In the Studio: A&K Woodworking & Design

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While in Austin we had the pleasure of stopping by the A&K Woodworking and Design studio.  Amanda and Khiem teamed up with The Maker Co-op at our Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition this year.  We were so excited to talk to Amanda and Khiem in person and see where their incredible wood furniture and accessories were created.
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A&K was started in April 2013 after we moved from Boston, MA to Austin, TX. We both graduated from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design where we studied woodworking and photography. We moved to Austin because it is a place full of opportunities for artists. The people who live in this beautiful city know the importance of supporting the arts and local businesses. We are inspired by the architecture around us and the mix of mid-century modern and Japanese design.
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Our pieces are handcrafted with great attention to detail. We believe in using oils and finishes that protect the wood while enhancing the natural beauty.  Quality is our focus, we strive to make pieces that will last life times.
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When it comes to our process it definitely varies a bit between custom furniture for clients and our own designs. In many cases we begin by creating our design, planning costs, taking a trip to the lumber yard, milling the wood, and finally hand-crafting the piece. A lot of time is spent planning the piece and its construction before beginning.

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Khiem is working for A&K full-time while Amanda is working for both A&K and has a small part-time job on the side. We currently sell smaller home goods such as cutting boards, mini lanterns, and coasters in addition to our larger furniture pieces.

AKWoodandDesign-5376A few tips and suggestions for potential makers would be to keep making! It’s important to continue practicing your craft. In addition to making, be sure to document your work! Having your work documented helps to show potential clients what you have been creating. Join groups! For us, joining The Maker Co-op here in Austin, TX, helped us to have a group of artists who are in the same boat as us. It is important to have people to turn to who will help you as you embark on your small business journey.

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Thank you, Amanda and Khiem, for letting the Renegade Craft Gang tour your amazing workshop!  Be sure to check out The Maker Co-op as well as A&K Woodworking and Design, plus their blog, facebook, twitter and instagram!

In the Studio: Fox + Brie

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During our trip to Austin for our Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition, we had the opportunity to stop by and visit a few of our Makers.  Our first stop was the Fox & Brie studio in North Austin.  Jess Decelle, who has been a part of our Austin Markets in the past, graciously gave us a tour of her studio and talked about her beginnings and the inspiration for Fox & Brie.
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When putting together a collection, I try to offer a variety of different patterns that work well together but are still interesting enough to stand out individually. I’m always on the hunt for unique prints and eye-catching color combinations that lend a modern twist to the idea of the Southern gentleman.
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Every aspect of Fox & Brie is created in my home studio–sewing patterns, packaging, graphic design. From the first cut to the final stitch, each item is made with my own two hands, allowing me complete control over quality and construction.

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As a child, when asked by well-meaning adults what I wanted to be when I grew up, I answered politely, “I just want to make neat things and go on lots of adventures.” It’s taken 27 years and two college degrees to realize that I just need to create useful, beautiful things for people to enjoy. I began Fox & Brie as a side project while working on my MA in Advertising. As an art director, most of my days were spent staring at a computer screen; so, I began to fill my nights with tangible projects and odd little creations. After graduation I behaved accordingly and worked as a designer for a short time, but missed the simple, tactile act of creating something with my own two hands. Finally realizing that my naive childhood wish was a possibility, I took a chance and started out on an adventure.

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I began working full-time as Fox & Brie in March 2012, constantly trying to improve my methods, seeking out unique vintage & dead-stock fabrics, and looking for new opportunities & sources of inspiration. It’s been an incredible experience, filled with long nights of work, a lot of trial & error, and an amazing sense of fulfillment that I never really expected to feel in my lifetime.

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Sometimes, it’s going to be the worst. You’re going to face exhaustion, self-doubt, failures, naysayers, and every other problem you didn’t even know existed. Some days you may look in the mirror and ask yourself, “What am I even doing here?”

Keep going. It means you’re on the right track.

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If you are so afraid of failure that you never take risks, the best you can hope for is mediocrity. Failure is essential to creativity. Embrace your mistakes as a chance to grow, learn what doesn’t work and then find out what does. Become an expert at your craft and continue to experiment with new techniques & designs. Each time you overcome an obstacle, you will grow stronger and more confident in your
abilities and in yourself. Yes, sometimes owning a creative business is the worst, but it is also the most rewarding, fulfilling, fantastic experience of my life and it has made me a better person in spite of myself.

Just keep going.

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Thank you, Jess for letting us spend the afternoon with you over at Fox & Brie!  Take a look at the Fox & Brie website, and visit her blog, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook to keep updated with Fox & Brie!

