Heather Lins Home

Maker Spotlight + Giveaway

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Heather Lins Home is a DIY kit company founded by Heather Lins. Fusing her background in graphic design with a passion for embroidery, Heather has created the ultimate (and best packaged) DIY calendar kit!

Needing a perfect gift for a friend, or perhaps you’re wanting to learn something new in 2017? Now’s your chance! Heather is offering up one of her 2017 Stitch the Stars Calendar Kit to one lucky Instagrammer! To enter, follow Heather Lins Home on Instagram and tag a friend in our giveaway post. The winner will be chosen on Monday, December 5th.

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Claire Green Jewelry

Maker Spotlight + Giveaway

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Claire Green is a jewelry designer originally hailing from upstate New York and has now made Portland, Oregon her base. Working with metal for over 10 years, Claire is currently drawn to the methods of manipulating metal from its flat, solid state into voluminous forms and textural shapes.

If you’ve been coveting a piece of Claire Green Jewelry, or have recently fallen in love, you’re in luck! Claire is giving away her timeless rust stone ring to a lucky Instagrammer! To enter, follow Claire Green on Instagram and tag a friend in our giveaway post. The winner will be chosen on Monday, December 5th.

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Cortney Heimerl

Maker Spotlight

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Cortney Heimerl is a quilter, pattern maker, and totally awesome flag designer based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Her flag designs, with their bold color combinations, first caught our eyes. But the more we browsed her gallery of works, the more we realized just how truly special Cortney’s artistic eye is.

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Pillbox Bat Co.

Maker Spotlight

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From little league to small business, teammates Dan Watson and Zak Fellman started Pillbox Bat Co. Creating their first bat as kids, their new venture based out of Winona, Minnesota features handcrafted and painted bats that pay tribute to all those hometown teams out there.

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Janelle Gramling

Maker Spotlight

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Janelle Gramling is a Milwaukee artist and designer extraordinaire, who specializes in creating gorgeous works out of fiber, found objects, and ceramics. Her technique and raw touch offers a deep personalization to each object she molds. 

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The Umbrella Collective

Maker Spotlight

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Born and raised in Hawaii, Portland-based Maker Erin Sim developed her appreciation for nature and simple design at an early age. Practical craft became her passion after studying architecture, and in 2014 she directed her attention to bags, launching The Umbrella Collective. Erin’s belief that “synthesis and attention to detail are habitual” is clearly reflected in her work, while her brand exemplifies her desire to “produce quality for the sake of quality.”

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Facture Goods

Maker Spotlight

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Missouri-based maker, Aron Fischer, is the creator behind Facture Goods, a design-centric brand focused on the raw making process from start to finish. Aron’s work is roughly constructed yet refined, showcasing the underlying elegance that each object holds. We’re always thrilled to meet new makers and develop growing relationships with small businesses, and Facture Goods has our utmost admiration!

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Yao Cheng Design

Maker Spotlight

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We’ve had our eyes on the color-packed prints and tea towels by Yao Cheng Design for a while now, and every time we see those watercolor designs we fall in love a little more.

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Have you always been passionate about design?

Yes! I first was exposed to painting and drawing when I was very small, around the age of 4. My mom took me to my first drawing class, and it really clicked for me how being creative with my hands can express my ideas.

Why did you start working in this particular craft?

Painting, in general, really started back in high school and all the way through my undergrad program at RISD. But working in watercolor and the style that my work is known for today, that started just a few years ago when I was still working in the corporate fashion industry. I needed to find a creative outlet in the evenings and watercolor was a challenging medium that I never familiarized myself with in school. So, I took some lessons from a friend and it just sort of clicked into place for me when I saw how versatile and fluid this medium can be. It’s such a delight to paint with, even now!

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What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

I think it’s the unique culmination of my various creative backgrounds, from surface patterns, to my love for nature and geometry, to my love for color. That combined with my background in traditional calligraphy has really made our designs stand out! I also make a conscious effort to make our work attainable by making them affordable, but high-quality products that people can not only admire but also use in their daily lives!

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

Aside from our retail products, we are also a design studio in Columbus, Ohio. I can’t count how many times, even recently, I’ve underpriced our design services to prospective clients! Pricing is tricky for all small business owners, but it really is important to know the true value of the work that we do as artists. There are also other mistakes like not doing bookkeeping correctly or not understanding how to market ourselves in a strategic way. We only started planning out our marketing and product releases this year, I wish I had done this years ago!

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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

My personal life, in the first 2 years, was my biggest sacrifice. I was so focused on getting this business off the ground and doing it right, that my work hours completely merged into my personal life. I felt constantly burnt out and it really did have an impact on who I was outside of work. I do regret not placing a clearer divide on this. For example, I used to check my work emails when I wake up in the mornings. It motivated me to get out of bed, but then I was stressed from the very beginning of the day. That’s not a good way to start each work day, so now I make sure that I don’t have access to anything work related until I arrive at the studio!

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My proudest moments are when I am at shows, like Chicago Renegade, and I see people immediately light up and smile when they see my work! It’s very gratifying to know that all of the hard work we put into our designs can touch people in that way. My proudest achievement was not taking out a financial loan or having investors involved in starting my business. The financial freedom has allowed me to take my business in directions that I am excited about. It has also taught me a lot about what it means to build a sustainable business by growing at a slower but more conscientious way!

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

I was familiar and comfortable working in the textiles industry, and painting lent itself very naturally to starting my own business. I really didn’t know much about running a business, however, so there was a huge learning curve there! But, you take each day at a time.

What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

It’s really strange, but I have known from the time I was a teenager that I would be my own boss one day. I just didn’t know how I would get there, but I always had that confidence that this is what I would do for my career. I took the leap and left my corporate job because I felt like it was time. I knew I needed to take the opportunity and go back to doing what I love most, which is painting full-time. So yes, it was a financial leap, but it didn’t feel like a leap otherwise. It felt like a very natural next step in my career.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

Nature, color, geometry, and patterns. I use my Pinterest boards all the time for image references.

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Make what you truly love, and make sure it’s always about quality first!

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All Things Yao Cheng:

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American Seat and Saddle Co.

Maker Spotlight

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Lorraine and Steve Davy set out to create American Seat and Saddle Co. in the hopes of bringing more locally made bicycle gear to the US. Their Honest Abe saddle is the ideal fit, embracing modern simplicity and classic construction.

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Silver Run Ceramics

Maker Spotlight

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When detailed illustration meets the texture of clay, magic happens! If you need proof, Silver Run Ceramics has ceramic piece after piece that shows off what happens when two artists understand true collaboration. Michelle Lyn Strader and her partner Frederick make up Silver Run Ceramics, and gives us a glimpse into the quiet and artful farm life.

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MISC Goods Co.

Maker Spotlight

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Misc. Goods Co. is a collection of well designed products by graphic designer Tyler Deeb. The small but mighty collection contains some of the best miscellany, from playing cards (the nicest we’ve seen) to ceramic flasks.

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The Enamel Project

Maker Spotlight

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The Enamel Project is all about continual and evolving creative expression. Started by artist Angela Malchionno, Enamel is currently a weaving and workshop collection, but keep an eye out, because Angela is all about using this outlet to explore all her creative options!

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Maker Spotlight: Collin Garrity

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We can’t believe our Chicago Holiday Fair is already here! Just like that, it’s already December! Even though the year has flown by way too fast it’s always great fun to think back on all these moments we’ve shared with Makers and friends. Collin Garrity will be hanging out with us this weekend at Bridgeport Art Center, and we can’t wait to cherish all the inspiration that finds us.

IMG_2838 I grew up in a small german town that was 20 minutes from the Vitra Design Museum, and 30 minutes from Basel, but my interest in Design was a lot more raw- My friends and I would break into abandoned factories and make sculptures out of the old machinery. It wasn’t until Warren Wilson College in NC that I picked up woodworking. I started out building an electric guitar, a fell in love with the trade. After a couple years of building guitars in the school’s woodshop, I tackled furniture, then lighting, and as I became more and more experienced, I became interested in making simpler and simpler things. Much of my motivation in designing objects comes from wanting functional, simple, and beautiful objects. If i find myself using something ugly (like a flyswatter) I find myself thinking – this doesn’t have to be ugly. One of my newest designs- which I’ll have at Renegade’s Dec 5-6 show in Chicago is my oak and walnut folding-table. it’s a beautiful and sturdy table, and it also folds flat. So it’s easy to store, move and hide. I try stick to a useful minimalist throughout my work. Almost everything is useful- but they aren’t show pieces. they are beautiful objects that are meant to be used- or held.

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I mess up all the time. I do a lot of work on the lathe- which is unique to most machines because the wood itself spins as I carve away with chisels- and in my small woodshop – which has two small 4-pane windows, over half of the panes are missing  because of wood flying off the lathe. I’ve broken coffee mugs this way, and of course hurt myself, but when you are working you have to stay focus, – so when you mess up you either have to keep going, or (and this is one of the hardest things to learn) you have to recognize when you need to switch tasks or take a break. you can undo a day’s good work with a foolish mistake, so sometimes taking the afternoon off is the best work decision you can make. you just might need to get an early start for the rest of the week.

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Starting my business took a lot of sacrifices. – when I first started my own woodshop I found a building above a club in Savannah GA- it was loud and smoky and when I moved in it didn’t have any windows. several months into my lease, the club was shut down for having too much gunplay. and the reason I chose this building was that it was cheap- and I could work- and later live, there without needing a car- so I could work a part time job, and save money by not having a car, tv, internet, a smart phone, video games, furniture, or hobbies., This isn’t how most people start their business, but it allowed me to buy machines and wood – and to make a lot of product, so that eventually I started to turn a profit.

