Alyssarhaye Graciano is a San Jose Native, practicing fiber artist, and current visual arts curator at MACLA/Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana. Having learned to crochet and knit in her teens, Graciano founded BlackSheepMade with plans to fund a college internship abroad by selling beanies, scarves, and woven garments. She later moved to Portland, Oregon, to pursue a post-college tech career before deciding to make BlackSheepMade her full-time job. During that time, Alyssarhaye grew the business to include teaching workshops, public art installations, and writing a book called ‘Chunky Knits.’
The publication of her book in 2020 proved to be a turning point in Graciano’s career. Having moved back to San Jose at the start of pandemic lockdowns, the grind of producing inventory began to weigh heavy on her aching wrists and sense of creative exploration. Over the following years, Graciano found work at local arts nonprofits and made time to experiment with fiber-craft, sculpture, and assemblage. Alyssarhaye’s experience as a business owner, creative, and nonprofit community curator led her to a role as visual arts curator of MACLA. She is currently preparing for MACLAS’s upcoming Latinx Art Now! Exhibition and auction.
In our conversation, Alyssarhaye shares her development as an artist and business owner and her experience as MACLA’s visual arts curator.
Come to MACLA on 4-07-2023 for the exhibition opening of 2023 Latinx Art Now!, part of South First Fridays, and return on 5-20-2023 for the live auction and a chance to take home a piece from the exhibition.