 

 

 

 

 

In the Studio: Stowe Provisions

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Our final studio visit in Austin was  Stowe Provisions.  Mark Howard and Mark Stowe are the craftsmen behind the leather company.  We were welcomed in by their hospitality, southern charm, and of course, their sweet dog.
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We started SP [Stowe Provisions] in 2003 during SXSW.  I’d been dabbling at leatherwork for a while and Howie, who I’ve known since grade 2, was in town for SXSW and we just decided to form an actual business and pursue it more fully.  The aesthetic started out of a lack of options available in the retail market at the time.  In 2003 there weren’t really other people creating quality handmade leather goods for anyone but conservative ranchers and cowboys.   So I started making things that i wanted to wear, and people started buying them from me.    
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We pursued it as a business because we really enjoy the work, and the idea of being independent, self-sufficient… all those things that appeal to an entrepreneur and/or creative person.
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We start by selecting American veg-tanned hides in the appropriate size/weight/condition for the product in mind.  All pieces/shapes/etc are sized and cut out by hand.  From here every piece is a little bit different.  Most of our work is embossed in some way and that is usually the next step.  Stamps are pressed in with a shop-press or stamped in by striking with a hammer.  
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After embossing some pieces are dyed first, others painted.  All painting and dying is done by hand as well.  During this phase there is also a lot of “conditioning” the leather at various points before and after dying.  Oiling, sanding, physically softening.  Finally, hardware is attached and the product is tagged and packaged if pre-ordered.
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We took some time away from the business for most of 2009 to early 2013.  And the reason for the relaunch was actually very similar to the original beginning.  While there are A LOT more brands of handmade leather goods on the market currently, we struggle to find pieces that are interesting and show a level of thought and craftsmanship that set them apart and make them seem worth owning.
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The Renegade Gang was absolutely amazed by the quality and craftsmanship of the goods Stowe Provisions created.
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Stowe and Howie’s advice to makers out there?  Make work you believe in and get to know your market.  We couldn’t say it better.
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Thank you Stowe Provisions, for giving us the opportunity to tour your workshop and get to know you and your craft.  Learn more about Stowe Provisions and visit their Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank You, Austin!

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Thank you, Austin and SXSW!  Last weekend’s Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition at the Palmer Events Center was one of our best Austin shows yet!  Over 200 talented makers showcased their work for excited shoppers and SXSW attendees.

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(clockwise from top left: Slantt StudioLa MochiOutlaw Franky and Little PancakesThe Bower StudioCeramica Botanica)

DJs No Kid$ and Babefool kept the atmosphere lively as visitors perused each booth.  We saw lots of smiles in the photo ops areas where The Confetti Committee set up a whimsical cactus backdrop and Jakprints hosted a slow motion video booth.

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clockwise from left: The Confetti CommitteeJakprints)

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Loyal Stricklin

It was a pleasure to see so many happy shoppers buying handmade during SXSW!

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If you attended our 2014 Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW please fill out our survey!  It only takes a minute.

Stay tuned for official dates on our other upcoming Spring + Summer Renegade Craft Fairs.  And be sure to follow us on Instagram and Pinterest to stay updated on our Makers and all things Renegade Craft!

Big thanks to you, Austin, and our sponsors!

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Maker Spotlight: Stitch Prism

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Today we are featuring Stitch Prism, a jewelry and aerium designer in West Philadelphia.  The designer, KellyAnne Mifflin, created Stitch Prism after making jewelry out of metals and objects found on the street for herself and her friends.  Since then, the business has evolved into kids classes and workshops, craft shows throughout Philadelphia and now an e-commerce site.  We are so happy that Stitch Prism is traveling all the way from Philadelphia to join our Austin Market!

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The name, Stitch Prism, is meant to evoke thoughts about color, light, shape, weaving, and connecting – elements and ideas that inspire KellyAnne’s designs.  We absolutely love the interesting shape and textural combinations featured in Stitch Prism’s jewelry.

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KellyAnne’s beautifully arranged aeriums consist of airplants, lichens, mosses, and woodland elements carefully curated and housed in glass containers.  Each hanging garden is unique unto itself, and creates a natural statement in your home.

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IMG_8480We are so excited that Stitch Prism is joining us tomorrow through Saturday at our Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition in Austin!  Check out KellyAnne’s unique jewelry and aeriums in person and show the Philadelphia native some of that southern hospitality!  Visit the Stitch Prism website, Facebook, and Etsy page to see all of her work and updates.  See you all tomorrow in Austin!

 

Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition Starts Tomorrow!

