Basket Finds is a series in which I chat to wonderful women who know a thing or two about ‘hunting down’ the perfect basket for their home or their personal style.
This week, we talk to Alina Mendoza about photography, her love for travel, and styling a small space with baskets.
Hi Alina, I’m very happy to have you as a guest on ‘Basket Finds’. Can you tell us a bit more about yourself, and how your love for photography began?
My name is Alina Mendoza and I'm a photographer from San Diego, California.
I started photography in 2011 after a trip to Paris. On my last day in Paris I was sitting at a park enjoying wine and cheese, watching the lives in front of me - nuns sitting down on a bench together, a father playing with his child - and in that moment I felt a need to do something I was passionate about and as soon as I got home I bought a camera.
"Photography has always pulled me out of my comfort zone and with that, has introduced me to incredible people"
What I enjoy most out of my photography is the ability it has given me to connect with other people all over the world. Photography has always pulled me out of my comfort zone and with that, has introduced me to incredible people whether they be the subjects of my creative portraits, other travellers and artists; a few that are now very dear friends to me as well.
It's so rewarding and I'm so grateful for every experience!
Looking at your portfolio, you seem to have travelled a lot. What are some of your favourite places you've travelled to?
This is a tough question to answer because there is something special about every place I've traveled to, but Morocco and Portugal are my absolute favourites and hold special places in my heart.
They were my first 2 destinations on my travels in 2016. I'm very proud of that time in my life because I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to pursue the things I love most - travel and photography.
"I pushed myself out of my comfort zone to pursue the things I love most - travel and photography"
I have since been back to both Morocco and Portugal, both feel like home to me and while I yearn to travel to new places, I have the same yearning feeling to return back to Morocco and Portugal always.
Let's talk about baskets! Can you tell me about your collection?
The basket I love the most is one that was made in Morocco, but purchased from my favourite plant store in San Diego, Wild Island Collective
. The owner has a wide assortment of baskets for the plants.
"I realised how versatile my basket is beyond being a home for my plant"
After a few months of having the plant in my basket, I started to rearrange some things and realised how versatile my basket is beyond being a home for my plant.
Baskets can make beautiful storage for plants. What do you have in your basket now?
Currently my basket is overflowing with textiles from my trips to Morocco - 50 year old Moroccan wool blankets and a Moroccan rug.
I love that this basket made in Morocco, made it to San Diego where I bought it and now has treasure from travels to Morocco in it.
It was meant to be!
It sure was! Are baskets a permanent fixture in your home now?
I don't have a massive basket collection since I only live in a 400 square foot space.
I have 3 baskets; 2 made in Morocco and the other gifted to me so I'm not sure of it's origin. I rearrange a lot so I love how versatile all of the baskets are!
As mentioned before, Wild Island Collective in San Diego always have a great assortment of baskets and the owner, January, always knows where they're from and has a story behind it. She also has this basket lamp from Thailand that I've had my eye on for a while as well!
Also love the basket work in Morocco where I try to travel to as regularly as possible. Once I have more square feet I'll plan to bring more back home with me!
It must be challenging not being able to travel to Morocco at the moment, a place that provides you with so much creativity. Where are you sourcing your inspiration right now?
My previous travels and experiences have helped me so much during this time.
I've been looking back at them, reflecting on them and incorporating them into what I create today; whether that's photography, video or in the way I decorate my home.
I also have a dear friend that lives in Morocco, so I get inspiration in the way of photos and videos from her regularly, so that brings me so much joy when I'm feeling down or stuck!
You launched your home shop in July 2020, can you tell us more about what led you to that?
There were a few factors, but it mostly came about after asking my friends at Majestic Disorder
a personal question about living with less, and still leading an enriching life.
I went from selling most of my personal belongings to travel a few years ago and then in early 2019 filled up a 400 sq. ft. space with mostly vintage and belongings from my travels.
As a part of that conversation, Majestic Disorder reminded me "you collect vintage, you're a photographer, you're creative, smart and have a beautiful home. What if you start selling?"
The next week I set up my home shop with a small collection of personal belongings (blankets, poufs, rugs) and a few weeks later met a woman that bought multiple items from me that then led me to start sourcing vintage Moroccan rugs!
Thank you so much Alina, best of luck with your beautiful store and I hope you can get back to your travels soon!
View and shop Alina's inspired photography prints and vintage collections on her website, here