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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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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Objects made during the group’s “A Watery Line” residency and exhibition at The Tetley in Leeds last August, where they also held open studios and a program of workshops around the various forms of making.

Nous Vous, Graphic Artists

“It’s about making language visual,” respond the three members of Nous Vous when I ask them about their distinctly French name, which translates to We, You. “Well, it rolls off the tongue nicely, too,” laughs Jay Cover, who founded the London-based trio with William Edmonds and Nicolas Burrows back in 2007. “But aside from that, our external influences tend to be design manifestos where the process is conscious of the audience and collaboration.” We, You — there is a certain anonymity to their practice, reflected also in their European website domain (nousvous.eu), placing the group nowhere specific, perhaps in an effort to avoid defining their collective body of work.
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French Illustration Duo Atelier Bingo

Someday, when someone writes the definitive book looking back on how the internet changed life in the 21st century, they'll include stories like Atelier Bingo's: After living in Paris for two years post-graduation, Adéle Favreau and Maxime Prou decided on a whim one day to leave their burgeoning graphic design careers behind for a life in the countryside, and guess what? It didn't make a lick of difference. The pair now run a bustling illustration studio from a converted factory in Saint-Laurent-sur-Sèvre owned by Favreau's uncle, and thanks to the magic of email, it hasn't stopped them from selling prints online and working with clients like Vogue, The Plant, and Wrap Magazine, plus companies they did graphic design for back in Paris, now three hours away.
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Costumes have also been a big part of Cave Collective’s performances — this is an example of many ideas for those costumes layered on top of each other, including a thick shawl made from strips of dyed cotton and Icelandic wool that Lauigan plans to explore further during the hiatus. “I’d like to do collections of one-of-a-kind shawls and install them as art pieces on a wall,” she says.

Cave Collective, Artists

We discovered Cave Collective by way of their jewelry, which we spotted at the boutique No. 6 in New York, this past October. In late November, we shot founders Cat Lauigan and Alex Wolkowicz in their Greenpoint workspace. Then, by the end of January, we found out that they'd dismantled most of the studio and jewelry line, that Lauigan had relocated to California, and that both artists were focusing on their individual practices until they figured out what to do next. And yet by that point, we knew enough about Cave Collective to take the news in stride — ever since Lauigan and Wolkowicz began their collaboration in 2010, it's been an endlessly shape-shifting and exploratory project, one that's seen them living thousands of miles apart for nearly as long as they've lived in the same city.
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Maryanne Moodie, Brooklyn Textile Artist

There are few people who get the opportunity to uproot, relocate, and be instantaneously welcomed by a community of powerful and creative women. But Maryanne Moodie — the Melbourne, Australia native who settled in Brooklyn last year after her husband got a job a Etsy — did just that. Since arriving, she says, “I’ve been able to meet and forge fast friendships with so many amazing textile ladies — inspirational women who are creative as well as business focused. I’ve had the chance to collaborate professionally with them — as well as down a few glasses of wine over plans for world domination.”
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