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The Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition starts tomorrow at the Palmer Events Center in Austin, TX!  This free event will be held tomorrow, Friday, and Saturday from 12pm – 8pm each day, and will feature a curated selection of today’s best and brightest independent Makers along with art installations, workshops, games, music, food trucks, booze, and so much more!  As always, there will be a variety of outstanding handmade goods at the Fair – ranging from cutting edge jewelry, stationery, clothing and accessories, to posters, housewares and much more. Browse this year’s line up of 200+ talented makers here.

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DJs No Kid$ and Babefool will be spinning jams all three days to keep the atmosphere lively as shoppers peruse each booth. Take a break from shopping and explore each art installation, from the beautifully, ornate dream catchers by The Betty Loo Project to the handcrafted, whimsical cacti world by The Confetti Committee.  These art installations are the perfect photo backdrop to commemorate your visit.  Want something more interactive?  Attendees are invited to get crafty by participating in workshops such as creating custom perfume and nail polish with Feto Soap and J.Hannah Co.  Keep your kids entertained and play a round of MakeATX games such as gigantic life-size dominos, tic-tac-toe and more!

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Free guest passes are available now at SXSW, or attendees can pick up a guest pass once they arrive at the fair.  We encourage visitors to walk, bike, or take public transportation to the Fair.  There are several bus routes with stops nearby the Palmer Events Center, including the 5, 10, 29, 30, 110, 450 + 484.  Parking will also be available at the Palmer Events Center for $10.  

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Still curious?  Check out our Renegade Craft Fair Austin Details PageFacebook event, and be sure to follow us on Instagram to stay updated on our Makers and all things Renegade Craft!

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Maker Spotlight: Loyal Stricklin

Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.36.15 AM Today we are featuring Alabama Maker, Loyal Stricklin.  Michael Stricklin began crafting accessories as a response to poorly made accessories he had seen in the market.  It was his mission to create high quality lifestyle goods that are not only long-lasting, but would also age and patina beautifully with every use. Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.36.59 AM We first fell in love with Loyal Stricklin after discovering his Aviator Mug, the perfect traveling coffee accessory one could ask for.  But with every product  that has been added to the Loyal Stricklin lifestyle line, from Horween leather tote bags to wallets, we’ve fallen in love more and more. Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.42.56 AMScreen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.42.20 AM The attention to detail and quality of goods produced by Loyal Stricklin is unparalleled.  Loyal Stricklin does not cut corners and sources the highest quality materials such as Horween Chromexcel leather, and Japanese brass hardware.  We love how this unisex Shackle Bracelet is the epitome of simplicity yet exhibits richness. Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.36.50 AM Loyal Stricklin crafts everything in their Alabama studio and believes strongly in American made products as well as small batch production, ensuring the highest quality as well as providing a personal connection with each item made.  Just like Renegade Craft Fair, Loyal Stricklin believes that handmade items “just have that little extra personal touch that sets them above the rest.” EME_4717EME_4718 The photos on the Loyal Stricklin Instagram feed are stunning visual representations of products, inspirations, and the culture and nature of Michael Strickin’s travels. Screen Shot 2014-02-24 at 11.36.26 AM We are so thrilled to have Loyal Stricklin join us at our Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition in Austin!  Get yourself acquainted with all of the products on their website, Twitter, Instagram and come out to our Fair in just 3 days!

Austin RoundUp: SXSW Style Essentials

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SXSW Fashion is serious business, which makes packing for SXSW a near impossible feat.  If you’re struggling with what to wear during SXSW, the Makers from our Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition have got you covered!  It was so much fun pairing together eclectic pieces and necessities for our SXSW Roundup.  Starting from the left: the rainbow polka dot shirt is from Totally Blown Clothing.  The tie-dye scarf, a SXSW must-have, is from Late Sunday Afternoon.  Accessorize yourself with a 2 Step Puff Necklace from Cheek-ie and triangle earrings from MapleXO.  Keep your eyes protected from the bright sun with the Bradbury wood sunglasses from Sire’s Eyewear.  With all the walking that is involved at SXSW you definitely want to have your essentials on you but don’t want to carry anything too bulky or heavy, that’s where Rais Case comes in with their southwestern Vida fanny pack.  And just like that, you’ve got a great look for SXSW!

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Clothing and accessories aren’t the only thing you have to think about while trailing the streets from one concert to the next.  Protect yourself from the Texas heat with Sam Wish deodorant and smell fresh all day with Sea Grape’s roll-on perfume.  Staying hydrated is the most important thing to remember during festival days, so add a handy flask and a pop of color to your ensemble with Bush Smart’s hip flask.  And speaking of staying hydrated, keep Tchoup Industries’ Happy Hour Key Ring attached to you at all times to keep the party going.  We hope this helps you determine your SXSW essentials!  Be sure to check out these Makers as well as the other 200+ Makers at our Renegade Craft Fair: SXSW Edition next week!