Meet the Maker , Kalla Mcguire of Kudd:krig Home

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I stumbled across Küdd:krig Home on Instagram and immediately fell in love. The colors, materials, and modern design all made me drool. Textile heaven! Hailing from Long Beach California, each piece is hand made with ethically sourced high-end materials. The attention to detail in each piece is what drew me in initially. Each textile is unique and thoughtfully  constructed. The Landscape Blanket on my wall is one of my favorites, the abstract shapes and composition of this piece made me crave to have it hanging on my wall as an art piece.  I wanted to know bit more behind the brand, inspirations, mantras and studio practices, I am honored to share the lil interview I had with Kalla of Küdd:krig Home

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Where do you draw your biggest inspiration from? 
"The first part of my creative process is generally rooted in interior design, architecture and nature.  Whether it be a space designed by Kelly Wearstler, work by a small architecture design firm or the color palette that I find myself surrounded by on a camping trip.  There really are no limits to what inspires a piece or a series of work, but these tend to draw endless inspiration for me.  I get pulled into a space or a feeling created by something and then consider how it could be translated, in terms of textiles.  By this point I’m overwhelmed with ideas and just scramble to create them."

What is your favorite studio ritual? 
"Being alone in my studio (with the exception of my 2 dogs laying at my feet), turning on whatever music feels right that day, lighting a candle or two, and just freehand painting textiles.   There’s no better day. "

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What drew you into the world of textiles? 
"Initially the love of Interior Design, but more than anything, I was never excited about the options out there in the realm of pillows, blankets and bedding. I started making things I wished existed- pieces that are unisex, textural, modern and obviously cozy and delicious. " 

Who are some artists/ makers that you are inspired by right now? 
"I keep going back to a Japanese Sculptural Artist named Ryosuke Yazaki.  His work is so simple, obscure, raw but elegant.  I can’t get enough of it right now. " 

"As for makers, Cindy Zell of WKNDLA and Melissa and Jonathon of A Question of Eagles really inspired me when I found their work.  So much so that I forced them into collaborating with me.  Maybe not forced, but in any case it was very inspiring working with other artists/makers and seeing what we could come up with together."

What is your favorite piece you have made to date?
"That’s a hard one, because as you know, when making these pieces by hand, a certain level of attachment happens with each one.  I think my favorite, though is one of my Landscape Series Blankets.  It now lives in Cindy Zell’s home.  The funny thing about this piece is I’d made it almost year ago and couldn’t decide how I felt about it.  I tucked it away in my “projects” area and didn’t realize my full love of it until I came back to it months later. " 

 

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Thank you so much Kalla for wanting to share a bit behind your business and inspirations  and for sharing your craft!

 

SMALL BUSINESS, CREATIVITY, COMMUNITY AND A LEAP OF FAITH: MEET TWO OF MY PERSONAL INSPIRATIONS

The past few weeks have brought a range of exciting things. I’ve finished the largest piece of art I've ever done, went on a peaceful camping trip and had the opportunity to talk with two San Francisco women that truly inspire me to my core. The latter is what I want to delve into here because the experience of diving into their practices, hopes for growth and love of community is an unparalleled experience that left me beyond inspired. I was compelled to get back in my shop and channel the energy that I felt through them. So who are these ultra-influential women? They're Rachel Robertson from Rare Device and Elaine Hamblin of Kosa Arts. I wanted to share their stories with the world, so I partnered with American Express,  which they both welcome, to uncover their realities.

 

Rachel Robertson of Rare Device

I got my start in the world of creativity and making a living working with my hands at Anthropologie, a clothing retailer. I was a Display Artist, and thus quickly was drawn to Rachel, who was the senior Display Artist there at the time. I was in awe of her. Everything she made was flawless and done with a heart full of enthusiasm. She was one of the first ladies that really taught me about giving the art world my best work and challenging myself to push beyond my boundaries of what I thought was great. I have been utterly inspired watching Rachel's career unfold, and along with my friends at Amex, decided to visit her world.

