Contact Us

Use the form on the right to contact us.

You can edit the text in this area, and change where the contact form on the right submits to, by entering edit mode using the modes on the bottom right. 

         

123 Street Avenue, City Town, 99999

(123) 555-6789

email@address.com

 

You can set your address, phone number, email and site description in the settings tab.
Link to read me page with more information.

FEATURES

Filtering by Tag: GIFT

Alex Devol

Mira Dayal

Alex Devol is the master hand behind Wooden & Woven, a "100% Homemade" source for your new favorite home, kitchen, and art pieces. Here he talks about his relationships with materials, tools, and other makers.

By Mira Dayal

Fairweather Magazine: How did you get into woodworking? Who or what were some of your early influences?

Alex Devol: My grandfather got me my first workbench and tools when I was about 5; I don't suppose that really counts, but I do remember quite vividly being in his garage and inspecting each tool with immense fascination. Since then I have taken on a variety of roles and worked with more materials than I could list, and I'm not sure exactly how or why wood seems to have won my affection over all the rest, but It has. It’s not just the material that’s responsible for me becoming a craftsman, though. I have a love of ceramics and sometimes think it could have just as easily been clay in my hands. I think it’s just always been important to me that I’m making things.

FM: From a cooking standpoint, how does using wood products differ from using alternative material products— metal, plastic, and glass, for example?

AD: As a designer, I am fascinated by synthetic and engineered materials. I love learning about new technology. I have a background in sportswear and one of the most fascinating aspects of that industry was the research & development. It’s interesting to see how design can push the performance of material to new places, but despite that my personal preference is always the natural one--cotton & wood over polyester & plastic. Most well-stocked kitchens will have a wooden spoon or spatula. It isn’t as strong as stainless steel, it wont wipe clean as easily as ceramic, but it just feels right to use when you’re making a stir fry! Not that long ago, all the utensils in a kitchen would have been wooden. I see why convenience and ease of production has led us away from it, but for pure aesthetics and pleasure in use there is no comparison for me between wood and metal. There is just something inexplicably warm and soothing about wood which can’t be replicated.

FM: How do you choose your woods? Do you have preferred types for different products?

AD: It’s important to me that all the materials I use are responsibly sourced. Most of the green wood I use comes from local trees in controlled areas which needed to be felled. The timber I use comes from local suppliers I trust to ensure that the process is the most ethical and sustainable it can be from woodland, to sawmill, to me.  Different trees bear wood with different properties, and that makes them most suitable for different products. Sycamore is particularly antibacterial which makes it great for chopping boards which come into contact with raw foods and meat. As with any design, to make a good product, you have to consider the properties of the material you’re going to use--the durability, strength, and weight... It’s no different with wood, but there are some idiosyncratic properties like the grain type and smell. Some woods actually retain a lot of flavour even when dried out and so would affect the taste of a hot drink if used in a cup or one of my coffee cones. 

FM: What are some of your most trusted carving tools? Have you been trying out any new techniques or materials recently?

AD: Most of my tools are either hand-me-downs or things I picked up second hand. I’m about 45 minutes from Sheffield, which is famous for crafting some of the world's best steel. While unfortunately most of that industry has vanished in the past half century, there are a lot of great tools floating around. There are still some incredible artists out there smithing tools, though. I’d say my best carving kit is either made by Nic Westermann, who is still independently making incredible tools, or a set of Japanese Oire Nomi chisels which are so beautifully made that it’s sometimes hard to bring myself to use them.

FM: I love the look of the coffee cones. What other designers or art movements inspire your aesthetic eye?

AD: Most of the makers who inform my own work are ceramicists. I struggle to think of a craft that forms a better relationship between art and utility than pottery. It seems to have always held a perfect balance of functionality and ornamentation, and at the moment that’s the same balance my work sits within. Designers are very fortunate these days since we can just look to a screen for ideas, but the people around you provide your best inspiration and I have been fortunate enough to work with some incredibly talented potters this past year: Romy Northover, Clair Catillaz, Takashi Endoh, Jono Smart… There were actually a lot this year, too many to name, and some have since become good friends. To give a nod to a few master woodworkers, though, I admired the work of George Nakashima and the writings of David Pye, both of whom should be remembered for a very long time.

