Amber is a ceramic artist turned jewelry maker. Truth be told, Amber E Lea Designs evolved through a series of fortuitous happenstances. Amber worked with clay since she was a kid and hasn’t been able to deny her fascination with its properties. After studying ceramics and arts in college, Amber took a job at a local jewelry making company. Now, years later, she’s a jewelry designer and has started a company specializing in ceramics.
Amber began making jewelry for herself to fill the void of simple yet interesting wearables in the world. At first, Amber was drawn only to the timelessness and versatility of the color white. However, it wasn’t long, until she began creating all kinds of colored porcelains, experimenting with metals and hand painting 22k gold and silver lusters on to the surfaces. These miniature porcelain sculptures have become her passion. For Amber, bringing art into everyday lives is a beautiful and necessary thing.
Amber offered us a little peak into her studio and workspace. We love all the hanging inspiration, and the raw vessels waiting to be fired up in the kiln.
Today we’re thrilled to be featuring Betty Alida! These jewelry pieces will be kicking off our handmade weekend in Austin at our West Elm Pop-Up on May 14th and our Austin Fair May 16+17. Get ready, Austin!
Betty Alida jewelry is designed and handmade in Austin, Texas, by Jennifer Gaewsky. Created in 2014, Jennifer’s line was named after her maternal and paternal grandmothers, Betty and Alida. The designs began as a passion project and stem from a desire to create unique and beautiful pieces with high-quality materials and skilled craftsmanship. Jennifer has had a strong love for art and design since childhood, when she first began exploring jewelry construction.
During the day, Jennifer is a pediatric physical therapist – but for her entire life, she has explored all types of craft from pottery to wood working to painting. She spends much of her free time learning and exploring new mediums. For Jennifer, there is something about the limitless aesthetic potential of materials that she finds addicting and she loves to create and uncover that potential. Jennifer created Betty Alida in 2014 in response to this love for making and creating, as many others do.
Jennifer is highly inspired by her surroundings, finding and absorbing inspiration everywhere. The abundance of countless highly talented artists in Austin and the city itself breathes their influence. Jennifer’s multi-colored pendants are actually inspired by the Graffiti park at Castle Hill, a large, dynamic, outdoor art gallery in Austin.
“After I spend all day absorbing inspiration, I process it, synthesize it, and make sense of it when I go for a run. That is my brainstorming time and I tend to do a lot of my rough designing during those runs. Sometimes they come to my when I am sitting in Austin traffic. Next I sketch the design and test it out on the loom. I can’t tell you how many designs look amazing in my head and terrible on the loom. But if it works out, great! And that’s how I have come up with my current designs that I will be bringing to Renegade.”
Jennifer utilizes a simple bead loom that she has grown to love after countless experimentations. Using Japanese Delica seed beads, she carefully selects the colors, creating bright, colorful palettes. Although time-consuming, Jennifer’s attention to detail shines in the colors she chooses. Once the piece is woven, it is secured in a slide bar and chain, giving the designs their unique look.
Happy Monday, everyone! We’re kicking off this week by getting to know Est Wst Collective. The guys at Est Wst Collective have been working hard to bring aid to rural areas of Nepal and we want to spread the word on how to help them. You can donate to their fund here.
EST WST Collective was founded by Jhana and Arya Cayton, a brother-sister team with roots in California and Kathmandu. Their bags are made in a small workshop in Nepal using sustainable and handloom textiles sourced directly from their partner weavers. Colors are drawn from nature and tradition, shedding light on the beauty that persists through a nation in transition.
Inspiration for EST WST was born when the siblings returned to Nepal in 2013, where their parents met 35 years earlier. In an effort to support marginalized populations, EST WST utilizes traditional craft, offering a functional product based in authenticity and sustainability.
Jhana and Arya work closely with their partner artisans, alternating time spent in Nepal and Northern California to develop new products, work with their weaver collectives on new designs and examine ways they can decrease their environmental impact while increasing their social impact. The regular travel also maintains the authenticity and balance between Eastern and Western aesthetic.
“We put thought into everything we source, incorporating artisanal craft and sustainable materials to ensure each piece has substance and a story behind it.” Even their hangtags are handmade from a natural plant called loktah, which grows like a weed in the foothills of the Himalayas and provides income for women in remote villages.
Their Himlayan Nettle, which is used extensively throughout the collection is harvested, spun and woven by hand without the use of electricity. Each bag is lined with a waterproof lining made from recycled materials, and a portion of each sale is dedicated to supporting rural populations through clean energy initiatives.
The latest collection, debuting at Renegade’s Austin Fair features a variety of ikats from their collective in India. The designs are all custom made and handwoven using the ancient 12 step process which originated in South Asia.
We are so thrilled to have EST WST Collective join us for our Austin Fair on May 16+17 at Fair Market. For more on their story and to stay up to date on new partnerships and travels, follow their instagram, Facebook or check out their website. EST WST is currently on the ground in Nepal working to bring aid and support to those who have not yet been helped. You can donate to their fund here.
Lindsey started working with clay while taking ceramics courses at UT. Her interest in ceramics stuck after graduating, and Lindsey bought a kiln to begin working on her own ceramics collection. Foxwares Ceramics contains functional and decorative ceramics for the home. From lanterns and coasters, to mugs and tableware, Lindsey’s pieces are not only gorgeously detailed, they are also meant to be used. We’ve got a deep love for ceramics and needless to say, we want one of everything!