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My advice to people starting out- especially with woodworking, is that you dont need fancy machines or a beautiful shop- or a perfect branding package- those come in time, but The most important thing is Getting work done. Design amazing work and them make a lot of it. it sounds obvious, but a lot of people get into debt before they’ve started- and if you have to pay your own bills, there’s no other way.

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My proudest moment was one of my finest ones – collaborating with LEMAIRE the french fashion house.

While I was a senior in college, they contacted me- with a photo of one of my spinning tops photoshopped onto the wrist of a model.- saying they wanted to work with me. Once I decided it was not a joke, I realized that I could do woodworking- that it wasn’t just a hobby. I’ve worked on several pieces with them that have shown up during Fashion Week.

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It’s encouraging to remember collaborations like these when I get discouraged- and anyone who works for themselves will tell you that you get discouraged. it’s good to have to trick to staying inspired.

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One of the things that I often turn to are other makes- but not woodworkers- that gets overwhelming. sometimes it’s great to search the web for incredible designers using clay or yarn or metal- and delve into their collections. It helps me remember the limits of woodworking- and it helps me defy them.

but most of all I am inspired by my family and partner. One of the driving forces I have is the hope of going home to Germany for christmas- and this year I hope to bring my partner (she hasn’t yet been) so when I’m discouraged I remember that the longer I work today, the more realistic it will be to fly home for christmas and spend a few weeks there.

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And thinking about Christmas each year has helped me come up with a lot of my designs- the first chess set I made was a christmas gift for my dad. – and it’s true about several of my designs. When I’m home, each year we go to the Vitra design museum to the Colmar Christmas Markets- to the Basel Cafes – and I always come back to the states with a journal full of sketches and itching to get back into the woodshop.

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We are loving these Santa logs. Hope to see you this weekend for our Chicago Fair! Don’t miss out on Collin Garrity here:

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Maker Spotlight: Stak Ceramics

Stak Tempo Dock Renegade Craft FairIt was love at first sight when it came to Stak Ceramics. These functional ceramic pieces elevate simple vessels like a utensil crock into an ipad dock for easy recipe viewing. It’s these thoughtful details that make creators, Heather and Myles, so incredibly special, and we can’t wait to see all this new work at our Chicago Fair this weekend!
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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

Our business name Stak Ceramics, was inspired by the landscape and architecture of Pittsburgh Pa.  The city of Pittsburgh is surrounded by hilly neighborhoods with homes and buildings that appear to be “stacked”.  We wanted our business name to reflect the city where we live and work.

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Have you always been passionate about design?

I have always been interested in design and the way artists utilize space.  Whether it is paint on a canvas or glaze on a ceramic piece, the way people choose to design their work is fascinating.  Myles has had an interest in design for as long as he can remember.  He built furniture and lamps as a hobby in high school, and then moved on to study sculpture and industrial design in college.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field? 

I took a wheel throwing class during my last semester of college and was immediately hooked.  I moved on to take more classes after graduating, and eventually I rented my own ceramic studio in Pittsburgh.  Myles bought a used kiln online, with the intention of making ceramic sculpture and prototyping products.  We were introduced in 2011 by the owner of a local ceramic supply company and we started collaborating our ceramic work about a year later.

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What do you think sets your designs apart from others?

Most of our ceramic designs embrace technology and compliment the way people interact with electronic devices in their everyday life.  All of our forms and surface treatments are original designs created in our Pittsburgh studio.  We design, prototype, make all of our own plaster molds, formulate our own glazes and personally produce every piece we offer.  We take great pride in designing and producing original work.

Our ceramic products are meant to be highly functional.  We utilize traditional ceramic materials and processes to create products that embrace modern technology and complement today’s modern lifestyle.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

We are constantly designing and developing products, most of which never make it past the prototype stage.  We could fill a room with all of the molds and prototyped pieces that have resulted in failed designs. However, each failed product provides insight into ways we can improve our process and future designs.  We approach design with an attitude that, if we are going to be successful, failures are a part of the process.

-If you’re not failing, you’re not trying.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

There are a number of moments that we are very proud of and moments that we will never forget.  We both had jobs outside of Stak Ceramics for two years after creating our business.  The proudest moment for us is when we realized that we were able to move on from our previous jobs and commit to Stak Ceramics full time.  We are proud to be our own bosses!

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

We were fortunate enough to be able to transition into being our own bosses due to heightened demand for our products and an opportunity that a previous employer presented us.  It was a terrifying moment and decision to make but, one that has been extremely fulfilling and one we hope will allow us to be successful for a very long time.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

Most of our inspiration comes from everyday life and new experiences.  Our work is informed by interacting with the environment we live in and by observing the way people interact with the objects they use on a daily basis.  We are also consistently trying new ceramic techniques or processes in an effort to discover what is possible and continue to improve the work we do.

 

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

We are always learning and asking for feedback from other makers.  The maker community is a wonderful group of diverse people from nearly every discipline you can imagine.  They are always willing to answer questions and provide constructive feedback.  If anything, we would suggest reaching out to other makers if you need information or tips.  It is always informative and you never know what may result from simply reaching out…

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Aren’t these just the perfect gifts? We can’t wait to see Stak Ceramics at our Chicago Holiday Fair, starting tomorrow! Get the scoop on all things Stak online here:

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Maker Spotlight: Katie Levinson

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 We are loving Katie Levinson and her Levindottir collection. These sculptures will be making their way to our Chicago Holiday Fair and we can’t wait to add one of these art pieces to our homes.i'm trying

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

My business name is Levindottir.

My last name is Levinson and it was an ongoing family joke when I was younger that all of the girls should be called ‘Levindaughter’ instead of ‘Levinson’.  Using ‘dottir’ is an ode to that beautiful and magical country, Iceland, where the suffix hails from.

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Have you always been passionate about design?

I cannot remember a time when I didn’t love arranging objects in space.

When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

For years, my artwork has lived within a frame but, there is always some depth, some small-scale sculpture in there.  It seemed both natural and an immensely big step to start creating small free-standing sculptures.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I encounter some form of failure with almost each and every project.  It’s rare to get things right the first time.  I like to call these failures ‘drafts’.  Sometimes there’s not just ‘first drafts’ but ‘third’ and ‘fourth drafts’.  Each time you get a little more familiar with the material you are working with and hone your approach.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

The first time I showcased my small sculptures was at a Renegade Craft Fair in Chicago.  The reaction and reception was so much more than I ever could have hoped for.  The end of the fair felt like the end of Christmas.

What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

It’s living the dream.

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Aren’t these pieces great? We can’t wait to see more of what Katie has to offer at our Chicago Fair this weekend! Until then, check out more of Katie Levinson’s work online:

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Maker Spotlight: Iboosha

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Get ready for some serious cuteness overload! Liboosha designer Amanda Thrall is bringing her stunningly creative kids’ clothes and accessories to our Chicago Holiday Fair this weekend. Now all we have to do is find some kids to dress up…

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
I love being asked this question because I really love telling the story behind it. My heritage is Bohemian and I’ve always been fascinated with the history. The name Liboosha is derived from Libuše (Li-boo-sha).  Libuše was a  legendary queen of Bohemia in the 8th century. She was believed to have the ability to predict the future and used that to her advantage in order to marry her true love, a ploughman. She also is known to be the founder of Prague. I chose to name my brand after her because her story is the one that lives in every little girl’s heart. A story of make believe, love, success and the strength of a woman.
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Have you always been passionate about design?
I have. I didn’t always know that it was my passion but for as long as I can remember I longed to stand out and to be different. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to create something that spoke to people. Over the years, I’ve expressed these feelings in just about every way. Whether it was fashion, drawing, painting, knitting, poetry, novels. You name it, I have tried it. And I still dabble in many of those now and then. But I have found my niche and that is designing fashion for the mini yous.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
It was right before my daughter, Happy, was born. I honestly didn’t even know that baby fashion was a thing until I was getting ready to welcome her into the world. I came across an Instagram feed one day that completely changed my world. I can’t even remember the name and it sounds so silly now, but this mother dressed her baby in the CUTEST baby clothes I had ever seen. One IG profile led to another and here I discovered this whole world of designer baby clothes. So I started creating my own. I’ve been through a couple of small businesses and a little over a year ago, I opened Liboosha and it has been the most rewarding and fun adventure yet.
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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?
Deliciously yummy vintage textiles. One night as I was getting lost in the sea of Etsy, I stumbled across these gorgeous Thai fabrics. They were handmade down the threads and the details reflected the sweat put into making them. They were the beginning of the whole concept of Liboosha. I had never seen any one use these in designer children’s clothing. It really defined my brand from the beginning. Since then, I have used textiles from all over the world. As far as I know, Liboosha was the first to use textiles such as, Indian Kantha , vintage Chenille and Moroccan wedding blankets, Mao embroidery and other beautiful fabrics, in children’s clothing. As my brand evolves and grows, I have started designing my own textiles as well as working with other artists to create unique fabric prints. But I always keep vintage textiles on hand for those one of a kind favorites.
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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
I have a bad habit of taking on too much work. I want so badly to please all of my customers that most days, I have to schedule in breathing. With being a mother of three and running a business, every day is a sacrifice. And I find that I cannot put 100% of myself in to either at the same time. However, I do not regret anything. I use every struggle as  a lesson in how I can be a better business owner and foremost a better mother, tomorrow.
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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Liboosha has created a lot of amazing opportunities for me but I would say my most cherished is my trip to Thailand with my best friend. We flew to Chiang Mai to shop for textiles at the Hmong Market and then flew down to Phuket for a little fun. Okay, okay, ALOT of fun. It was a trip of dreams and I cannot wait to go back.
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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

I like to leap and build a parachute on the way down. Sometimes I hit the ground but every time I leap I am able to build the parachute better and faster. I’ve been working in the small business world for about four years now and I am still learning new things every day. I don’t believe that it is knowledge or experience that you need. It’s the ability to climb back to the top and leap again.

