Meet the Chairish Artisan Collective - Chairish Blog
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Who doesn’t love a handmade, artisan object that feels like it’s been crafted just for you? Which is why we’ve founded the Chairish Artisan Collective, an assembly of 30+ makers, who are working in a wide range of mediums to craft the coolest (and most unique!) home decor out there. From a fashion insider-turned ceramicist churning out stylish housewares, to a southwest rambler crafting quilts inspired by her Airstream travels, we’ve rounded up five makers to share their stories and tell us just why they’re so excited to be to selling one-of-a-kind goods here on Chairish!

SHOP THE CHAIRISH ARTISAN COLLECTIVE >>

Photo by Carolina Mariana Rodriguez

Relativity Textiles

After helping brands like Hygge & West, Caitlin Wilson and Aimee Wilder create custom wallpaper lines, Relativity Textiles founder Erin Minckley Chlaghmo decided to take a shot at her own. The result is a beyond-pretty line of globally-inspired wallpapers with a modern, graphic edge (and heart—Erin and her team provides a portion of all sales to the Heartland Alliance, a non-profit that serves immigrant and refugee populations all over the world).

Where did you business name come from?
I had my manufacturer print some of my designs way before I ever had a website or a business name. One of the printers wrote my initials—”EMC”—on the paper I’d been printing on and it became a little joke to write E=MC2 on everything that was mine. When I finally Googled the Theory of Relativity, I was so excited to find that Albert Einstein’s theory is actually a poignant metaphor for how I see design: We all have different perspectives. We bring our culture, age, nationality, gender and other personality traits with us when we form our opinions about what art we like and don’t. Depending on who you are and where you are in life, you see things differently.

Can you describe how you work and any special tools you use?
Our papers are hand screen printed in the same way wallpaper was being made in the 1970’s. We use an automated press to pull ink through a silk screen with a squeegee, but the hand printed nature is in the way our printers advance the paper ground through the press. Every 30 inches or so, someone is matching the pattern by hand with rudimentary techniques like masking tape and a pen line. It’s really a wonderful thing to see how the paper is made because you have a much larger appreciation of it after seeing the amount of labor that goes into it.

Photo by Maurene Cooper

What do you hope your pieces bring into the homes of people who buy them?
I really believe that owning a wallpaper is like owning a piece of artwork. While it’s true that my drawings were translated into the patterns, it’s really about personalizing your home and showing off your design aesthetic. Additionally, one of my goals with designing globally-inspired wallpaper is to act as a cultural translator. If you’ve never experienced Iranian textiles or Japanese shibori or Indian block printed fabric, maybe I can teach you a bit about how lovely these art forms are. Pattern (and ultimately wallpaper) is a vehicle for connecting two people, two cultures, two foreign places. 

My favorite wallpaper design right now is Kilim Black. It was based on my trips to Morocco where I learned to weave carpets with rural women.

 

Photo by Liz Schultz

Smoothhills

When printmaker Mandi Smethells first saw whimsical weavings popping up on trendy blogs, she decided to DIY her twin sis one as a birthday gift. Needless to say, sparks flew between Mandi and woven art (she made 7 pieces that first week!), and since then she’s grown Smoothhills into a booming business known for its wonderfully quirky, uber-tactile wall hangings, sculptures, and jewelry. Watch out—there are rainbows ahead!

Can you describe how you work and any special tools you use?
I am always trying to be inventive, look at materials differently, and experiment with new techniques. For a few years, I focused solely on weaving, and learning the basics. Eventually I was wanting to create something totally new, but also wanted to build on all the fiber skills I had spent endless hours perfecting. I started using new materials (leather, fabric, rope), and now my idea of fun is walking around a craft store or a hardware store dreaming up new ways of working, or how to build new shapes. Unsurprisingly, my home studio is full of yarn, but there is also leather, fabric, wire, beads and trims piled in there!

Why do you think artisanal pieces like yours are so important today?
In this day and age of trendy, mass produced goods, I cherish items that have more soul. If the items we surround ourselves are a physical embodiment of ourselves, really, why not have them be handmade, one-of-a-kind, and beautiful?

Photo by Mandi Smethells

What do you hope your pieces bring into the homes of people who buy them?
I hope that my works brings joy, a sense of uniqueness and happiness to a home.


Right now my favorite piece is my wall mirror. You can’t beat handmade art that is also functional!

 

Photo by Oliva Malone

LUX EROS

After burning out in the fashion industry, California native Desanka N. Fasiska started a second life as the creative visionary behind Lux Eros, a ceramic studio based out of her Hollywood Hills A-frame. Initially a hobby, Lux Eros blossomed into a full-time business when Desanka threw a dinner party attended by MyDomaine’s then-creative director, who asked her to sell her edgy-meets-sweet ceramics in his store.

Where did your business name come from?
I called it LUX EROS because I knew whatever I did next in my life after fashion, it had to be filled with Light & Love—Lux = light, Eros = love.