Lindsey is often inspired by her travels. She makes an effort to seek out other ceramicists and finds inspiration in the simplicity of the craft and what some artists can do with so little. When she can, Lindsey visits archeological museums to see the some of the traditional pottery on display, taking in how the process and significance has remained steadfast.
Looking at Linsey’s work, you can see that she has adopted some old world techniques, as traditional patterns, textures, and shape shine through some of her pieces. Although some of Lindsey’s designs start from sketches, much of her designs are born on the wheel, letting the organic shape evolve more naturally than if she were to draw on paper.
For Lindsey, the process is all about trial and error. She finds she can only get better from practicing the process start to finish. When something good comes out of the kiln, Lindsey starts making it in production. Out of that repetition comes more learning and new ideas. The more she makes, the more she learns. Lindsey finds the practice of creating ceramics fascinating. While it may be beautifully simple – just earth and fire- it takes a lifetime to master.
Foxwares webshop is still in the works, so you’ll have to buy all the Foxwares Ceramics pieces at our Austin Fair, unless we get to them first! Fall in love with Lindsey’s entire collection on her website, and follow her on Instagram to stay up to date!
Like anything in life, good things are created with hard work, dedication, and love. Today we have the pleasure of featuring Studio KMO, a true master of hard work, dedication, and most importantly, patience. Karen will be bringing your papercutting skills to our Austin Fair at Fair Market on May 16+17.
Studio KMO is the studio artwork of papercutting artist, Karen M. O’Leary. Her modern maps are handcrafted and created with just an x-acto blade and watercolor paper in her Charlotte, North Carolina studio. The first mapcut (a hand cut modern map) was created as part of Karen’s 5th year architecture thesis. Karen’s mapcut was more than just an average map – it was a beautiful, non-typical map, layered with more information than any other. Since then, she quietly worked on these beauties for her own enjoyment.
In October of 2009, Karen listed her NYC mapcut on Etsy, in hopes of earning a few dollars. The images of the delicate streets of New York quickly circulated throughout the online design community and a business was unintentionally created.
Karen’s modern maps are more than a navigational tool, they are collected and treasured by many for the memories and stories they tell. These maps are truly a sight for sore eyes and the immaculate detail within them is a reflection of painstaking work and Karen’s passion for beauty in the smallest things.Karen’s maps are often collected as reminders of where we have been and where we aspire to go. And rightly so, they become heirlooms.
Happy Friday, everyone! Today we’re featuring Pup Tart Handmade, a London-based textile brand dedicated to creating awesome products for your furry pets and your home. We’re so excited to have Pup Tart join us for our London Fair kicking off tomorrow! Hannah’s bringing some brand new fruit and cactus printed housewares, so keep your eyes open at our Fair!
Pup Tart was founded by Hannah and her Norfolk Terrier mixed dog, Indy. This adorable duo set out to create hip dog accessories, that were practical, beautiful, and also affordable. The success of Pup Tart led to an expansion of products, including home goods that complement Hannah’s pet accessories.
Pup Tart is truly a handmade collection – everything is designed, printed, and sewn by Hannah herself, including the fabrics and papers. Hannah tie dyes, marbles, and block prints to create bright, colorful patterns and designs to freshen up your home.
Hannah has such a great eye for color when it comes to her marbling. The swirls of neon pink, electric blues, and shimmering golds blend seamlessly together, yet maintain their bold originality. If you visit the Pup Tart blog, Hannah even has a tutorial on how you can marble yourself!
We’re dying to get our hands on Hannah’s summery pet tipis! Our dogs in the office would go nuts for them.
We can’t wait to see Pup Tart Handmade’s bright and colorful booth pop up at our London Fair this weekend! Be sure to check out the Pup Tart Etsy shop, and follow Hannah and Indy’s adventures on Instagram!
Girae Rigira is an Italian clothing line founded by Germana Bargoni, who has become a passionate textile archeologist. Germana digs up and retrieves long-forgotten precious remnants of fabric and cloth that have been resting quietly in abandoned warehouses and old storage rooms for 30 to 50 years.
Her search for precious fabrics leads her through Italy, Europe, and the United States to find miles and miles of textiles waiting to be repurposed into something new and beautiful.
What emerges from Germana’s expeditions, is the ancient story told through texture, brightly colored fabrics, and unique patterns. These stories inspire retro yet timeless fantasies that Germana pieces together by crafting unique items and often, given the preciousness of her collection, turning them into one-of-a-kind rare gems: dresses, shirts, blouses, bowling pants…
Every item is handmade and hand-stitched by Germana in her Bologna workshop. In each article of clothing, a fragment of a colorful, elegant and unique past is given fresh life, and a new story can be told.
Germana crafts unique one-of-a-kind pieces that are sometimes inspired by the decade of fashion the textile was created, or reinvented into a bolder, modern parcel of clothing. Girae Rigira understands the cyclical world of fashion and embraces the ever-turning wheel.
The Girae Rigira lookbooks artfully tell stories themselves, creating a character-filled landscape where the viewer captures glances at the outfits in time. Perhaps it is how Germana sees herself, as she dives into history, unveiling the textiles that will shape her own stories.
We love seeing into Germana’s Italian workspace, full of deep, dramatic color and light. We are thrilled to have Germana bring her line of clothing to our London Fair this weekend, April 11+12, at the Old Truman Brewery. Her pieces are perfect statements for Spring, don’t you think? Before the weekend hits, check out the Girae Rigira website, pre-shop her Etsy store, and follow Germana on Facebook and Instagram. See you soon!