Mentoring young women to have careers in art related fields has been a major part of my business mission for 35 years. For the next few weeks I wanted to feature each person in production and a piece of their artwork. Designing my collection is a collaboration. Most of my staff have graduated from our arts magnet high school and are working for me while they pursue their art degrees. They are talented and dedicated to making things by hand. They also get a close up look at what it takes to have a creative business. It is a give and take; their artistic input and skill and my mentoring.
Nana Johnson, a talented ceramacist, made the beautiful black glazed cup that appears in the still life backdrop we created for our booth at Handmade at NY Now. It displays the one of a kind bronze tubes she fabricates for our necklaces. These hand formed beads appear in various sizes throughout our collection as a primitive line that breaks up and contrasts with the texture of stone beads or the cord that they're strung on. Nana comes from a long line of Japanese artists and her familial legacy informs her aesthetic. Not only is she a talented ceramicist, she has a new found interest in printmaking; my college major. Her interests and studies with former art colleagues of mine brings the conversation of art, politics and craft full circle. The creative and personal synergy between me and my staff is just as important as the work we make.