I’m a sucker for female-empowerment stories, especially when it comes to the arts. So, when my hair stylist in town told me about a quartet of women making good on their creative talents — a clothing designer, a jeweler, a painter, a potter — I was hooked. The next step was to track down this group of women, known as Younglove Collective, that collaborates on fashion shows and art installations. In particular, I zeroed in on
Maya Delano, a ceramic jeweler and creative-thinking workshop teacher. She’s also joined in the collective by oil painter/metal jewelry designer
Jenny Markowitz, fashion and costume designer
Katie Cresswell, and fashion and accessories designer
Delano founded Younglove Collective in 2008 after moving back to her hometown of Santa Cruz. “I moved into this huge house and while everyone there was a serious student or professional, they were dedicated to being creative in their off hours as DJs, painters, costume and jewelry designers,” Delano says. It was an ideal community, providing her with not only roommates but also collaborative art partners. Later that year, three of the four women moved into a smaller house together on the Westside on Younglove Avenue, and hence, then began calling themselves the Younglove Collective. (Find them at
“We love collaborating and were lucky to discover that when we work together a creative spark turns into an unstoppable fire,” Delano says. “Our mission is to create designs that are unique and continually evolving, and as a group we are there to support each other’s creative process.”
These days, the women have their own living arrangements and studios, but the collective is still vibrant and intact, with a particular emphasis on fashion and jewelry design. In 2009, they started producing fashion shows and events to showcase their work, and things have taken off from there.
In addition, Delano has launched three-hour creative workshops that in her words, “use a collage and journaling process to help individuals and organizations boost their creativity. Building a collage helps you explore your own personal vocabulary and discover imagery that is meaningful to you. We also journal to gain insight from those images.” Learn more at mayadelano.com.
Water and art
With the Tannery sitting adjacent to the San Lorenzo River, it wouldn’t be surprising if some of the creative residents there partake in discussions about water and how it relates to art. That’s exactly what after-school art teacher
Linda Cover has done by setting up a studio and children’s art curriculum there called Watershed Art. “It actually is about our watersheds and their communities of creatures within these watery boundaries,” Cover says. “I teach scientific drawing. I expect students to create detailed creatures while paying attention to the habitats. The works must show appropriate terrain, plants, and even water sources.”
She is the director of a summer arts camp there for children called Camp Tannery Arts. “We connect students with the artists that live and work here at the Tannery,” says Cover. “On a given week, kids work with 20 different artists in all kinds of disciplines. There is nothing like this kind of immersion into the arts. We go to the studios where artists live (kids get to even see what an artist eats) and they create art, ask questions and look at how professional artists live. It’s a wonderful experience for both the students and the artists themselves.”
As for Cover’s own artwork, she explains that she often works in the same mediums as the children that she teaches — crayons, pastels and watercolors — all with the intent of creating nature-inspired images.
As beautiful and important as this work is, it left me both wanting to see more and wishing that it had been around when I was a kid. Interested? Check out her work at Lindacover.org.
Contact Christa Martin at Christasentinel@gmail.com.