 

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Rachel is the Creative Manager at Rare Device on Divisadero Street in San Francisco; a gorgeously curated shop that maintains an emphasis on the maker behind the products. There, you can find some of Rachel's own textile jewelry; a beautiful representation of who she is and her inspiration. Sitting there with her was incredibly powerful for me. She told me about how transitioning from a corporate background in art to being immersed in a world of makers has influenced her work and how she found the confidence in showing her craft.

She began as a retail display manager and display artist (which is how I met her). She had always made things on the side as well, but admits that she was “pretty shy” about showing it until about 10 years ago. 

“A good friend and artist, Christopher Bettig, helped me gather the courage and gave me a few opportunities to put things out there in the world,” Rachel says. “I am still pretty shy about some of my work, but it's gotten easier.”

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Her venture into working full time in the creative realm happened in 2015, which she describes as a “huge leap.” She’s been a part of Rare Device now for the past 2+ years and couldn’t be happier. 

“…It's been incredible to be a part of a creative, supportive and local business. I feel so surrounded by creativity at all times both in my work and in my personal life, that I often have to remind myself that the world isn't populated just by artists and creatives,” says Rachel.

It’s not without struggle though. Putting herself out there has been a major challenge that she continues to work on, and forces her to really see what serves her. 

”As a natural introvert, as so many artists are, I had to recognize my tendency to hang back in the shadows,” she says. “I work on fighting that every day.”

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Her days consist of green tea and toast in the morning, followed by some time in the studio on weekdays before she heads into Rare Device

“My studio is only a block away from home which gives me no excuse! I will usually work on jewelry or small drawings and listen to music,” says Rachel.

From there, she bikes to the store, where she puts together product orders, does some merchandising and sometimes helps out with gallery show installations. Rare Device customers love that she has American Express as a payment option and it comes as no surprise. Over 1 million more places in  the U.S. started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year.

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 When she’s not working with customers, she likes to keep her creative juices flowing. Rachel will spend at least one full day of the weekend at her studio. Currently, she is working on a personal project making necklaces to give to fellow creative friends. Each piece will be directly inspired by their work, for instance, based on their color palette or materials that they use. 

“I want to give back to the women that have been inspiring to me and also use this project as a stepping stone for experimentation, helping me to incorporate new ideas into my jewelry pieces,” she says.

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Her mantra? 

Make something every day, even if it isn't any good,” she says “Years ago, I remember asking a professor for advice and he basically just said to keep working and making.”

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Elaine Hamblin of Kosa Arts

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The moment I met Elaine Hamblin I felt drawn to her. The connection was real. Hearing about her shop, her need to constantly create, her love of community, and willingness to get deep hit all my inspiration buttons. I was beyond honored to spend some time at her shop Kosa Arts in Oakland to learn about this incredible woman.  

Elaine’s creative background comes from a fine arts degree with an emphasis on textiles from California College of the Arts in Oakland. From there, she did costuming for Bay Area dance companies as well as created her own line of hand-painted fabrics. Following that, she worked several design assistant positions with Bay Area designers, and then maintained a long career leading Technical Design teams at Gap in San Franciso and New York and Levi’s in San Franciso.

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When she entered the creative realm full time, she says it was “long overdue.” She took it as a personal dare to enter the corporate world to see if she could get in and to learn how the industry worked on a global scale. She continued her creative outlet while working in the corporate arena by working on costume design outside of work for dance companies such as Bandaloop, Epiphany Productions, and Jo Kreiter. During that time, she longed to get back to developing her line of apparel as well as showcase other makings in the form of a concept shop. 

“When things started brewing in Oakland, I wanted to join in the community and bring in a slightly elevated shop showcasing artisan made goods, similar to those I had grown fond of while living in NY,” says Elaine.

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She came to the realization that she needed to just take the plunge.

“There came a point that I couldn’t not go for it. I felt my soul was yearning for creativity and community engagement. I learned so much from the corporate world, especially not coming from a business background. I learned not to take the business side of it personally or emotionally,” says Elaine.

This is where, despite her background, she found some difficulty – in developing the KOSA brand apparel line. She left the apparel industry with the intention of showcasing only home goods. While working on her business plan, she set up at the 25th Street Collective, which was a sewing collective and storefront for sustainable start-ups and at the time happened to have a handful of clothing designers. 