FM: How long do these handmade pieces take to carve? An Italian Olive Eating Spoon, for example?

AD: The quickest thing I make takes several hours, and the longest can take weeks!

FM: How much do you depend upon the internal qualities of the wood? It seems like, by making each piece from hand, you have relative flexibility in terms of tailoring each piece to the wood you are working with, rather than having a single template you impose on each section.

AD: Yeah, wood is a very active material. As a rule of thumb, the more figure and beauty you can see, the more it will want to have a say in what you can and can’t do with it. Of course, you can disregard that and just wrestle with it with hand tools all day until it does what you want, or you can overpower it with machine tools, but I find it’s much more enjoyable and generally gives better results when you learn to cooperate with it. With dried timber, that could simply be selecting your piece of wood to make a particular item based on what you see in the grain, but when working with a fresh log, a lot of that information is hidden inside and so the process becomes much more collaborative as you chop away to reveal new knots and figure. The grain will often try to guide your axe a little as you make cuts. I really enjoy this; you feel like there is a dialogue between your tools and your material, and while I’ve often wondered if this can be noticed by my customers, I can definitely tell when and where the wood had a say in the design.

FM: What's next? Have you considered expanding the business to partner with other stores or businesses? Will you move more into art, as you have begun to do?

AD: I work with a very select few companies who I have believed in and admired for a long time. I try to keep partnerships with stores and other brands to a couple at a time and chose the projects I’m most interested in that have the most creative and honest intentions. If a store's values are the same as mine then I’ll try to work with them, but as only one pair of hands I have to keep it to a few at a time.

As for the future, for the first time I’m trying not to think about it. I’ve been inclined to think too far ahead in the past and start myself on very long journeys with my career and my personal goals. In retrospect, I think being so focused and specific with my plans may have placed a lot of obstacles in my way which might have been otherwise avoided if I had been more fluid. Wooden & Woven, in contrast, has been completely organic and unplanned. I’m enjoying just seeing where things go and am trying not to chase after anything if it doesn’t come naturally. At the moment, opportunities are finding me and it makes for a nice change for me to just loosen my grip off the steering wheel and see how things develop.

Mimi Prober

Mira Dayal

Mimi Prober is not only a proponent of the zero-waste fashion movement, but also one if its strongest leaders. In her collection the designer repurposes vintage lace and fabric remnants from the 1920s and earlier — with stunning results. 

By Mira Dayal

Fairweather Magazine: As I'm sure most people wonder, where do you find your materials? How do you ensure that you have context for their creation (the stories you refer to)? Did you consider using other types of vintage materials?

Mimi Prober: You are right! It is a question I receive often. It is a constant search for something special, almost like a treasure hunt. My main sources of materials are museum deaccessions and private collections. I have been lucky from very early on, as I’ve continued to develop this concept, to have people reach out to me interested in sharing their own family stories from materials that they have received that have been passed down from generation to generation. Not all pieces, though, have such a direct history; many come with names and locations that then I’ve personally done research on to learn more about where and whom they came from. Even content as minimal as the origin of creation, type of lace technique and date of piece is information that should be cherished and preserved.

I remain close to my philosophy of utilizing material fragments that are dated to the 1920’s and earlier (the materials that I use typically range in date from the 18th century-early 20th century). There is a closeness and connection that I feel to the handmade quality of these pieces –most of the materials that I select to use in the collection were handmade by artisans and makers of their previous era, which honors the story of the artists who came before us and continues a modern vision of these ‘lost’ artistic forms.

As far as utilizing other materials, I have created a sustainable fine jewelry collection as an extension of the atelier collection. ‘Metamorphosed Art’ is a collection in which antique sterling silver (from the same time period as the materials used within the garments, that have
also been deteriorated from their original intended forms) is developed organically into modern sculptural forms.