What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
Before I started self employment, I was a stay at home mom. Being a stay at home mom is amazing and far more difficult than running any business. But we were struggling and I wanted to give my children a better life. I wanted to show my kids that I would work as hard as I could to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. Everything that I do, is for them.
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What are some inspirations for your work?
Inspiration is a tricky little booger. I can’t name one place that I find inspiration. I’ve found it in a boxing movie once, and once on a cereal box. I can say that it is too easy to find inspiration in your market and that is the only place you should not be looking for it. When people are pulling inspiration from others in the same market, everyone starts looking the same. Some of my best creations have been inspired by the oddest things. Nothing worth while, comes easy.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Never forget why you took the first leap.
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I know these outfits are designed for kids, but I also wish they were made for adults! In love! Mark your calendars for our Chicago Fair this weekend and find Liboosha online here:
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Maker Spotlight: The Hi-Fi Case

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Can’t wait to see these again at our Chicago Holiday Fair! Garrett Galayda is the genius behind these good looking speakers and we can’t wait to get our hands on a HiFi Case this weekend!
unnamed-2 Have you always been passionate about design?

I grew up around music and design. My dad played bass in a garage band playing covers of everything from the Beatles to Grand Funk Railroad and Alice Cooper. He also taught me the basics of electronics. He actually built a portable boombox when I was a kid that he took to his construction job so I guess I could point back to that moment at which this all started. I also started to get an eye for design around that time when my first band needed a logo and flyers. I’m now a creative director at a digital agency by day and working on HiFi Case at night. In one way or another I’ve basically been a designer and musician for the last 15 years.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I played bass in a handful of bands for 15 years in and around Chicago. After my last band split up i found I had alot of time on my hands.  Music is a big part of my life and so I started collecting vinyl records and rediscovering all the cool old HiFi gear that was floating out there. At some point I saw the suitcase boombox concept and thought I could build this for myself for fun. I had no intentions of taking my project and turning it into a business but my friends started asking me to build for them and the rest just sorta snowballed from there.

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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

I take the dieter rams approach to usability in product design. I feel my cases are more deliberately organized and geared towards how they will be used in real life settings. Amp controls on the right, inputs grouped together, power plug hidden out of the way and so on.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

Getting to meet other creative folks has really been the best part about this business. My favorite moment was when I met Delicate Steve at his show in wicker park over the summer. Such a great energy at his shows, he was stoked to have his own HiFi Case.

How does the city you live in influence your work?

I couldn’t run this business if I didn’t live in Chicago. The city has been great to me and the suburbs have been a great stomping ground for digging up vintage suitcases. The midwest is full of great stuff to pick.

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

Knowing your limits.

What are some inspirations for your work?

Personally I really enjoyed the aesthetics of Boardwalk Empire and that time period in US industrial/product design. I try to find cases that are well built and overly engineered with big heavy hardware. I feel like products from that time period had an extra industrial feel to them that slowly gave way to cheaper materials.

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Really diggin’ that striped speaker right here! If you’re insanely in love with The HiFi case like we are, we won’t judge if you want to spend your days checking them out online. See you all this weekend in Chicago!

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Maker Spotlight: Maker Goods

Processed with VSCOcam with c2 presetI first came into contact with Maker Goods in LA and immediately  fell in love with the colors Felicia Koloc used in her marbling process. This weekend Felicia will be showcasing these perfect gifts at our Chicago Holiday Fair.
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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
I share the business with a partner (he is mostly on the letterpress side of the business) and  after a lot of thought about what it was we wanted to spend our time doing we realized that there  was no one thing we wanted to nail our selves to. So the “Maker Goods” name lets the two of us explore and change over time without having to change our brand. As a pair we are letterpress  printers, mechanics, designers, pattern drafters, marbler, , and doodlers (I’m sure I left a few things out) but, for us it is mostly about being excited for a new challenge.IMG_5822Have you always been passionate about design?
I don’t know about design but I have always been passionate about being creative. Design became
something I really started to appreciate when I started college. I went in undecided and came out
with a design degree and never had a second doubt about it. Having friends that also work as
designers and  is another thing I am passionate about. There is so much to learn from sharing
ideas and I am pretty thankful to know so many talented people.
Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.08.01 AMWhen/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
Sewing has always been in my blood and I don’t remember not knowing how to but, I had never thought about printing my own fabric. At least not until I started letterpress. When ink is being mixed up for printing there is a short span when all of the colors exist together at the same time like tiny colorful threads. It creates really engaging patterns and one day I was mixing ink thinking “How can I get this on fabric?”. Marbling was the only process I could think of that created the same unpredictable lines and motion I would get while mixing up daily  matches. A short visit to the library and a long weekend full of trial and errors I finally started to get the results I wanted. Right now I make small bags with the fabric and leather I marble but it is always changing and growing into new things.
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What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
Marbling is not something I invented nor am I alone in pursuing the art but I try hard to perfect the colors I use in my work to keep them specific to me. Before I start creating multiples of any item it starts with  a few days of color testing. There is a bit of science mixed in with marbling that requires experimenting with ink color combinations, layering, and fabric choices. I also draft all of my own patterns and sew  everything myself ultimately making it completely a piece only I could make.
Screen Shot 2015-12-01 at 11.07.02 AMHave you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Being motivated is one of my better qualities but it can not be said enough how difficult it is to run a creative business and still manage all of the boring stuff that comes with it. Every time I have to deal with an unhappy client, taxes, and anything to do with a spreadsheet I think I gain a little knowledge about how to be better at what I do. So at the end of the day even though it wasn’t fun at least something positive came out of it.Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
For sure! Spending too much time working has always been my problem and that can harm my personal  life. I have gotten better over the years but I still have to remind myself to get away from the desk.
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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
Seeing the things I make out in the wild is by far my favorite and its even better when my friends spot things and then tell me about their interactions with those people.

How does the city you live in influence your work? 
Kansas City has more pride than any place I have ever lived. For example, the city had a parade for the Royals because they won the world series and nearly 800,000 people came downtown to spend the day high  and celebrating. That same love is put towards the local makers and artists in the area which is how I am able to do what I do for a living, what more could you ask for?

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
Spending time working for other small businesses helped me to create a do’s/‘s list for my own business  which I still use. Another thing I learned early on is that it is way better to be nice than to burn a bridge, the creative community is too small to be a jerk.
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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
“Take your pleasure seriously” is a well known Charles  quote that truly hits the spot for me. For me that means to not be nervous about taking the risk and working hard to do things your own way. Odds are you will end up liking your day job a lot more if you do.

What are some inspirations for your work?
This could be the type of response that goes on forever so I’ll keep it short and say that keeping a wide range of creative company is the most inspiring thing for me. There is so much to learn from people exploring skills outside your own wheelhouse.
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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
It is so easy to get sucked into trends and to start questioning your work and style. Moments like that can be good and bad for development and growth but ultimately I think its important to just do what feels most natural and build interest that way. Also, a good adventure and new experience can bring out so many new thoughts and ideas, I fully recommend it!

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Our Chicago Fair is taking place this weekend at the Bridgeport Art Center and we are already making shopping lists! Find Maker Goods online here:

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Maker Spotlight: Laura Berger

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It’s always a pleasure seeing Laura Berger’s work at our fairs, and this weekend you can find these delightful prints at our Chicago Holiday Fair!

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Have you always been passionate about design?

Yes! I also love interior design and architecture and fashion design and pretty much anything visual 🙂

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I’ve been painting and drawing my whole life, but I started to focus on making make things after my dad got ill and died. It was a good way for me to distract myself and keep busy, and I painted things that felt positive to me in an attempt to work through sadness. This was around 2007 and Etsy was just starting up then. I had never heard of it and a friend of mine told me about it, and I made a shop one night at like midnight on a whim. I named it “laura george” (instead of my actual name) because that was my dad’s nickname for me. I never once thought I would actually sell something. But I was lucky enough to sell some things right away, which was really motivating for me to keep making things. There were a lot less people selling on there back then. Like, a lot lot less. There were probably like 40 people on there and now I’m pretty sure there’s 8000000000000000 (give or take).

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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

I think that everyone’s creative ideas are filtered through their own unique set of experiences, viewpoints, and influences. Our personalities and physical styles of working also have an impact on the way we create and what comes out. I think the more we get to know ourselves and feel comfortable with who we are and what our beliefs are, the more our own personal style can start to gel and gain clarity. Hopefully my work is original just in its reflection of myself as an individual.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

The idea of failure is so personal. While I feel like I’m lucky that I couldn’t think of anything major, I can be pretty hard on myself so I feel like I maybe experience daily failures! Something is always going differently than you wanted or planned, but I think the key is to just keep going no matter what. I realize that may sound a little trite, but I truly have found persistence to be the only way to make progress and move past things that feel hard. That, and drinking a beer.

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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

I have a pretty quiet and solitary lifestyle these days. I used to work in the restaurant industry and I do really miss working with other people. It took me about 3 years of self-employment to not feel like an alien when I went out in the world and tried to talk to people — it was like I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, ha! But that has definitely gotten better as I’ve gotten used to being alone a lot. I also work all the time. That gets hard — the balance is definitely not where I want it to be, ideally.  But definitely still no regrets. And a good bit of the constant working is work that I love doing that used to be my hobby, so maybe you can’t count that part as working, right?

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

Chicago is so diverse and has so much good cultural stuff going on, and so much amazing food, music, architecture — I think it all seeps in there. The winters are also excellent for being super productive 🙂

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

Working for some amazing business owners that I really look up to (Terry Alexander and Donnie Madia) taught me so much about how to handle things like customer service issues. I also really admired their integrity with everything, and how they treated their employees.