“I ended up designing a line of tunics that I introduced into the shop. The line is what keeps the shop open,” she says “The struggle is that I am now trying to run two businesses, but I’m grateful because my love of designing and craftsmanship has been rekindled.”

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Elaine holds mostly a consistent schedule where a good day means she’s up early and out for coffee by 6:30am, goes for a swim downtown, walks to work (which includes stopping in local cafes to say hi), and works on her clothing line (cutting/ sewing) before she opens the shop. It’s there that she relies on Amex

 “Many people prefer to use Amex, and are happy we accept it,” she says. I definitely have repeat customers because of it. I appreciate that Amex supports small businesses.” From luxury brands to thrift stores, American Express® Cards are accepted at more places than ever.

Most days she is in the shop, ordering goods, stocking shelves, making sales and working on patterns when it’s slower. 

“We have a drafting table in the shop so we can incorporate product construction in the daily business. We host workshops by local makers, mostly on the weekends when it's slower and we frequently go to small business events in the evenings,” says Elaine.

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Elaine is inspired by the creative process in itself and is moved by a multitude of elements within that including:

“Imagination of what a material can become. Using my hands to form one element into another. Creating and transforming environments. Element of surprise. Transforming materials in an unexpected way. Pure craftsmanship.”

"Sustain the creative spirit" is Elaine’s mantra. “We hope to inspire others to appreciate the quality of living with hand crafted, thoughtfully made items,” she says. “As humans, we have a deep need to engage with our natural world creatively, with our senses, and to develop a high level of skill for our personal development.”

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Thank you American Express for this opportunity to dive deep into the lives of two of my biggest inspirations, and for helping to support small businesses and artisans like these two ladies. Over 26,000 more places in the San Francisco area started accepting American Express® Cards in the last year, which I'm excited about because that means I can use my card to support the creators I love.

Editor, Jen Woo

At Home With Nespresso

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Mornings are important to me. They always have been. I am a ritual person. Setting aside specific times to be present, preparing for the day or week is very sacred to my work and life flow.

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Waking up slowly, taking a shower, practicing yoga and then enjoying a warm cup of coffee are all present in my daily routine. Being my own boss means I make my own schedule, it also means that I need to prioritize and organize my days because I am responsible for all aspects of my business. I take my mornings with a side of delicious coffee. Adding in my new Nespresso Essenza Mini has brought another level of tasty coffee made so quickly.

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It fits perfectly into my space and I love that I can now eliminate running out to get coffee on my way to work, and instead enjoy it at home. I am also thinking about bringing it to my shop, since I spend most of my time there anyways and an afternoon coffee is another of of my favorite rituals. :)

Inspiration, creative ruts and working though the ebb and flow

It can seem glamorous being a full time artist. I know that I’m incredibly fortunate to be able to be doing what I love every single day--for my profession to align with my passion. The truth behind it though, is that it’s not always a glittering experience. It’s a rollercoaster ride with highs, lows, and lineal bouts where it can feel like there is no motion or stimulation at all. There are severe climbs where each and every push forward takes an immense amount of work, and then there are exhilarating moments of free falling, propelling forward at lightning speed. Being an artist requires being open to what life may bring, good or bad, and it’s tough; but it’s all a part of the creative journey.

One of the great beauties of having a daily practice of making art is that it has allowed me to become deeply familiar with inspiration in all of its forms. There is nothing like the feeling of when that spark hits and each line that I draw and every cut that that I make feels like genius. My craft and I are one and I flow. It’s a steady state of butterflies where time becomes irrelevant and disappears into the depths of the creative conscious. It becomes my fuel and source for being. That high, however, eventually slows down, and sometimes even comes to an agonizing halt where work becomes mundane and even dreaded; and I hit a wall.

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“Always keep making.” These words came to me in college while I was swimming through a sea of mediums, searching for the one that would reel me in and lock into my creative space. Through the years, this has become my mantra. It has also translated into a tradition of sorts where whenever a friend has an art show, I’ll get them a creative instrument, be it a pencil, a paint brush or a hammer, with this quote tied to it. It’s the best advice I can give myself and to anyone in a creative field.

