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Ladies & Gentlemen's Brooklyn studio

Playing Around With the Cool Kids of American Design

Inside the experimental playground that is Ladies & Gentlemen's new Brooklyn studio: “All of our work is an evolution of itself,” says Dylan Davis, one-half of the up-and-coming design couple. Shapes on a piece of jewelry might lead to a geometric take on lighting; that, in turn, might inspire the assorted forms suspended on a mobile. However distinct, each piece is unmistakably linked to the next, joined by an understated elegance and what the two refer to as "playful austerity." “We try to embrace that feeling you had as a kid when you got to really explore,” Davis says. “Our goal is to take that spirit of play and figure out how to use it professionally.”
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Chiyome minimalist handbags

Chiyome’s Japanese-Inspired, Minimalist Handbags

It’s easy to look at the work of designer Anna Moss and draw associations with a familiar sort of functional Japanese minimalism: her line of handbags, CHIYOME, is named for her Japanese great-grandmother. Yet for Moss, the starting point is plainly straightforward: “I strive for simplicity and that can take many forms,” she explains. What interests her is not minimalism for the sake of it, but rather a focus on the bag as vessel; it’s a study less in stripping back and more in adding intentionality.
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Material Lust American furniture designers

Exploring Furniture’s Dark Side with Material Lust

Just a year and a half old, Material Lust was born of a desire to fill glaring gaps in the world of home design: lighting that isn’t overpowered by its surroundings, for example, or a rug that does double duty as sculpture. Now four collections in, the studio's work is singular, striking, always made with extreme care and attention. It’s also often and unreasonably stereotyped.
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HUYS GYM ASSISTANT JOSH

Tureens, Totems, & Tables: What’s Next for Workaday Handmade

When we think of ceramicists at work, we often conjure romantic visions of noble artisans wearing clay-streaked aprons and strenuously channeling their artistic magic behind a potter’s wheel. Which is mostly true, to a point, and yet — what happens once that noble artisan also has to figure out how to run a thriving, growing business? To find out, we visited the Brooklyn studio of the hugely successful Forrest Lewinger (aka Workaday Handmade) with photographer Paul Barbera.
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Hunting & Narud Studio Visit

Hunting & Narud Are Rewriting the Rules of Scandinavian Design

Originally from Norway, Amy Hunting and Oscar Narud both completed design education abroad — Hunting at the prestigious Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts (KADK) in Copenhagen and Narud at the RCA in London — but the design heritage of their home country remains an important theme in their work. "There's obviously this romanticized cliché of Scandinavian style but a lot of young designers are now trying to push back," says Narud when we talk about their aspiration to reinterpret the stereotypical notions of a Nordic aesthetic. "Scandinavian design is redefining itself with our generation. We all struggle with the weight of the heritage, but there's a lot of stuff happening now."
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Group Partner's Boob Pots

The Brooklyn Ceramicist Behind the Insanely Popular “Boob Pots”

Even with its door wide open, Isaac Nichols’s Greenpoint studio is easy to miss. Walk past, look around, turn back, and there it is, tucked inside a cavernous, garage-like space that’s served as a creative home base for Nichols (who works under the name Group Partner) and a wide circle of artist friends for the past two years. The studio, unassuming from the outside, hums within: music plays; the stretch and tear of packing tape is constant. All around, laid out on makeshift surfaces and shelves, are Nichols’s signature pieces in varying stages of completion: ceramic pots molded to mimic breasts, each adorned in a hand-painted outfit, and his famous face pots, each with one of three appointed names: Adam, Rory, or Pat.
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toddstjohn_opener

Designer, Artist, and Animator Todd St. John

Todd St. John launched a stand-out furniture line this spring, but “I do a lot of animation, illustration, and narrative work,” says the designer, whose background is in graphic design, and whose clients have included The New York Times, Prius, Nickelodeon, Pilgrim Surf Supply, and MTV. “So I’m often experimenting with and developing new characters. There are tests around here everywhere.”
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Rachel Duvall Textiles studio visit. Photography by Laure Joliet

Los Angeles Textile Artist Rachel Duvall

Since moving to Los Angeles five years ago, the artist Rachel Duvall has been refining an almost scientific approach to handweaving, based as much in foundational considerations like hue and line as in methodical chemical experimentation. She uses only natural dyes and modifiers such as copper and iron to “investigate the subtlety of colors,” she says, though the range she achieves — including a bright neon yellow and purple from fermented lichen she collects herself and then brews in her backyard — is striking.
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Curled up by Clements’ desk is Penny, a beagle-dachsund-chihuahua mix who’s been with Clements for about 8 years. On the loom up front, the bright yellow loops are for a series of small one-of-a-kind pieces The Land of Nod asked her to do. The yarn comes from the Manos del Uruguay coop. “It’s all women-run and they hand dye all the wool. It’s a really amazing fair trade organization.”

Dee Clements of Chicago’s Herron Studio

For Dee Clements, who makes beautiful hand-woven goods out of her Chicago design studio, Herron, sustainability is key. “I know it’s an overused buzzword, but it’s really important,” she says. Though she’s talking about the environmental impact of large-scale textile production and why she mainly uses small-farm fibers that aren’t chemically or unethically produced, sustainability, in a creative sense, is also on her mind.
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Mattes makes the slices to order — “you can tell me what toppings you want” — and jokes about creating a webshop “that’s almost like the Domino’s Tracker, where people can see what state their pizza’s in.” She plans to keep making them, but she’s also “interested in creating some other small-scale object weavings that aren’t necessarily pizza.”

Portland Textile Artist Kayla Mattes

Kayla Mattes’ tapestries are an antidote to the disconnection and depersonalization that spending hours online can sometimes leave you feeling. Her work is plugged in to all the technology we take for granted but she recontextualizes it, slows it down, and the effect is immersive, dizzying, a little chaotic, and oddly comforting.
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To the left of this painting are gradations Bittman made in Photoshop while working on embroideries in a similar vein. “I’m interested in how something that appears like a smooth gradation becomes broken down into concrete parts. In those examples I’m just using Photoshop as a tool to make that jump. In the embroideries I did, I came up with my own system of doing that by hand.”

Samantha Bittman, Artist

It was a couple of years ago that Chicago-based artist Samantha Bittman first captivated us with her intricate, meticulous paintings on woven textiles. We’ve been transfixed by her work ever since, so when we had the chance recently to visit her studio and delve into her process, we jumped. Bittman creates dazzling surfaces of optically challenging patterns that draw you in to reveal greater depths, dimensionality, and unsteadying shifts in perspective. There’s an objective, mathematical precision to her pieces but there’s also a remarkably human warmth — the result, perhaps, of giving in to the parameters created by the loom while also resisting them.
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