I really didn’t have any business knowledge, though. I pretty much just google everything. “how do I do my taxes?” “what is consignment?” Seriously. I guess it worked ok so far, so I recommend Google for all of your small business education.

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

There was some hard stuff happening at my job and I just got to a breaking point, so I applied for a whole bunch of shows all over the country, and I gave my notice. It was around September so I figured I’d probably make enough money over the holidays to get by, and then I’d figure out what to do next when January rolled around. I was pretty terrified, and definitely didn’t feel ready in any way. But it’s been 5 years now and somehow I’m still afloat. Leap!

What are some inspirations for your work? I think every experience inspires my work in some way. Travel, my dreams, people I meet, things I believe in or want to believe in, ideas or feelings that I’m trying to work through, things I read, food, music, colors, shapes, solitude, nature… more things. I usually just get a little picture that pops into my head and then I write it down so I can decide later if it’s dumb or if I still like it.

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Mostly just keep going and make sure you’re taking some kind of action each day towards your goal, whatever it might be. Of course our goals are always shifting, but I think it really helps if you get super clear on what your current goal is.  You know– manifesting ‘n shit.  But seriously, I do think there’s something to it — when you know exactly what it is that you want and take small steps on a consistent basis towards that goal.  There’s a lot of power in that.  There’s really so much room for everyone right now — we live in an amazing time to be creative, to connect with people all over the world, and to carve out your own unique path.

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Who’s excited about this weekend’s Chicago Fair? We sure are! Fall in love with Laura Berger and check her out online here:
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Maker Spotlight: Kione Koche

broochesTextile love! These embroidered brooches are just. so. perfect. We can’t wait to have Kione Koche show off her detailed fabric wares and clothes in Chicago!
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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history
behind?

My business name is simply my first name. I like using my name because it reflects the fact that this is a one-person operation. While the store concept has shifted, my involvement is a constant. The first iteration of this business was called “Kione’s Thirdhand Shop.” I was making sewn goods using fabrics from thrift stores so I thought of it as a kind of math: secondhand materials + my hand = thirdhand products. I still use scraps and thrifted fabrics but it’s no longer the main concept behind the business. I found the inconsistency limiting – now I source my materials from a Japanese cotton wholesaler. They have a small shop in the textile district and it’s where I used to purchase from when I first started making clothes. This year, I’m hoping to offer mending and remake services as well as take on custom requests, which is why it’s called “Kione’s Fabric Goods & Services.”

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

My grandmother bought me a sewing machine when I was in elementary school. Both of my grandmothers were excellent seamstresses but I didn’t get a chance to learn from them. My mother doesn’t sew very much so I remember teaching myself how to make tote bags using the machine. I tried all sorts of crafts growing up: knitting, embroidery, patchwork, crochet, beading… I would buy how-to books and kits from the craft store. I’d always loved making color combinations and I began making large color quilts after coming across these beautiful shot cotton fabrics by Kaffe Fassett. In college I studied garment construction and patterning and that’s when I started designing and building functional garments for myself and for others.
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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?/What are some inspirations for your work?

Even though I don’t spend a whole lot of time designing an aesthetic for the brand, I know that the various things I make have some shared quality. I strive to make products that I would want to buy – so it may just be my personal taste that is creating a ‘look.’ As for my quilts, they are never patterned beforehand. I lay out a rough idea and start sewing. It’s not exactly improvised but there’s always room for adjustments and edits and I think that process gives my quilts a distinct design. In terms of my garments, I’m inspired by functional workwear and uniforms. When I make clothes I think about comfort, durability, and utility as well as compatibility with my daily activities. I also consider ways of simplifying the pattern for efficiency. I’m inspired by the designs and ideas of austerity clothing and Russian constructivism.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I wouldn’t call it a failure, but my first craft fair was quite challenging. Everything was a first attempt – from designing my own promotional materials to setting up a display at my booth. There were a lot of tasks to complete by myself but the two days at the fair were extremely rewarding. Showing my work and seeing other vendors gave me ideas on how to improve. I think one of the most important insights I’ve  gained from the experience is that even though there’s always more to be done, I need to start somewhere.

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My favorite moments have to do with comments from my customers. I especially love hearing how they are going to use the items I made. It can be something like “I was looking for a new make-up bag and this is perfect” or “this is the perfect art teacher dress!”  I don’t consider anything I make to be ‘perfect’ but it’s one of my proudest moments when I know that something I made fills a need. I’ve also been told: “this would make a good gift for my friend. She’s into weird stuff like this.” I loved that.

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We can’t wait to be back in Chicago for our Holiday Fair, and now that Kione Koche is on the roster, our wallets might be in serious danger. Mark your calendars for December 5+6 and check out Kione Koche online here:

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Maker Spotlight: The 1906 Gents

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It’s always extremely difficult to find gifts for guys, especially around the holidays. That’s why whenever the 1906 Gents show up at our Fairs, we’re so delighted to stock up on their gorgeously handcrafted wares for our dudes.  Chicago, get ready for a clean shave with one of these bea-u-tiful brushes.

Screen Shot 2015-11-19 at 4.31.09 PM Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

In 1906 Theodore Roosevelt established the antiquities act that let to preserving landmarks and national parks as monuments for ‘generations to come’ . In that same vein we took that same heart to make things with our hands that would stand and last for generations and be appreciated in the same way.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

Reuben has been turning for over 10 years and I have done woodworking for the past 5. We both had an intense interest in building and making things with our hands.

Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

We started in my basement, and we moved real slow at first. Some things we tried to do didn’t work out, and the best and worst part of woodworking is sometimes you don’t fail until right before you are done with your work. Sometimes you invest hours or days into a piece only to have to shelve it due to a defect right when it was almost done. Insights are gained daily honestly. We never knew we would be received so well or grow so fast. We learn more every month it feels like. The thing that has stayed true is hard work pays off; always!

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

No regrets and if there was anything sacrificed we would sacrifice it a million times again to live this life. We invested all we had to get going, we owe no bank, we owe not private investor; we owe ourselves. And this is a good thing.

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

Probably having our families be proud of what we are doing. Our parents, wives and kids; having them say they love what we are doing and say they are proud of us. There is not a better feeling of worth than that, no one, nothing can touch those you love being proud of you.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

Springfield MO is an incredible place to grow and operate a business. Its full of entrepreneurs and individuals that want to help you succeed. We have enormous talent that can help fill in ends you may not have as a small shop, Graphic design, web development, marketing, photography. We have a huge pool of artists here that have enormous skill.

What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

Reuben had some great woodshop experience and I had a background in Business from college; other than that it was on the job training so to speak.

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 What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

Timing, one day it was just the right thing to do; a now or never sort of moment. There is this quote we say to each other from time to time about this. “some men go to their graves with a song still in their heart” Not us we say. Then we get back to work.

What are some inspirations for your work?

For us again its family. We don’t do this to get the fast car or the bigger house. We do this because we want to leave more than a car or a house for our families when we are no longer here. We want to leave memories of men who worked to create a dream not live for someone else’s.

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Be ready to work 100% more than you ever did in a ‘regular’ job and be ready to be insanely happy about it.

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We can’t wait for our Chicago Holiday Fair coming up the first weekend of December. In the meantime, find the 1906 Gents online here:

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Maker Spotlight: Powers Handcrafted Jewelry

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We’re excited to be kicking off our Chicago Maker Spotlights with some serious bling. Powers Handcrafted Jewelry is a collection of minimally designed, easy to wear pieces with timeless appeal. Each style has a range of inspirations, from art and architecture to history and science. Every piece is handmade in Chicago by Maranda Powers with a strong focus on quality craftsmanship.

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Have you always been passionate about design? Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

-I’ve loved making things for as long as I can remember. I was always encouraged to be creative and dabbled in lots of different mediums.  Aside from a brief period in high school when I was really into making hemp necklaces-I didn’t discover jewelry making until my senior year in college. I was an illustration major when I took an intro to metal smithing class as an elective and quickly fell in love. After graduation, I worked in a jewelry repair shop for five years where I received the majority of my training as a bench jeweler.
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What do you think sets your designs  apart from others?

-Being trained in a more commercial or service environment has definitely influenced my work. Craftsmanship and attention to detail were of course always a priority, but I also had to focus on function and wearability. Seeing how jewelry wears over the years and learning what styles tend to break over and over has informed the way I create. I don’t put any design into production without thinking about how daily wear will effect the piece, and I am confident that my jewelry will last for years to come.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained? / What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business? / What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

-I have wanted to be my own boss and earn a living as a maker since I graduated art school over a decade ago, but I worked for other people until I launched my own business earlier this year. There were definitely times over the years when that felt like failure! It sounds so cliche, but all those jobs, from shop girl to wedding photographer to personal assistant, were opportunities to learn from other small business owners and creative people, even if I didn’t feel like I was gaining anything but a pay check at the time. When I WAS ready to take the leap and launch my own jewelry line, I felt confident and prepared.
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What are some inspirations for your work?

-Space and stones!! I’ve been interested in science since I was a kid, especially astronomy and geology. I even went to Space Camp and was a member of the rocks and minerals team for the Science Olympiad! Now, as a grown-up nerd, I incorporate a lot of space themes into my work and I am drawn to stones that reflect the natural forces that created them.

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-I also love learning other crafts and exploring different mediums, I have an urge to always be making something!  I am almost always taking a class or trying to teach myself something new, from sewing and knitting to screen printing and throwing pottery. Learning new creative processes informs my jewelry making and always keeps me inspired.

Renegade2We’re so thrilled to have Miranda join us again in Chicago, this time for our Holiday Fair! Until then, find Powers Handcrafted online here:

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Maker Spotlight: Louise Dean

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Happy Friday, everyone! We’re busily getting the final touches ready for our final Fair of the season in our hometown, but that doesn’t mean we can’t gawk over some beautiful textiles and illustrations! Louise Dean Design will be helping us celebrate the last days of Summer at our Chicago Fair this weekend – we can’t wait!

