When Kirsten Dirksen, founder of faircompanies.com, visited our studio compound this past winter to talk about wowhaus, Deep Craft and House of Tree, I had no idea she’d produce a trilogy of mini-documentaries about each. I was even a little worried our rambling conversation over the course of an afternoon was too far-ranging to make a cohesive whole. I’m grateful for Kirsten’s ability to think on her feet as she interviewed me while filming, and even more so for her deftness as a story-teller in editing for both sound and image. I hope you enjoy the second installment of her trilogy, focusing on some of the ideas behind wowhaus. I’ve been asked so many times about how wowhaus came into being, it’s wonderful to have a lovely little video to do the explaining.
To watch the video on Kirsten’s website and read her excellent commentary, please click here.
My interview with San Francisco-based artist/designer/furniture maker Yvonne Mouser is the latest in an ongoing series of interviews and studio visits with other makers/artisans/crafters. You may read more of these by clicking here. If you would like to introduce yourself and your work to a growing Deep Craft network, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org. Meanwhile, allow me to introduce you to my good friend Yvonne:
DC: Describe briefly what you do as a maker/artisan.
Yvonne: I focus on creating simple everyday objects that tell a story through their function, and sculptural works that capture moments of change. I work independently, as a freelancer, and as a collaborator on projects that range from one–off commissions, small-scale production, finish carpentry and food + design events.
photo by Jenny Elia Pfeiffer for the December ’09 issue of San Francisco Magazine
I’m already fielding inquiries for dining tables after the publication of an interview with Ene and me in the December issue of San Francisco Magazine, written by Joanne Furio. The interview is called ‘We Gather Together’ and it unpacks our approach to the role of furniture in bringing people together, particularly around the holidays. If you live in the Bay Area, pick up a copy at the newsstands, or click on the link above. Ene and I are both very pleased with the article, and thank Joanne and Jenny for doing such a wonderful job.
artist/textile designer Angelina DeAntonis sits in the chair her mother made, surrounded by Angelina’s ottomans
I did not expect to be distracted by a chair as I entered the San Francisco studio of artist/textile designer Angelina DeAntonis, but the chair’s clean lines and straightforward presence captured my imagination, and it looked very much at home surrounded by Angelina’s luminous fabric creations. I quickly learned that the chair, like everything else in Angelina’s working space, has a unique story that is integral to her aesthetic worldview. The chair is one of a pair built by Angelina’s mother over 40 years ago, with cushions upholstered in fabric her mom wove from sheep raised and sheered on the family farm in the Pacific Northwest, where Angelina was raised.
DeAntonis most definitely gleaned an early appreciation of hand-crafted textiles from her mother, but she also inherited a fearless capacity for experimentation. Informed by the back-to-the-land ethos of her upbringing, Angelina’s clothes effortlessly link sustainability with beauty, elegance with comfort. While Angelina is well known as a designer of naturally dyed, sumptuously graphic and eminently wearable clothing, which she sells under her Ocelot Clothing label, her development as a textile artist and her sensibility as a designer are more complex.
My interview with Brooklyn-based artist and woodworker Jim Christensen is the latest in an ongoing series of interviews and studio visits with other makers/artisans/crafters. You may read these by clicking here. If you would like to introduce yourself and your work to a growing Deep Craft network, I invite you to visit the PARTICIPATE page of this site. Meanwhile, allow me to introduce you to my old pal Jim:
DC: Describe what you do as a maker/artisan
JC: I’ve been making things since I was a kid. Like a lot of guys who grow up in small town U.S.A., my father and grandfather were both woodworkers, as well as my uncles. The craft of woodworking has informed the way I see things in this world and has influenced the types of material culture that capture my attention. A good introduction to my worldview can be seen at: www.youroldpaljim.blogspot.comContinue Reading »
Gabriel Russo wearing a Hipari of his own design at his studio in Richmond, CA
My friend Gabriel Russo taught me that style is a state of mind, and in capable hands can literally be constructed. What I see as the ‘everyday-special’ style evoked by his clothing design- relaxed, well-made, familiar but fresh- flows from the seasoned knowledge born of a steadfast commitment to quality handwork. Russo seamlessly weaves divergent influences into his shirts and jackets, with references to his own past as well as to traditional Japanese textiles and classic Americana. In many ways, Gabriel Russo’s Fall Collection of timelessly hip menswear tells the story of the designer’s journey from Brooklyn street kid to pattern maker and textile designer. I had the pleasure of an advance glimpse of the new line the other day, and learned a lot about Gabriel’s original approach to the art of designing and making clothing over a meandering conversation at his Richmond-based studio.
Donald Fortescue with one of two identical parts of his latest sculpture, ‘Nio’.
Donald Fortescue was preparing to join the last of the coopered sections of his latest sculpture yesterday afternoon when I dropped by his home-based studio in West Oakland for a chat. I arrived just in time to help him and his talented assistant, Yvonne Mouser, flip one of the two, seven foot diameter discs made of heavy Jarrah (Eucalyptus marginata), a sustainably-harvested eucalyptus native to Southwestern Australia. The identical discs will ultimately rest vertically on elliptical steel bases, framing an entryway like twin sentinels. Donald elaborates:
“I decided to call the pair of sculptures ‘Nio’. This is the term for the two sculptural guardian deities that stand on either side of the entrance to a Buddhist temple in Japan. The one on the left as you enter is called ‘A’ the one on the right is ‘Un’.” Continue Reading »