María Antonia Villaseñor-Marchal

Master of Design in Fashion, Body and Garment

As a child, I would use my imagination to cope with what was difficult, scary, and confusing by escaping into fantasy worlds. As a young indigenous trans woman, I feel that my reality is constantly in flux–particularly in light of today’s political and social climate. Thus, my childhood fantasies have never fully left me, and are still necessary for artistic and political statements, and most importantly for survival. Through the decolonization of craft techniques and the utilization of ethically sourced natural fibers indigenous to the Western Hemisphere, I continue interacting with and complicating my childhood fantasy worlds through wearable art, performance, and installation work. This work is based around large, abstract forms that embody spirits I’ve seen throughout my life.

Through the use of found, unconventional, and manipulated materials–particularly, fully-felted custom textiles and embellishments I create–my work transports viewers and wearers into their own unique fantasy worlds. Abstraction through an indigenous, trans, queer lens will encourage viewers to consider issues of cultural, social, spiritual and political importance and, I hope, help them cope with their real lives regardless of age and background. Despite the fantastical nature of my work(s), I focus on using animal protein fibers (alpaca, bison, and wool) and crafting techniques traditionally assigned to women in indigenous societies in order to ground the work solidly in the artistic and social context of my own life, and the lives of those that have come before.