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

I had just gotten married when I started my business and I thought it would be a nice way to keep my family name alive.. There are nothing but girls on my father’s side. My Dad runs a small business with the name Dean in too and he has been some of the inspiration to start to work for myself. Seeing the whole rollercoaster of having  a business while a grew up meant I knew what I was getting myself into. It’s also an ode to him and all his hard work. He is  a great example of someone who works hard, which motivates me.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I launched my company in March 2014. I have always been painting or drawing. But while taking a graphic design class in the UK before college my tutor said that I should move into textile to express myself. Ever since, I have been doing textile design. After I graduated from Loughborough University in England with a degree in  Multi Media Textile Design, I was recruited by a Fashion Label to be a designer for them. I worked there for 5 years and decided it was time to follow my dreams and start my new company.

Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

Absolutely, who doesn’t  have something that goes wrong on occasion. I’ve learned that I should probably say no sometimes because I can’t do everything. The first year is the hardest. The key is just keep going because for one disappointment there are always a handful of great ones such as being selected for Renegade!

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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

My last job was all consuming and I really wanted more of a work/life balance. I might have been able to get further faster if I skipped vacations or spent less time with my friends or husband but you only live once and I don’t want to regret a thing. Having said all that i’m writing this “after hours”- there’s not one hard and fast rule though… right?

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My favourite moment is always seeing my paintings in their final products and having people get excited about buying them. Everything in 100% made in the USA. I try to keep my production as close to where I live as possible and put thought into what the impact of my products will have on the environment. I try to use environmentally sustainable methods of printing and recycled paper options wherever possible and i’m pretty proud of that!

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

I moved to Oklahoma City from Columbus Ohio just before starting my company. I love to paint and although the weather is a bit crazy sometimes, I love to take everything outside and work on painting some of the plants that I grow. I also get inspiration from my wanderings around Oklahoma and the western states. It was strange at first to live in a place so dry after coming from Ohio and before that England but after a few months I started to see the incredible beauty in the different landscapes out west. I have travelled all over the state and also made many trips to Texas and New Mexico while living here. The change in climate for me inspired me to produce my newest collection of succulent inspired artwork. It’s about the only thing I can keep alive in the heat.

I also have to say that the people in Oklahoma have been some of the nicest, kindest, open-hearted people I have ever met. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to start my own company. People will give you opportunities here that would have been so hard to get in some of the bigger cities. I wouldn’t have come so far without the many local shops that carry my product or all the other amazing small business owners ready to give time and advice, because they know what it’s like to start something.

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

My degree in Textile Design in England  gave me a great foundation of knowledge. As part of my course I took a year working at various companies in London and Copenhagen. There I had to learn how to dye fabrics, screen print and even embroider and design samples for the fashion world. Through this experience, I was recruited by a fashion label and moved to the USA.

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

My husband, Rob, encouraged me to take this leap. He got a job in Oklahoma City so I knew I had to do something new. It ended up being  a now or never leap that I could not have done without him. It was always something I had in the back of my mind but it’s hard to leave a stable, full time paid position to follow your dreams, especially when you are stepping into the unknown. I am so happy I took the leap.

What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

If you are working from home, find a local network of people and business owners you can meet with regularly. Getting out and about in the city/place you live is really important and being able to bounce ideas off people is great too.

Don’t worry too much about what people say/think, see where your creativity takes you and always have a pen and paper handy!

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What are some inspirations for your work?

I love to travel and photograph plants, nature, and animals on my way around the world.

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My business over all reflects my passion for making beautiful things that fill peoples home with color and interest. Everything is made in limited production runs and we design it to stand the test of time.

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Photos by Ely Fair Photography

We can’t wait to spend some time with these Summery prints and textiles out our Chicago Fair. Be sure to check out Louise Dean Design online here:

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Maker Spotlight: O’Douds

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We fell in love with O’Douds Apothecary as soon as we saw their goods in Austin. Now the boys behind O’Douds are making their way to our hometown and we can’t wait to see them again in Chicago!

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

O’Douds is a family name. When my family immigrated to America our name was switched from “O’Dowds” to “Douds”, so I decided this would be a great opportunity to pay respects to my family, who courageously moved to this country.

When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I actually sort of stumbled into it! Back when O’Douds started, I had been learning a lot about the benefits of natural products (or rather the harms of chemicals), so when I started using Pomade, I figured I would make my own. After a whole lot of trail and error, I got a recipe I was proud of. Being someone who is obsessed with design and marketing, I took the branding seriously, even though I didn’t expect it to turn into anything more than a hobby. And to my surprise, people really appreciated all of the hard work that went into the pomade, and pretty quickly O’Douds started to grow.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I wouldn’t say that I had any failures. Starting a business has its ups and downs, but from everything bad that has happened, I have learned a lot, so I would say it has all been worth it. The biggest thing I have learned is to be a perfectionist. I have a tendency to want to move onto to the next big thing very quickly, which is great when I am creating new products, but I’ve had to learn to slow down and focus on making what we’ve got the best that it can be. We recently rebranded and while there were a lot of products I wanted to release, we decided to really spend a lot of time refining what we have, and I couldn’t be more proud of how everything turned out.

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business?

If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets? I would say the only big thing I have sacrificed is my anxiety. I get really worried, I make small problems into big problems in my mind, and I am not naturally a positive person. So figuring out how to deal with that, and how to stay positive has been a journey. But no, I definitely don’t regret it, it has all made me a better person, I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.

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What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My favorite moments have been the times I’ve spent with other makers and all of the friends I have made. For the San Francisco Renegade over a year ago, I was able to work with Karl from Anvil Handcrafted, and while that started as a “partnership” he is now a great friend, and without this company I would have never met him.

How does the city you live in influence your work?

Well that is an interested question because we actually just relocated from Houston to Brooklyn. We’ve only been here for a month, so I can’t say it has influenced us that much, but starting a small business in Texas is pretty great. There is huge community of makers and just seeing their hard work always pushed me to take O’Douds to bigger places.

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

I had a pretty great setup, and I am extremely thankful for that. I was a manager at a restaurant, and they let me cut down from five days a week to three days a week, to one day a week and then suddenly I had my hands completely full with O’Douds.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

Oh man, there are so many great brands out there doing good work, just seeing them work so hard inspires me to do the same. Karl from Anvil handcrafted, Christian from 1924US, all of the guys at Manready Mercantile, Rob from Morris Motley and whole lot more, I could type up way too big of a list, haha!

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

Be innovative and work hard. There are a lot of small companies out there, and it can be hard to set yourself apart, but find something that makes you unique, and really push that.

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If you ever need a gift for your man, or if you just love sweetly scented goods and apothecary products, be sure to check out O’Douds at our Chicago Fair. You’re going to love them. In the meantime, browse their beautiful work online here:

Website

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Maker Spotlight: INDIGO & SNOW

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We can’t believe our Chicago Fair is just around the corner! We’re counting down the days and are thrilled to be featuring INDIGO & SNOW! These beautiful textiles will be making their way to Division Street this weekend!

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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

The first time I ever worked with indigo there was a huge snowstorm that day. At the time I was dyeing with a dear friend of mine, artist Liza Sylvestre, I was coordinating our plan via email and I remember writing p.s. INDIGO & SNOW that would be a good name for our label. It resonates with me because I like that SNOW references a geographical landscape where this work is being created.

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When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

I began experimenting with hand-printing textiles nearly 15 years ago and began dyeing textiles full-time in 2013. I do what I do because it feels magical. When I am dyeing textiles, I go into a flow zone and it feels like my highest state of being. The state of being you want to have in a yoga class, but at times your brain remains too distracted to surrender to that place–where you know you are channeling energy that is way bigger than you, where you feel so connected to an intense life force energy. I go into that state of being when I work with textiles. I know in my core, it is my highest state of being, my calling, my gift.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I don’t choose to use the word “failure” it feels too loaded. I have made a lot of mistakes and continually face challenges as I navigate this process. For me the most important insights gained are learning to trust the universe and the timing of things. I often think I know what’s best when I have a goal or career expectation of how something is going to play out. When it doesn’t go according to my plan I will feel a sense of “failure” or disappointment in that moment. But the passage of time allows me the perspective to evaluate and more often than not I am so grateful that the events unfolded as they did.

What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

My proudest moment was when the NYT’s online magazine, T Magazine featured INDIGO & SNOW shortly after launching my first hand-dyed collection. It felt surreal. My favorite moment is when I remove the binding and see how designs and patterns unfold — it feels magical.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

Minneapolis is a very supportive place to be a maker. It’s a very accessible city and there are a lot of resources here for artists. I am thankful to live in a city with a nationally renowned textile center that exhibits amazing textile artists and has a phenomenal textile library.

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

When I was in college my dream was to open a restaurant that featured local, organic, seasonal cuisine. This was nearly twenty years ago when there were only a handful of places like this in the country. I moved to the verdant hills of the Kickapoo Valley in Wisconsin to start my cafe. I learned how to write a business plan and pitched my financing proposals to both banks and individual investors and I received a certificate in small business development, this experience began my path as a creative entrepreneur. Ultimately, I decided I didn’t want to live in a small rural community; I missed living in an urban setting and moved back to Minneapolis. More recently I worked as an Arts Administrator at a non-profit and that experience gave me the confidence to say hey! I have the skills to do this for myself.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

Landscape. Recently I have become really inspired by John O’Donohue, the Irish poet and philosopher. I am working on a series of landscape pieces that are a tribute to him. I highly recommend listening to the On Being podcast, “The Inner Landscape of Beauty.”

