Work and Whimsy

Work and Whimsy

Published on Monday, November 19, 2018. This article appears in the October/November 2018 issue of American Craft Magazine.
Department Goods
Author Staff
Machine in Hand, Eclipse tea towels

Machine in Hand, Eclipse tea towels

Julia Wilson

Julia Wilson’s Machine in Hand takes its name from her process. Though her floor looms use no electrical power, the elaborate setups are still machines. The Bay Area maker “collaborates” with them to produce blankets, tote bags, shawls, table runners, and the Eclipse tea towels, in palettes that bring to mind desert sunsets. 

Resident Design’s DIY paper sculptures are at once sleek and whimsical, with animals rendered in angled surfaces. But these critters aren’t just lovely to look at; half the fun is putting them together. Designer Tristan Sopp of Pittsburgh sends kits to customers with the materials – paper, glue, an easy-to-use folding tool – and instructions for assembly. Recommended for anyone age 10 or older, the pieces promise a satisfying day of making, with a trophy you can hang on your wall when you’re done, secure in the knowledge no animals were harmed in the making. 

Under the banner of She-Weld, Marsha Trattner leads blacksmithing, knife-making, and welding classes in her Brooklyn shop, where she also makes pie pans, vessels, and lighting. Her footed bowl adds a dose of her signature style – call it “fractured moderne” – to the countertop.

Handyma’am Goods’ perspective is straightforward: “We believe in simple, rugged, and lasting products made for women by women.” The brainchild of Richmond, Virginia’s Bella Weinstein, Handyma’am specializes in workwear that combines form with function: jackets, boots, coveralls, and t-shirts. Among the most popular products is the Drapron – “neither dress nor apron” – which can be worn over clothes or alone, in or out of the shop. 

When Margo Petitti was a student at Rhode Island School of Design, she got her hands on swatch books a tailor shop was throwing out and decided to make a scarf from the material. The on-a-whim creation was a hit; she started to get requests. So she left school and, in 2009, founded her eponymous enterprise, which makes a range of stylish men’s accessories in Massachusetts. Brighten a tired tie-rack with one of her patchwork-style ties.