FM: What is your working process like? Do you start out by sorting antique pieces into groups that would work well together, or is it a more accumulative process?

MP: I begin with the antique materials that are uncovered; the individual textiles dictate the process and development of the piece. Each piece from the atelier collection is hand draped directly on the form. Through this signature draping technique I am able to individually evaluate and apply the antique textiles and their placement, similar to creating a sculptural
composition.

FM: Do you work from special orders? How do you communicate with clients to understand their visions while maintaining creative freedom throughout the process?

MP: I can create custom orders based upon the collection concept. Each piece is essentially one of a kind due to the antique nature of the materials, but silhouettes can be repeated and similar materials utilized to create multiple pieces from the collection. This also lends the ability to custom fit or create a new piece based upon the client’s unique measurements.

I have also worked alongside clients in creating special gowns for their weddings; the process is a beautifully intimate conversation concerning what about my work inspired them to commission a piece and how it incorporated into their own vision. One process that was particularly inspiring was creating a gown for a bride who wanted to integrate textiles from her own mother’s wedding gown. She was also getting married in Spain, so I utilized a selection of textiles from her mother’s wedding dress (which was a beautifully simple pleated cotton) and combined it with antique Spanish silk lace from the 1800’s. The result was an heirloom dress that is uniquely hers, but it still utilized all of the signature elements from
my own design philosophy.

FM: Have you ever collaborated with other designers, or are you hoping to in the future? What would that collaboration look like?

MP: I am in the process of an exciting collaboration with a textile artist on some very special and unique textile development for a ready to wear collection which includes signature Mimi Prober atelier elements and the continued philosophy of integrating antique textiles.

FM: What other models for zero waste fashion do you see working best in the future? Why have more designers not changed their practices?

MP: I believe sustainability in design, including zero waste fashion, is the future. There are many ways to utilize the concept--from pattern to draping to the recycling of textiles. From both an environmental and economic standpoint, there is no reason why materials should ever be wasted. Big change always starts small, and the designers of this generation are increasingly becoming aware of the need for industry change.

FM: Can you tell me more about your integrated production process and Manufacture New York?

MP: The integrated production process is very unique as it provides great opportunities for business acceleration. At Manufacture New York, I have access to my studio base alongside the facilities for the production process (which has proven well for the creation stage for our ready to wear line development), as all of the product development, sample making, and small run production can be produced in house in the same environment where my studio/atelier is based.

The educational offerings at MNY are also an essential addition for a designer or business that is interested in expanding their knowledge base with hands on workshops. Businesses can learn how to integrate sustainable practices including textile creation and zero waste production methods into their own brand ethos through these industry led classes and
training.

FM: Would you please share any traditions or events you are looking forward to, or any items on your wish list?

MP: What I find most inspiring about the holidays in NYC is the sharing of traditions from all around the world and the true sense of community celebrating from all walks of life. We all may celebrate the holidays differently, but we all share the same basic purpose, and New York is a great city that brings it all together.

As a great and unique gift to give for the holidays, I would recommend the one of a kind sustainable antique sterling sculptural pieces from the 'Metamorphosed Art' fine jewelry collection. My favorite is the draped hand ring and minimal band.

 

Samuel Draxler

Mira Dayal

Samuel Draxler is an artist, curator, and co-founder of the "New York Performing Artists Collective (NYPAC)" whose practice has most recently challenged conceptions of failure, performativity, and context.

By Mira Dayal

Fairweather Magazine: How has your work as a curator affected the ways in which you think about your own art practice?

Samuel Draxler: I started curating and making art around the same time. For me, producing an artwork is a curatorial act at heart, at least in terms of the underlying logic. Buyout / Tragedy, for instance, is organized around a proposal for “a new work – a tragedy in which the characters, dialogue, and plot have all been removed, leaving only the landscape.” The work is to be exhibited “with or without accompanying text and illustrations,” which allows it to be reformulated in different contexts using different materials. At the ACC Galerie Weimar, for instance, the installation was structured in relation to the life of Christian Gottlieb Priber, an 18th century German utopianist. The piece was first conceived of as a literary work, inspired by the scene descriptions from extant Greek tragedies. The combination of texts and images, both original and appropriated, lets the references shift with each iteration. It’s become a more open investigation into the depictions and functions of tragedy.