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

I could tell you all the obvious things, learn how to price your work effectively, be really organized, network etc. But honestly developing an effective tool to deal with self-doubt will serve you well and allow you to not waste your energy on thoughts that are not serving you, and quite frankly are not helpful. For a long time I was my own worst enemy. I was plagued with a lot of self-doubt around whether I could financially make this dream sustainable. I had the opportunity to travel to Japan before having kids and enjoyed visiting temples. One temple stands out for me, it was a gilded temple on an island that shown so brightly in the sunlight. I choose to see my brain as this temple and I visualize the temple doors. I am very guarded about what comes into my temple. I consciously choose to nurture my brain with thoughts that are healthy and supportive. When I see toxic thoughts coming I don’t allow them passage into the temple. It’s almost as if there’s a banner that drops down that reads: “NOT HELPFUL”. Everything is visual for me, and this has been an effective tool.

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We can’t wait to buy up Indigo and Snow products this weekend at our Chicago Fair! If you can’t wait till Saturday, you can find Indigo and Snow online here:

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Chicago Fair Sneak Peek!

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We’re coming home, Chicago! The Renegade Craft Fair is returning to Wicker Park along Division Street (between Damen and Paulina) on September 19 + 20. The free-to-attend event will be open 11am – 6pm each day, featuring a curated selection of today’s finest independent Makers, a mixture of artisanal food stalls, interactive activities, vintage purveyors, DIY workshops and more. Get ready for an end of Summer outdoor extravaganza!

At our flagship Fair, you’ll find an incredible collection of outstanding handmade goods. Illustrated stationery and paper goods, one-of-a-kind jewelry, children’s accessories and toys, pet products, natural beauty collections, clothing, furniture and housewares are just some of the categories present at this year’s Chicago Fair. You won’t want to miss this year’s line up of 400+ talented Makers, food and drink, activities and more. Check out the Roster here.

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ROW 1: Nic Annette Miller | Small Queue | Printwork by Toni Point | ROW 2: Argaman & Defiance | Solid State Goods | Calica Studio | ROW 3: Facture Goods | Leah Ball | O’Douds Apothecary

Expect a fun and lively atmosphere along Division St. with shopping, interactive activities, creative inspiration, and more. Chirp Radio and Reckless Records will be on-hand spinning jams and tunes all weekend long while visitors explore the array of delightful wares. Feeling crafty? Stop by one of the DIY workshops: learn basic leather-working with the Chicago School of Shoemaking and Leather Arts and learn how to knit, fold origami, and wind jump-ropes with Urban Prairie Waldorf School.

All of you cycling enthusiasts will want to visit Pedal to the People‘s Pop-Up Bike Shop – offering bike valet service, mechanical services, and a “Don’t Get Stranded” flat fix workshop. Those on the hunt for some vintage treasures can visit with First Ladies VintageHighstreet Vintage, and Lost Girls Vintage and shop collections full of found and selected goods from around the country.

When your stomach starts to growl, head over to one of the many food stands in our Eats + Treats section, featuring local Chicago establishments: Chicago’s DoghouseDia de los TamalesDönerMenMana Food Bar, and Taco in A Bag as well as sample from artisanal food vendors. Black Dog Gelato, Justice of the Pies, and Puffs of Doom will be serving delicious icy treats, pies, and baked goods for those wanting to satisfy their sweet tooth cravings. Thirsty shoppers can look to Harvest JuiceryLa Colombe Coffee Roasters, and Bow Truss Coffee Roasters for refreshment and caffeine boosts, while ProteaTito’s Vodka, and Revolution Brewing, will be serving and sampling wine, vodka and beer throughout the weekend

Don’t forget to stop in the complimentary Magnolia Photo Booth and pose pretty with props to commemorate your visit. Attendees can also sit down and get a hand drawn portrait of themselves courtesy of The Doodlebooth.

FedEx will have a Shipping Station on-site, where attendees and Makers can enjoy simple, flat rate shipping for their one-of-a-kind goods.

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Getting There: The Fair will take place along Division St. between Damen and Paulina. Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike, or take public transportation to the Fair. The closest CTA train stop to the Fair is the Division Blue Line Stop. Parking is limited in the neighborhood. Route directions to the intersection of Damen and Division here.

Uber is sponsoring rides for the Renegade Craft Fair. New users can get up to $20 off their first Uber ride using the code RCF2015. To sign up, download the app or head to uber.com/go/RCF2015.

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Want to spread the word? Join our Facebook event and invite your friends. Grab our e-flyer and pass it around. Add #RenegadeCraftFair and #RenegadeChicago to your RCF-related Instagram pictures and tweets! We love seeing what our followers and makers are up to!

For more information about this event, please visit the Renegade Craft Fair website, check out our upcoming Maker Spotlights, or browse the Makers on Pinterest.

 

The Renegade Craft Fair Thanks its Chicago Sponsors:

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Maker Spotlight: Iron and Oak Domestics

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We’re falling in love with Iron and Oak Domestics over here! These furniture and home goods will be making their way to our Chicago Fair in just a couple weeks!Screen Shot 2015-09-03 at 2.52.14 PM

Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?

My business name came from what I focus and specialize in.  Metalworking and woodworking combined make up the products, in addition, I resource all of my materials domestically – mainly in Michigan.

When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?

My Grandfather was an excellent craftsmen, he started teaching me woodworking at the age of 7.  I found it fascinating and would try and learn the craft when given the opportunity.  As I got older I started welding and working with metal, my passion for both grew.  I started my business in early 2014 when I decided a 9-5 wasn’t for me. Iron and Oak Domestics became my full time job.

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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?

I’ve had my fair share of failures along the way, but nothing I haven’t gained knowledge from. The process of establishing my brand became somewhat trial and error. Luckily I have a clear vision of what I want Iron and Oak to look like, for every misstep a lesson has been learned.

Screen Shot 2015-08-28 at 12.49.39 PMWhat has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?

One of my proudest moments had to have been the first time someone I didn’t know purchased one of my items.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have the support of friends and family, but there is something about putting your work out into the world and the world returns with a positive response. It definitely gave me a boost of confidence and solidified the fact I want to do this full time. 

Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?

I sacrificed time.  When I first started this business, I have to admit, I thought I was going to make some tables and home goods, sell them and clock out… little did I know that it’s virtually a 24 hour a day job.  Yeah, I go to bed thinking about work and wake up thinking about work but I wouldn’t change it for the world.  I’m able to evolve and grow the business constantly. I have a hand in everything; the process, picking out the slabs, communicating with clients and shop owners, web design and social media.  I absolutely love what I do, have no regrets and look forward to the future of Iron & Oak Domestics.

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How does the city you live in influence your work?

I spend my time split between Detroit and Chicago.  The business was established in Detroit, a city founded on creating & innovating.  Detroit is where I source materials and do most fabricating. I recently moved to Chicago, I’ve found the city to be extremely inspiring and supportive of makers. Both cities have so much to offer, I feel super fortunate to be able to call both ‘home’.

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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?

When I started my business, I dove in headfirst. I had never owned a business before but had an idea in my mind through previous management jobs for independent businesses.  Needless to say there is a learning curve. I went into it full force with drive and a creative background in design, which has been very helpful.

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What made you take this leap into being your own boss?

The answer is pretty much within the question; I wanted to be my own boss and have creative freedom within a brand.  Previously, my 9-to-5 jobs would end up being 7am-to-8pm jobs although that doesn’t change while owning your own business, but when it’s a passion it doesn’t feel like work.

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What are some inspirations for your work?

I tend to find inspiration in a lot of things.  I love to travel and find different cities and the architecture inspiring all around the world. I pay close attention to angles and curves, it sparks creativity that I then incorporate into new designs.

 

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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?

I think the number one tip would be, if you’re going to do it, then do it with everything you have.  Hard work pays off, even if it isn’t automatic.  Patience is key, push boundaries and trust your gut. Most importantly, love what you do!
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We can’t wait to see these Iron and Oak Domestic goods at our Chicago Fair on September 19+20! In the meantime, find Iron and Oaks Domestic online here:

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Maker Spotlight: Abigail Murray