I am still navigating through that place where tasks can become stale, but I know that it’s crucial to the development of my work and of myself as artist. In the times where I am making and making and it feels like nothing new is coming through, I know that is where I am filling up my bank of stored feelings, stored designs, and all the tiny marks that eventually ignite a new movement. Some of the work created here is total shit, and that’s ok. It’s necessary as it becomes blueprints for the future.

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Going through the motions of making, of feeling tired, forces me to muster up my strength and recognize the triumphs I’ve experienced to get to where I am now. It hasn’t been easy, and I don’t ever want it to be. Working hard for what I want makes achievement even greater, and I know that I’ve overcome something in order to get there. It’s in that process of powering through that I make a breakthrough.

What I’ve realized is that after the dust of inspiration settles, often I am left with a new skill, a new direction and a new birth to my work. Though it can become monotonous, practicing over and over brings muscle memory and comfort with my craft.

I am thankful for the moments of creative flow and what comes from it. When the orders pour in after a new direction is debuted, it’s a rush, and a high that is impossible to beat. I celebrate those times, but there is always a part of me that lies in the shadows, secretly hungry for those times of tedium. It’s those moments where I force myself to keep making that I experience the most growth. That is where true inspiration is cultivated.  

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For me at this moment, I am making and making. The dust is settling from the high of my newest “vertigo” collection, and I am craving a new direction. Inspiration hasn't hit yet, and to chase it too vigorously always sets me back a bit. So, for now, I am making, getting lost in composing, meditation, mantras, and stockpiling ideas for the future - investing in my creative bank if you will.

There’s an underlying current, not a feeling of numbness, but a slow rumble of a hunger beginning its hunt for satisfaction. I have a bit further to search and climb and explore and that excites me. I feel a pull towards bringing my past into my work, joining emotion and stillness. I don't necessarily know how those dots will connect but, slowly, I feel them starting to line up.

Essay Edited by Jen Woo. 

A DAY WITHOUT A WOMAN

"IT IS ALWAYS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER WHERE YOU ARE FROM, AND WHEN I SAY 'WHERE YOU ARE FROM' I MEAN, A WOMAN" -CLEO WADE

My sweet friends, followers, and everyone in between I urge you to read on about taking a stand, being the voice of action and the power of love! 

I wanted to write a post about the organizations that I donate to and am passionate about. With tomorrow being International Womens day and all the meaning and importance that this day holds here is where my heart lies. Thank your for taking the time to read this, and thank you endlessly if you decide to join me in donating to these organizations and taking action!I AM PROUD TO BE A WOMAN AT SUCH A TIME AS THIS! 

Can't stay away from the Great Outdoors.

This year has been one for adventure. I found places that I fell in love with and I could not keep away. The two places that continue to call my name are Joshua Tree and Yosemite. In every season, these places bring me so much inspiration, goosebumps down my spine and leave me a bit heartbroken when I have to say goodbye. Here are some shots from my adventures in these places this year. 

Blurb Book

As this year is coming to an end I am truly taking the time to sit and reflect on what has shaped me over the past 12 months. 

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I was asked to create a book with Blurb Books, given the freedom to create what I wanted with it. I thought that an art book would be cool, but what really kept rising in my head was a photo book filled with the journey that I took on this year. 

Almost a year ago I lost my mother, and around that time lots of life changes were placed ever so gently into my path. It was as if everything I knew, and everything I had was being flipped upside down. At that time life felt messy and made no sense, but I could not have been more wrong. 

As I created the pages of this book, the worlds that I wrote to myself, the photos I took, the artwork I made, and the places I visited, it all told such a story of growth, self discovery and becoming one with my soul. 

Revisiting some of these feelings and photos that earlier this year would have been difficult, really just left me feeling elevated. Like I truly climbed a mountain, and not that I am on top now and know everything, but I have a greater view of what is before me. The things I still have yet to learn, the deeper I can go within my soul, the creativity that I have yet to tap into and the amount love I have yet to share is all before me calling my name and I am running straight for it. 

So this book was a beautiful challenge that I am so grateful to have and to get to visit what this incredibly changing year was for me. 

 

 

Have a look into how to create your own  http://blurb.by/aleksandra  Thank you Blurb for sponsoring this post, it has been wonderful working with you!