FM: In founding NYPAC, you identified gaps in the accessibility of performance art. Do you feel that you have been able to address those gaps? 

SD: For artists working in the medium, one of the biggest issues is the lack of year-round organizations dedicated to performance art. It’s not only an issue of having opportunities to present work, but also of receiving financial support and professional services. Our goal was to work with these artists to help realize projects that wouldn’t otherwise be possible, all while representing these pieces in the clearest language, and with high-quality documentation. We didn’t only want to present well-developed work; we also wanted it to connect with an engaged and excited audience. While we’ve received a great response from our artists and audiences, we’re still a small organization. The art world is evermore vast, and the need for these types of services isn’t going away.

FM: COLLAPSE (or, falling flat), one of the most recent NYPAC events at the Knockdown Center, addressed "the legacy of failure in contemporary art," in this case partially through humor. What sources of failure persist? How can failure be productive?

SD: To oversimplify, there are two common ways failure appears in performance: as a planned motif that references postmodern dance, or as an unintentional outcome and source of abject terror. Implied in the title, COLLAPSE (or, falling flat) was both. Things fail for many reasons, but when you're looking for failure, everything's a victory. "What if it doesn't work?" "It wasn't supposed to!" [laughter]. That night, I was curator, stage hand, photographer, and sound guy. I had no functional experience with mixing, and when I caused a spike between performances – that terribly loud popping sound – Sara Grace Powell applauded. Broadly, though, I think failure is interesting because it’s hard to operationally define, and even harder to identify the stakes. It’s cathartic, too, to rehearse for the worst, but I’ve been told that I tend to catastrophize.

FM: How is performance art more suited than other media to address contemporary concerns, in art or otherwise?

SD: There's certainly a history of political concerns within performance, in regards to gender, sexuality, and the body. With a body at the center of the work, and with a performer investing their time and labor one-to-one with their audience, it's, in a way, naturally predisposed to examine and critique political and structural governing forces. At the same time, that doesn't absolve other media from being actively engaged with these types of concerns. Just because performance as a medium tends towards this focus doesn't mean that other media can't or shouldn't as well.   

FM: Your own art does not always involve explicit performance (as movement through space in time) but frequently involves multiples, collections, and juxtapositions of discrete elements. Several of your pieces (Watershed | The End, 2011 and Strike, 2012) attempt to literally freeze fleeting moments — the daily news. As the frozen pieces melt, there is a sort of performance involved, but it does not involve your body. Similarly, in one of your photographs, plants grow in a bathtub, and this itself is a sort of performance. How do you define performance? 

SD: I myself am not a performance artist, though performance, as an academic and curatorial interest, does seep into my work. Watershed | The End isn't not a body, though. The headline of the original paper in the work is "Qaddafi, Seized by Foes, Meets a Violent End." The form of the work enacts a bodily and state instability. As such, the works as you describe them are all performative, but in no sense performance art. As far as defining performance: there are video works, and installations, that are experiential to the point that performance can be a useful lens to understand them, even if the artist’s body isn’t present. I think fixing a definition is only significant so long as there's something at stake.

FM: What performances, events, or traditions are you looking forward to this winter during the holidays?

SD: ’Tis the season for end-of-year fundraising, when all of the nonprofits in your life ask you for money. We're no different, and you can donate to us at nypac.org/support. More seriously (or perhaps less seriously), the most “holiday” event I’m attending is Justin Vivian Bond's “Angels We Have Heard When High” at Joe's Pub. V is incredible, and I can’t wait. As far as traditions, I host dinner parties frequently throughout the season. Friends, brothy soups, and “Lil BUB's Magical Yule LOG Video” on repeat – what more do you need?