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We’re kicking off our Chicago Maker Spotlights with a wonderful ceramicist, Abigail Murray. These stunning pieces will be heading to our flagship Fair on September 19+20!
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Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
Nothing terribly interesting, my business name is my actual name. I spent most of my career making sculpture and installations, so I never really thought about it. A year or so after I began making functional ceramics, I got a call from a really great store that wanted to carry my work. It was a big opportunity but all happened fast so when they asked, “What’s the name of your brand?” I panicked and couldn’t come up with anything! I wish I’d been able to come up with something clever on the fly, it’d be nice to stay a little bit anonymous in the world.
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I took my first ceramics class in high school and was hooked, but I was much more focused on sculpture. It wasn’t until years later, after grad school, that I began to think about making functional ware. I’d been doing residencies and making and exhibiting installations, but I was feeling sick of my own work, and even more sick of the conversations I was having about my work. At a party, I whined to a friend that I ‘just wanted to make things that were useful and beautiful, that people I like might want and could afford to buy.” She said that was nobel, which made me happy (and a little sad because that’s what passes for nobel these days??) and asked why I wasn’t doing it already. I couldn’t think of a single reason so here I am.
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Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
Nothing major yet, but about a thousand little failures. That’s not just the nature of small business, it’s the nature of ceramics. You have to make extra to make sure you get enough. I always get in trouble when I forget that. I still feel like I’m starting out in this part of my career, so I’m sure there are plenty of catastrophes to come!
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
My proudest moments are in the studio, making something new, seeing something I hadn’t noticed in the work before, finally getting something to work after struggling.
About a year ago I met a ceramist who put experiments and new things on the bottom shelves of her kilns because it gave her an extra incentive to unload when she’s tired. I thought it was brilliant and started doing the same thing. Even when the experiments flop, that moment when I get to the bottom shelf and see what’s there is my favorite.
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Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
I pretty much gave up my fine art practice. I still work on projects with an art/architecture collaborative called Archolab, but I haven’t made a sculpture or installation of my own in years. Even the drawings I make these days are of prototypes. Most of the time I’m too busy to miss it much, but when I do it’s a kick in the gut. I miss the way of thinking, that way of problem solving, that way of exploration. Maybe I’ll get back to it one day. Hope so.
How does the city you live in influence your work?
There is a wonderful community of makers and artists in Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and Detroit who are very supportive of each other. The number of things going on, and number of people making things is overwhelming, but it’s still a relatively small community that’s really accessible and welcoming. There’s so much history of making, and such powerful drive and work ethic. So many people creating and doing things. It’s hard not to be inspired.
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What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
It’d be so much easier to come up with a list of things I wish I’d known! I didn’t start off all that good at the business end of things, but I’m learning. Slowly…
The most valuable thing I knew was people. When I decided to make the shift to functional work and starting a business, I accidentally already had this wonderful network of friends and colleagues. Their support has been invaluable.
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
Having a baby sealed the deal for starting a business where I’d be my own boss. I feel so incredibly fortunate that I have the ability to be flexible with my hours, take time off when I need to, or just want to, while pursuing the work I love. There’s a cost to sometimes taking time off or limiting my hours, but for me, for now, it’s one I gladly pay.
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What are some inspirations for your work?
I’m attracted to found and made patterns and textures. I recently became obsessed with a Korean quilting technique called Pojagi and I really like tape.
I make things I want in my life. In spring I make vases for the flowers from my garden, in summer I make planters, now that it’s fall I’m starting to make big bowls for my tomato harvests. In winter I make as many things as possible so my kiln keeps me warm. I really just want the work to be beautiful. That sounds weird or arrogant or something, but it’s true.
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What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
Be nice. Support your friends and colleagues. Celebrating the work and achievements of others doesn’t take away from you, quite the opposite. So many of the opportunities I’ve had come from friends: artist friends, maker friends, small business owning friends, shopkeeper friends. And there’s almost nothing I like better than being able to return the support when I get the chance.

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A little bit about Abigail’s process:
I use 3 different processes in my work. Slip casting, slab building, and pinch pots. My Woodgrain, Dots and Strips collections are all slip cast. I make a plaster mold of an original, then pour liquid clay (slip) in the mold to create the objects.  Overlap and Layered are made of cast slabs that I use to hand build with. Pinch pots are what you learned to make in kindergarten and are my favorite to make.
Slip casting isn’t a process that comes naturally to me. Once the mold is made it’s a fairly hands off process and even though I like the results, it sometimes makes me feel a little… well, lonely. So no matter what I’m doing, no matter what orders I need to fill, I make slab built pieces and pinch pots on Fridays. I can’t remember who it was, but I remember someone saying they think with their hands. On Fridays I get a lot of good thinking done.
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Thank you, Abigail for giving us some insight into your ceramics and work. Be sure to check out these goods at our Chicago Fair in just a couple weeks. In the meantime, you can find Abigail Murray online here:
Website
Instagram

Thank You, Chicago!

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Chicago, we love that we can call you our home! What a fun-filled weekend we spent together! It was great seeing old friends, meeting new faces, and loving all the handmade wares and good vibes our Makers brought to the Chicago Pop-Up last weekend! Over 150 extraordinarily talented independent Makers showcased their work at The Hideout to locals and travelers from beyond.

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We saw a lot of smiles in the Magnolia Photo Booth! You can view your photo booth strips from from each weekend here: Saturday + Sunday.

One of our favorite post-Fair activities is combing through the #RenegadeChicagocollection of photos. We loved witnessing Makers and shoppers alike, posting about their favorite products, booths and experiences! Here’s some of our favorite moments below:

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ROW 1:  @coursewrk | @lastcraftdesigns | @mandalynrael | ROW 2: @yvetteandjoseph | @mselicastillo | @libelle.body | ROW 3: @changesoap | @katiedeanjewelry | @clevahgrrl

We always try to top each Fair, and it couldn’t be possible without your feedback! We value your opinions seriously, and always want to improve our Fairs to be the best events you attend each year. If you attended our Chicago Pop-Up, please fill out our Attendee Survey or Vendor Survey! It only takes a few minutes, we swear!

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Want to relive the good times? Take a look at our Chicago Pop-Up photo album on Flickr. You can get a recap on Instagram and Twitter using #RenegadeCraftFair and  #RenegadeChicago to view RCF-related Instagram pictures and tweets!

Stay tuned for news and updates regarding our 2015 Spring/Summer Tour. Be sure to follow us on Instagram and Pinterest to stay in-the-know on our Makers and all things Renegade Craft!

 

 

Chicago Pop-Up Starts Tomorrow!

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Our Chicago Pop-Up kicks off this weekend at The Hideout! This free handmade extravaganza will feature a collection of some truly awesome independent Makers, plus food, booze, treats, live music and more! Check out our rundown below:

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We’ve got something for everyone at this special Pop-Up! Find gifts for loved ones, plus it’s the perfect time to freshen up your home and wardrobe for Summer.
Check out the full ROSTER to catch a glimpse!

FOOD + TREATS
If your stomach starts growlin’ or you want to cool off, grab a drink and sample some of Chicago’s finest fare from these lovely foodies:

Andorka’s Sandwich Shop
Black Dog Gelato
Dia de los Tamales
Justice of the Pies
La Colombe
Puffs of Doom

 

MUSIC

From DJs to a string of live music, we’ll have you entertained all weekend long! Want the full schedule? Check out our Details page.

Reckless Records
The Hat Stretchers
Rorey Carroll
Tiny Cover Band
Black Bear Combo

SPECIAL FEATURES

We’ve got you covered for an awesome weekend with an array of things to do from portrait and photo booths, to a vintage trailer, and cyclist-specific services and workshops. Just take a look for yourself!

Doodle Booth
Lost Girls Vintage
Magnolia Photo Booth
Pedal to the People

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ROW 1: DUNOLE | CAROLINE BORUCKI | OBJECT ENTHUSIAST | ROW 2:BRIM PAPERY | JUNE PARK | HIDDEN FOLK | ROW 3: LEGACY FRAMEWORKS | LITTLE WINGS DESIGNS | 3-SWITCH

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Getting There: The Hideout is located at 1354 W Wabansia Ave, Chicago, IL 60642. Parking is limited in the neighborhood. The closest CTA train stop to the Fair is the North/Clybourn Red Line Stop. Visitors are encouraged to walk, bike, or take public transportation to the Fair. Route directions to the venue here.

Uber is sponsoring rides for the Chicago Pop-Up. New users can get up to $20 off their first Uber ride using the code RCF2015. To sign up, download the app or head to uber.com/go/RCF2015.

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Big Thanks to our Chicago Sponsors:


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Maker Spotlight: Sanborn Canoe Co.

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This maker feature makes us down right giddy! Today we’re thrilled to be featuring canoe paddle makers, Sanborn Canoe Co. The guys behind these quality paddles will be setting up at our Chicago Pop-Up at The Hideout this weekend! Rejoice!

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Sanborn Canoe Co. is pretty small woodshop nestled in the river valley just south of Winona, MN. After establishing in his friends’ basement, Zak Fellman and company built their own shop space on their families’ land out in the country.

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What’s incredible is everything is done in house at the Sanborn Shop. The crew decided to use cedar for paddle-making for a few reasons – 1. it’s lightweight 2. it’s buoyant and water resistant to rot and 3. it’s beautiful.

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Each paddle is a combination of thin strip that we glue/press together to make a paddle blank. From there each paddle is crafted start to finish by one of the Sanborn craftsman using various chisels/block planes/saws and sanders.

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Each is a work of art and in using tools that are guided by human hands(not computer generated copies) each is slightly different than the other. Sanborn Canoe Co. relies on highly skilled craftsmen.

Shop 1Also each paddle is designed and painted in our shop. After a paddle is finished it then goes to the painting room where each design is painted using spray-paint and scotch tape.
Shop 8Zak and his company are inspired by all of the canoeists that have come before them. Sanborn patterned their Artisan paddle shape similar to paddles the old French voyageurs would have used, with long narrow blades. With 30 men in a canoe they would use these long narrow paddles to take up to 60 strokes a second for 14 hours a day. They would also a lot of the time paint there paddles. In part to seal the wood from the elements and in part to identify their paddle from another. This long and rich tradition sparked Sanborn Canoe Co. to paint their paddles in a similar way.Shop13 Shop14 Wood Hangers 2We are so thrilled to have Sanborn Canoe Co. join us in Chicago for our Pop-Up this weekend at The Hideout! You can find them online here:

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Maker Spotlight: Outra Textiles

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Like most early parts of the work week, we’re ready to just curl up in bed and fall asleep. So, you can imagine that finding out that OUTRA Textiles was heading to our Chicago Pop-Up was a little more than we can handle! Needless to say, who’s ready for a nap?
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Laura Evans founded OUTRA in the summer of 2013.  She previously practiced as a landscape designer at Prospect Park in Brooklyn for six years, a job she loved for the connection to the community in which she lived and the design challenges it presented. OUTRA not only enables Laura to continue to nurture this love for design but also, for the first time, gives her the satisfying experience of constructing the items she designs.  Laura views each textile product she lovingly creates as a representation of her passions for interesting design, craftsmanship, and the environment.

