first machine, Cricut Expressions®, and later updated to the Cricut Explore®.
Growing up, my parents taught me the life formula that helped me overcome depression. They told me…
There is no greater joy than what you can experience when you serve others.
Through crafting, I was able to replace negative thoughts with positive ones as I occupied my mind with the endless ideas I could do with my Cricut machine. I used my love for crafting to sell my first invitations, and that helped me build confidence and motivation to keep making even more. I didn’t sell much, but it helped me overcome my depression.
While learning about how to use Cricut Explore, I found a Cricut Facebook group that opened me to a huge community of crafters. I soon discovered that there were many Latinas in the group seeking help in Spanish. At first, I would help translate for them. Then, inspired by the community I became a part of, I decided to create my own Spanish Cricut Facebook group.
In March 2016, I started Cricut Design Space en Espanol. It didn’t grow too fast at first. However, over the course of one year, I was shocked to have over 200 members.
Everyone shared their excitement for how there finally was a Cricut group in Spanish. As I dedicated myself to learning more about Cricut and teaching what I could to my community, it grew exponentially. My group expanded to over 15,000 members across more than 6 different countries in four years. I also learned new ways of saying “earrings,” “ribbons,” “bows,” “ornaments,” and so much more.
During that time, Nicolle Ashton, one of the project designers at Cricut, contacted me. I discovered that we had the same goals as she is also passionate about helping the Latino community because of her Costa Rican heritage.
Nicolle answered questions for things I didn’t quite know at the time. And now, she has become essential to the group. She helps me with events, tutorials, and live classes. With Nicolle’s help, members are able to start crafting as soon as they receive their machine.
At a meet and greet event with the Cricut team, I was given the exciting opportunity to work next to Nicolle. Being part of a Cricut event was like a dream and I even got to introduce one of my favorite products, Infusible Ink™, in Spanish with Nicolle.
That event changed my life!
A year ago, I received the opportunity to become a “Product Expert” with Cricut. As a Product Expert, I am able to share Cricut news the moment it is available with my group and fellow Latino community crafters. I also have the opportunity to provide ideas for images and share what the Latino crafters would like to have and need when using their Cricut machines. My community expressed that having a Latina Product Expert makes them feel like they matter to the company because they placed someone that is bilingual.
Ever since I was a little girl, I consistently wrote down my goals. I always wanted to do something that brought me happiness and made a difference in my community. Today, I can say that I found it!
Four years ago, when I started my Cricut Facebook group for Spanish speakers, I wouldn’t have thought it would possible that so many different countries would be represented in my group. It brought me so much joy to use both of my talents, crafting and translating. Sometimes it’s difficult to see or know if what I am doing is actually helping, but every time I receive messages from my community with pictures of their projects, I see how much good I can do. I have grown closer to the members I serve and learned that we can all come together to become a big Cricut family no matter where we are in the world.
The expression of art has always been a successful way to connect people of different cultures, and I am excited to be able to do just that through my love for Cricut and crafting. And, as a young Latina woman, I am grateful that I can express what it means to be Hispanic through words, my daily life, and art.
Abigail Carrillo runs Cricut Design Space en Espanol, a Spanish language Facebook group geared towards those interesting in learning more about Cricut machines. She also runs a YouTube channel focused on Cricut projects and tutorials.