How Do You Explore Craft At Home?

How Do You Explore Craft At Home?

How Do You Explore Craft At Home?

December/January 2016 issue of American Craft magazine
Author Staff
Kate Casey, furniture

Brooklyn furniture maker Kate Casey’s influences range from Danish cord weaving, macramé, and crochet to traditional Shaker and hand-joinery techniques. Photo: Kate Casey

I’ve lived in rented bedrooms with other people’s furniture, and it never, ever felt like home to me. It’s so impersonal. But when you put in handmade objects and meaningful pieces to you, it brings a warmth to the room that otherwise just isn’t there. One of the first things I do in a new place is put up my paintings. There is a painter named Fabio Napoleoni, and I have three or four of his pieces. And I’ve collected little things, too – hooks from different blacksmiths. It doesn’t have to be about the big items. ~Carley Eisenberg, furniture maker, Providence, RI

For the most part, the design and quieter part of my woodworking practice all happen at home, outside of the studio. At my woodshop I make frames and figure out how things piece together. Then I bring the piece home to weave it. It’s such an intimate experience. And a much quieter headspace. An object also reacts totally differently depending on where it is – even in an office versus a shop. If I’m working on a new design, I bring it home and live with it for at least a week. Otherwise I never experience that object in context. And I think living with these things is really important. ~Kate Casey, designer-woodworker, Brooklyn

As my loom fits in my living room, I am fortunate to do the bulk of my looming right there, which is really convenient and wonderful. Often I weave in my pajamas. It is totally integrated in my life. And my neighbors are supportive. They get a kick out of it, because in the basement in the laundry room, the super put up old-fashioned drying lines for my scarves; it has become a de facto billboard for the new collections. Many a sale was made from wet pieces hanging there. Isn’t that kind of neat? ~W. John Jameson III, weaver, Manhattan

We think craft can be used as a word in general terms – when people talk about working with their hands. But we also look at it as a whole life. It’s about how we do things: cooking, gardening, our home, and most importantly how we are hands-on with our children, which we think is a craft in itself. Through time, a craftsman becomes very efficient in his or her movements. There’s no wasted time, no wasted effort. That type of movement is what we’re trying to achieve with our own life, and our own business. ~Eric and Lori Wright, designer-makers, North High Shoals, GA

I like to surround myself with products that have meaning, that are either designed by friends or that I find beautiful. But I’m also a little bit younger, and I can’t always afford what I want. So my boyfriend and I sometimes make our own furnishings. We bought an Ikea bed, and I wanted my own headboard, so I just cut off the headboard that was attached, and I took a super-old Indian room divider and attached that as my headboard. I also just created cork hanging planters, for my own house and as part of my line of home goods. And I trade with other artists – simple things like that. ~Melanie Abrantes, designer-maker, Oakland, CA