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My grandmother raised ten children on a farm and did most of the work involving the house, food, and her children.  One small part of this work was sewing for her family, a skill my mother picked up and one she still uses almost daily.  When my older brother and sister were very little, my mother made extra money by constructing a custom wardrobe by hand for a friend of hers.  My own childhood memories include her hemming my dad’s suit pants and sewing a prom dress for my sister, but I didn’t actually grow interested in her sewing skills until I was 12 or 13.  I watched way too much TV as a kid.  At this point, my television interests mostly focused on ‘Designing Women’ and ‘Trading Spaces’ and I became fixated on re-designing my bedroom as often as I could.  My first project with my mom was a country-style quilted bedspread.  We later made curtains, dresses, and weird-o Halloween costumes like a mound of pizza and a giant cockroach.  Looking back, this was my first real creative pursuit and a focus I felt excited by.  I was at a loss going into college, wanting to study something creative while feeling the pressure to be practical.  I first chose fashion merchandising but once I realized that was much more a business than design degree, I switched to landscape architecture. While in college, I had passionate moments and appreciated how that work marries art with nature but I often felt misplaced.  After graduating, I moved to Brooklyn to work at Prospect Park, a job that I loved for so many reasons.  It was a small, familial environment; we were closely connected to the community in which we designed; the work was diverse and inspiring.  Despite all of this, I still kind of felt like a fraud.  It was difficult to articulate at the time, but I think my feeling of disconnection came partly from the large scale of the projects but mostly I felt disconnected because I was not physically creating anything.  In reaction, my work with OUTRA could not feel more personal and connected.  I am the sole designer; I construct and hand-paint each piece.  I can experiment and make anything I like without compromising on the design and materials and, if it doesn’t work, I can toss it out and move on to something else.  Even though OUTRA is still very young, I love to think back on the first shower curtain I made and I feel proud of how far I’ve come creatively and with the quality of the items I am providing.  I am energized looking forward to where this work may take me.  I feel fortunate to have found work that I have a genuine connection with, where I am both comforted by familiar tasks and challenged to learn and teach myself the skills and techniques necessary to keep growing.

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All OUTRA pieces are made from U.S. sourced organic cotton fabric.  Although it can be a challenge to source these types of materials without higher costs, Laura prioritizes the importance of organic textiles – from the health of the farmers and field workers growing the material, the land in which it is grown, to her customers, and herself; the foundation of her work must equal the quality of her art.

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Laura tends to oscillate between long periods of collecting with much shorter periods of sketching and design.  She takes pictures of details, patterns, and color combinations from her environment and gathers up inspiration from all over the internet for weeks.  Then, Laura will go through the photos, making thumbnail sketches of the details she likes most.  Laura takes a few sketches from that group and develop them further, drawing and redrawing, combining ideas until the result no longer resembles what she started with.
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If she works out something strange and exciting, Laura will transfer it to the computer, refining the design by adjusting the proportions and color combinations.  From there, Laura paints the linework out by hand onto the fabric.  At first, Laura would paint on the fabric because she didn’t know how to screen or block print.  Hand painting is very time-consuming, detailed work, but Laura finds that this process enables her to do large-scale patterns that also retain the crisp, vivid results which makes OUTRA Textiles so outstanding.

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We cannot wait to snuggle up with some of OUTRA’s pillows and blankets at our Chicago Pop-Up this weekend at The Hideout! You can find Laura and OUTRA Textiles online here:
Website
Instagram
Pinterest

 

Maker Spotlight: Artifact Bag Co.

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Our Chicago Pop-Up is just around the corner and we can’t wait to chill with ya’ll at The Hideout on June 27 + 28! We’re especially excited to see Artifact Bag Co., and frankly, wouldn’t be surprised if we bought each and every one of their bags.

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Artifact Bag Co. began in February 2010 in Chris Hughes’ basement with a vintage commercial sewing machine he found on Craigslist. In December 2010, Chris left his job and established Artifact Bag Co. as a full-time business and hasn’t looked back.

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For years Chris collected and sold antiques, vintage clothing, and military collectibles. His commercial sewing machine was originally purchased to repair old horsehide jackets and WWII field gear.

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During the process of getting familiar with industrial sewing, Chris designed a few items like a waxed canvas lunch tote, an upscale grocery tote, and a tool tote that doubles as a weekender bag.

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The Artifact Bag Co. style incorporates all the things Chris loves: Americana, natural materials, simple design, and confident craftsmanship.
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Everything Chris designs is made by hand in his Omaha studio.  Artifact uses domestically sourced and vintage materials whenever possible and construct each piece with hand tools and vintage industrial equipment.
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We are in love love love with Artifact Bag Co. and cannot wait to snuggle with these bags at our Chicago Pop-Up on June 27 + 28! Get in the know with Chris and Artifact here:
Website

Instagram

Twitter

Our Chicago Pop-Up Roster is Live!

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Row 1: DUNOLE | CAROLINE BORUCKI | OBJECT ENTHUSIAST | ROW 2: BRIM PAPERY | JUNE PARK | HIDDEN FOLK | ROW 3: LEGACY FRAMEWORKS | LITTLE WINGS DESIGNS | 3-SWITCH

Our fun-filled Chicago Pop-Up Roster is officially live! Check out the Makers and start picking out your favorites. Who are you looking forward to meeting at The Hideout on June 27+28?

Maker Spotlight: Melissa Weiss Pottery

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Today we have the pleasure of featuring Melissa Weiss Pottery! Melissa will be bringing her beautiful pottery to our Chicago Holiday Market tomorrow and Sunday!IMG_4650
Melissa Weiss is a North Carolina potter and is the definition of a true handmade maker. Each pot contains clay that Melissa’s digs up from her land in Arkansas. From there, she drives to clay back to her studio in Ashville where she makes a clay body incorporating the wild clay.
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Melissa makes a variety of ash and celadon glazes and fire the pots in a gas reduction kiln.  Not only is Melissa’s pottery handmade and one-of-a-kind, it is also functional and food safe.IMG_3926IMG_5536
Melissa’s inspirations are deeply rooted in her childhood memories of spending time at her grandmother’s house. The house was filled with smells, sounds and colors she can recall to this day for the life they possessed. Melissa make pots to belong in these memories; Dishes to celebrate family and tradition, utilitarian objects rustic, useful, simple and beautiful to be granted a place at her grandmother’s table for Sunday dinner. IMG_5549
Melissa’s childhood memories infused with her passion for african tribal art and her deep love for pottery have come together to produce such a unique mix of rustic yet breathtaking pieces. IMG_5145
We are so glad Melissa Weiss will be joining us in Chicago for our Holiday Market this weekend at the Bridgeport Art Center! Inspire yourself at Melissa’s website and be sure to say hello to her in person. You can also see what Melissa is up to on Instagram. See you all tomorrow!

Maker Spotlight: HANK by Henry

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Today we are so excited to feature Portland maker, Hank by Henry. These chopsticks and wooden accessories will be heading to Chicago this weekend for our Chicago Holiday Market at the Bridgeport Art Center! SONY DSC
HANK by Henry is a collaborative effort between designer Allison Henry and chef Edward Ross. After what began as a happy accident during another project in the winter of 2012 Allison launched a small collection of wildly painted chopsticks and began selling them at local craft shows.
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Allison’s mission soon became clear and it wasn’t long before Ed joined in. In the name of culinary culture, the two of them have since been bringing people together one brightly painted chopstick at a time.SONY DSCAllison and Ed are obsessed with creating unique and beautiful chopsticks in their Portland, Oregon studio. HANK by Henry puts a lot of energy into supporting local and sustainable practices, unlike the traditional imported chopsticks which are cheaply made and loaded with chemicals.

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HANK by Henry chopsticks are made to stand the test of time, and although they do look like works of art one shouldn’t use – they are meant to be used daily. Their quality and beauty is what makes them stand out. We can’t get enough of the copper leaf elements and the polished feel of the wood.SONY DSC

HANK by Henry chopsticks are made by hands – not machines. They are crafted in pairs with untreated hard woods, such as Cherry and Walnut, known for their durability and resistance to warping or absorbing liquids. HANK-by-Henry-handmade-chopsticks
They are finished with five grains of sanding to achieve a smooth surface for eating and carefully finished with oil and bee’s wax for protection. We can attest to the smooth surface of these chopsticks, having touched them at our Renegade San Francisco Holiday Market, they are perfectly shaped and formed! Each pair is then meticulously painted with understated details. Unique in their style, they are small objects of usable art.
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 We are so thrilled that HANK by Henry is breaking ground in Chicago for our Holiday Market this weekend! Take a look at their collection to see the assortment of chopsticks, sets, and hair sticks they have to offer – you’ll want them all! Plus, follow HANK by Henry on Instagram to get an inside peek into their lives and how these gorgeous chopsticks are made.  See you all in a couple of days!

 

Maker Spotlight: Shades of Grey

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Happy Monday, everyone! We are so excited to be featuring some makers headed to our Chicago Holiday Market this weekend. A business we have always admired and adored is Shades of Grey and we love sharing these gorgeous creations with you!
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Attalie Dexter is the Chicago designer behind Shades of Grey. She began her collection of one-of-a-kind and limited edition jewelry back in 2009, and in 2013 Attalie developed a new line of stunning wall hangings and home wares we are obsessed with!

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Attalie makes everything individually by hand in her studio located in Logan Square. Almost all of her materials and tools are sourced from other small businesses and all of the pieces, both jewelry and home, are made of vintage and natural materials. Sustainability and supporting local and small independent businesses is a cornerstone of how Attalie conducts business and it is something we always admire about many of our makers who strive to do the same.ShadesOfGrey-9 ShadesOfGrey-10

Attalie finds inspirations for her work through a variety of mediums, such as vintage Japanese ceramics, and the interplay between light and shadow.

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Shades of Grey reimagines beauty in simplified natural forms and creates monotone layered textures, which you can see in many of her wall art forms.

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We love this small vignette of Attalie’s inspiration board and the daily inspirations she’s found and collected.

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 We can’t wait to see Attalie’s latest creations at our Chicago Holiday Market this weekend at the Bridgeport Art Center! Be sure to see some of the Shades of Grey collection online. We also highly encourage you to follow Attalie on Instagram, her feed is so pretty!