Can you describe how you work and any special tools you use?
I am a slab / hand builder. Meaning, I don’t ever use the wheel unless I’m trimming my already-made pieces.

Why do you think artisanal pieces like yours are so important today?
I think it’s obvious that the world has become over-manufactured, and I also think we all long for the days when you knew a human actually took the time to make something carefully with their own hands. It’s special and it means something. I think when you buy something handmade, you don’t mind paying a little more for it, knowing that it’s an item that you will cherish for years to come.

Photo by Desanka N. Fasiska

What do you hope your pieces bring into the homes of people who buy them?
I design everything with style and a little bit of humor in mind. I hope that my work brings a smile to your face when you see it, that is brightens a room and brings an irreverent sense of style to your home or tabletop.

love my Pyramid collection because they’re the pieces I use everyday with my family.

 

Photo by John Ellis

Vacilando Quilting Co.

Traveling full-time with her fiancé in an Airstream trailer prompted Laura Preston to develop a craft that would double-duty as a functional home decor item. The result? Vacilando Quilting Co. Pulling inspo from her travels around the Southwestern United States, Laura creates quilts that feel both modern and rooted in tradition; perfect for everybody from the wayfarer to the homebody.

Where did your business name come from?
Before we embarked on our Airstream trip, I read John Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley, which recounts Steinbeck’s road trip across America in the 1960s with his dog, Charley. There’s a paragraph in the book that really stuck with me: “In Spanish there is a word for which I can’t find a counter-word in English. It is the word vacilar…If one is vacilando, he is going somewhere but doesn’t greatly care whether or not he gets there, although he has direction.” The concept of vacilando really resonated with me – that go with the flow, the journey is greater than the destination mentality – so when it was time to choose a name for my business, Vacilando just felt right.

Can you describe how you work and any special tools you use?
The design process typically starts with traveling and an overwhelming resonance with a specific place. I sketch by hand using either colors or shapes that stood out in mind from the landscape and refine those sketches until the design, proportions and balance feel just right. Then I choose colors and fabric and start on the first sample. I cut and piece the top, sandwich the three layers of the quilt together, quilt either by machine or by hand, and bind the edges. The whole process takes about a month and each quilt takes 10 – 25 hours to make depending on the size and design complexity. I still make nearly every piece myself from start to finish, but have recently started outsourcing some of the quilting to seamstresses and quilters around the country.

Photo by John Ellis

What do you hope your pieces bring into the homes of people who buy them?
I want my pieces to bring beauty and joy into peoples’ homes – there’s something really powerful about having things in your everyday environment that make you happy whenever you look at them. I also hope that my quilts take on a strong sense of family, home and comfort. I grew up using our family quilts for picnics, as an extra layer of warmth in the winter and to snuggle under on the couch while watching a movie. I can only hope that the families who buy my quilts can create those same cozy, happy memories and they’ll last long enough to pass down to their kids.

My two favorites are the Trans Pecos and the Chisos Quilts because they were both inspired by West Texas….They reflect the atmosphere and tone—minimal and laid back; strong and bold.

 

Photo by Kayla Hornberger

MeshCloud

Noah Hornberger, who along with his wife Kayla, make up the MeshCloud team, has always loved tinkering with gadgets. A 3D printer allowed him to take it to the next level design-wise and craft a uniquely modern line of sculptures, vases, and planters. From spiny planters to vases with serious soft-serve vibes, there’s a MeshCloud piece just right for any home!

Where does your business name come from?
After obtaining a 3D printer, I went into the studio everyday and tried to see how I could push its limits. I tried to get patterns and shapes to emerge that were both distinct and beautiful. At some point, I had a whole room full of 3D white vessels and it felt like I was in a cloud. So I coined the name MeshCloud to reference the mesh of the 3D models and the cloud as the chaotic but creative ambition in my head.

Can you describe how you work and any special tools you use?
I begin with notebook sketches to capture an idea for a shape. After, I get into 3D modeling on the computer. Obviously, the 3D printer is the machine used to manufacture the final object, and it does this by extruding thin layers of melted plastic until an object forms. It takes about 4-5 hours to print a softball sized object, so in order to do multiple things at once, I now have many printers.

Photo by Kayla Hornberger

Why do you think artisanal pieces like yours are so important today?
I hope that even from afar people see something deeper emerging from my work. Throughout history artists have worked to both decorate living spaces and to inspire people. Likewise, I aspire for my work to fit into the modern life with style, while also to offering something deeper and more abstract, like creative inspiration or reflection. The goal is always bigger than me.

My favorite piece is the set of 3 Cubist Art Vases. Inspired by Picasso, they are basically a set of stylized olive oil bottles, fragmented with polygons.

Shop the Chairish Artisan Collective >> 

 

Lead photo by Language & Image 

February 13, 2018

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