We love coming across unique items during application season, so when Grit + Grain showed up on our screens, it was true love. Our Los Angeles Fair kicks off this weekend, and we are thrilled to have Taylor Kibby of Grit + Grain join us!
Where did your business name come from? Is there an interesting history behind?
The name was actually the happy result of a brainstorming powwow late one night with my father/mentor. We were talking about all the things I wanted people to feel and see when they find my work and I kept coming back to how much I wanted to break the boundary between art and utility. I want people to reach out and feel all the different textures that result from mixed media and feel comfortable taking a seemingly delicate piece and using it in the everyday bustle of life. Grit and Grain is all about the texture and strength that underlie each of my pieces.
Have you always been passionate about design?
I have always been really involved in the arts, though over the years that has meant anything from figure drawing to building furniture. My love for design comes from the fact that there is are endless amounts of techniques and ideas I have yet to tap into…that is very exciting for me!
When/Why did you start working in this particular craft/field?
I was working as a pastry cook and felt like I needed another creative outlet (plus I had the craziest hours at work and needed something to help wind down in the afternoon). I took up ceramics which had always been something I was interested in learning about; there is such an exciting mix of chance and skill in ceramics. The next logical step for me was stone carving because my father is a sculptor and it is something we have so much fun experimenting with together.
What do you think sets your designs apart from others?
I think that what appeals to people in my designs, are that they are so simple in their geometry and execution, yet feel really sumptuous and seductive. That is a heady combination.
Have you had any major failures? If so, what were some important insights gained?
I have failures everyday; that is just part of the learning curve. Sometimes I’ll have a fantastic idea and when I try and make it into reality, I realize the physics of it will never work. What I’ve learned is that it is okay to step back and take the time to really educate yourself before you jump feet first into a project.
Have you sacrificed anything to create your business? If so, what was it, and do you have any regrets?
There are the normal trials of my passion (my business) not being my main job. I wish I could truly dedicate myself 7 days a week to it. I regret that I didn’t take more technical classes while I was at University. I think if I had been exposed earlier to welding, design theories etc. I could have started Grit and Grain as soon as I was out of school!
What has been your proudest/favorite moment since creating your business?
I started Grit and Grain just about a year ago, and it is crazy how quickly time passes! But my proudest moment so far was my first official sale to the incredible design store Lawson Fenning. They picked up a few of my calcite trays and I couldn’t believe one of my favorite places to shop was now carrying my work!
How does the city you live in influence your work?
Drive. Los Angeles is such a hub of ambition and creativity that what could have been a hobby for me, ended up being my primary focus and my first business. I’m grateful for the energy you find here.
What valuable experience/knowledge did you have before starting your business?
I’m not sure I had any to be honest! That’s the beauty of being young entrepreneur… you dive in head first. I suppose having no fear is sometimes an incredibly valuable asset…
What made you take this leap into being your own boss?
It simply seemed like the best way to work towards being the person I aspire to be. I felt like being my own boss would push me to work harder, make time for more creative experiences in my life, and would ultimately make me happier.
What are some inspirations for your work?
I pull from all over, and with unprecedented access to amazing artists out there, it is easy to be inspired. I have a deep affinity with the Bauhaus movement and also a lot of Japanese craftsmen like Ruka Kikuchi.
What are some tips or suggestions you’d like to offer to fellow makers?
I think the only advice I would pass on is to take on each learning experience like it is the best adventure you’ll ever be on. The failures are just as valuable as the success.
There is a lot of spontaneity in my work. Each piece of stone I cut for trivets and dishes are completely unique in shape and size and even the stone itself varies greatly from one piece to the next. I like this easy flow in combination with the modern brass and wood accents because I am a person that enjoys the unsettling combination of order and chaos.
Can’t wait for this weekend! Los Angeles, here we come! You can find Grit + Grain grain in person at our fair, and online here: