Rodrigo “Varito” Vasquez, AIFD, CFD, FSMD
Every floral designer’s hope is to create a signature style, something that is unique to him or her. When we see wire masterfully crafted into a piece of art, one person immediately comes to mind – Rodrigo “Varito” Vasquez, AIFD, CFD, FSMD, owner of R. Varito Designs & Institute in West Palm Beach, Fla. Originally from Costa Rica, with a background in music, Varito began in the wedding floral industry in 1985 and moved to the United States in 2014. An avid competitor who constantly pushing himself to learn new techniques and inspire his students to do the same, he has an insatiable appetite for continuing to hone his jewelry-making skills to elevate his creations into runway-style flowers to wear.
Where did your interest in “floral jewelry” originate, and how have you developed your proficiency and expertise in that area?
I started in my mother’s wedding shop where I was doing the beading and embroidery for her dresses. I think my fascination with jewelry started there. When I saw flowers to wear, I was seeing more flowers than wire. I started working with wire, and this is how people know me. People kept telling me that I was so good with wire and that this was how I should brand myself in this industry. I started to practice with flat wire and lily grass. But it was plain and not impressive. I did some research and called a friend who was a jewelry artisan in Costa Rica. He put me in contact with a jeweler in Spain, and I started my mentorship. I learned to work with copper, silver, gold and precious stones. I am inspired by Russian designers and have incorporated their wrapping, weaving and other techniques into my wire work.
What do you do to develop your creativity and strengthen your creative muscles?
When I met Leopoldo Gomez, from Mexico, at the AIFD Symposium in Anaheim, Calif., he told me that I needed to develop myself. So that is what I started doing. All my inspiration has come from my experiences. My daily routine is to take a piece of wire and start a design. I test new techniques and interpret what has happened to me. My designs reflect my impressions. I have a box of copper, rustic and regular wire next to my bed, and I work with it before I go to sleep every night. It helps me perfect myself. It is all about practice, practice, practice.
Are your quests for creative inspiration and rejuvenation spontaneous and organic, or are they planned – or both?
I do not plan anything. I enjoy when something happens spontaneously. When I am working with wire, I let the wire talk to me. This takes me to where I want to go. I am confident in that moment of inspiration. Sometimes something goes wrong, but really it is not. There is no fear of failure. Instead something unique and personal is created. No matter what, nothing is ever wrong. It is, instead, my inspiration to see things in a different light and to push my limits outside the box and expand my comfort zone.