November 22, 2017
One of the best parts about autumn - and especially Thanksgiving - is how it forces us to turn our attention away from technology, work responsibilities, and life's hassles and notice - even if just for a moment - the beauty of the natural world around us. From the changing foliage and crisp air to the bustling wildlife readying their nests for the season ahead, nature seems to demand our attention each fall for its final show before the cold stillness of winter. And to us, no one better captures the splendor and whimsy of this magical time than Stephanie Housley.Stephanie is the owner and unstoppable creative force behind Coral & Tusk, whose gorgeous embroidered textiles grace everything from pillows and napkins to furniture and clothing. Her anthropomorphized animal characters and nature-inspired patterns add instant charm and warmth to any space, and we've yet to see a home that wasn't made more beautiful and inviting by their presence (in fact, we admire Stephanie and her work so much that we included her in #HyggeandWestBook, coming soon!). Below, Stephanie shared about her newest collection, her favorite Thanksgiving traditions, and put together a fabulous Coral & Tusk and Hygge & West Product + Paper pairing.Hygge & West: What inspires your work? What is your design and creation process like?
Stephanie Housley: My inspiration comes from everywhere, but mostly, animals, travel, and nature. My love and fascination with the natural world is abundant and obvious in almost every design. Spending time watching any wildlife do anything is a source of much enjoyment, and here in Wyoming there is ample opportunity to do so!As for my design process, I am constantly gathering information and ideas through a variety of ways: looking at magazines and blogs, finding a theme that I research and look through many books about. We usually create two collections a year, so when we go into development mode, whatever is most exciting from the general gathering gets explored further and we begin thinking of ideas visually of what we are thinking to create. Then I do a pencil drawing to scale, then create the embroidery stitch by stitch.H&W: What attracted you to embroidery and what quality do you think it lends to your work?
SH: My background. All the women in my family had some kind of handiwork project in their hands when they were not maintaining the family and house. My great grandmother made lace, my grandmother made dolls, and my own mom would make any project together with me as a kid. I have always loved to draw and embroidery was something I just fell in love with at a really young age. I do not know how to technically embroider - I have always taken a drawing with thread approach. I love how the tactile nature of thread and fabrics bring my drawings and patterns to life.H&W: Do you have any new products for the fall and winter holidays?
SH: For fall we introduced two new collections, our Desert Collection for our main line of products and the Cross Country Skiers collection for holiday.Since moving to Wyoming, the landscape has inspired and informed my work in new ways. Both collections started during my first winter here. On the one hand, I don’t love being cold, and dreaming about the desert and researching the flora and fauna of the American Southwest was one way to escape the freezing temperatures and snow. I also learned to look at winter in a new way and appreciate the beauty and tranquility of the season. Our Cross Country Skiers collection is inspired by winter activity and celebrates the season, rather than trying to escape it!H&W: Thanksgiving is just around the corner. If you could set your dream Coral & Tusk Thanksgiving table, what would you use?SH: Our Homecoming design is inspired by Thanksgiving gatherings and the harvest season. I would set the table with our Homecoming table runner and add our corresponding Homecoming dinner napkin and Pinecone Bison dinner napkin. Maybe even throw in a few Feathers cocktail napkins for a full fall look!H&W: Tell us about the product and paper pairing you've chosen. Is there a story behind this product? What about it do you think pairs well with the pattern and colorway you've chosen?
Gold is my go-to and I love how our Indigo fabric pairs with the Carved Ogee Gold wallpaper designed by Karla Pruitt. Both our pillows and the paper require a closer look to see the special mark-making details!H&W: Hygge is about more than just physical coziness - it's about emotional and spiritual coziness as well. Do you have any Thanksgiving traditions that bring the hygge to your holiday?
SH: In recent years, my husband Chris and I have traveled with our family for the holiday, which has been a new and fun tradition for us. A couple of years ago we stayed in the Blue Ridge Mountains and before that we visited the Smoky Mountains. We don’t plan to travel this year, but are feeling thankful to spend the holiday at our home in Wyoming, with the mountains in our own backyard!
All photography by Will Ellis
filed under: Product + Paper
August 24, 2017
Photo by Sarah Wilmer
Here at Hygge & West, we love people who do things a little differently - the artists, makers, and designers who see the world through their own unique lens and aren't afraid to put their own spin on things. These are the people who jolt us from the ho-hum-ness of everyday life and remind us that there is beauty everywhere. And soft sculpture artist and designer Tamar Mogendorff is absolutely one of those people.
Tamar's playful-yet-sophisticated original stitch creations offer an inspiring take on natural subjects ranging from swans to seahorses and nearly every land-, sea-, or sky-dwelling creature in between. Her sculptures delight children and adults alike, as her deft fingers fabricate creatures that are wonderfully whimsical, subtly sweet, and, sometimes, just a little bit dark. We caught up with Tamar to talk inspiration, collaboration, and her favorite product and paper pairing.
Hygge & West: What inspires your beautiful work? What's your creation process like?
Tamar Mogendorff: Inspiration for me is very random; it can come in any form, at any place, at any time. Finding the right fabric can start a whole new concept. I really believe in being present in the studio, trying new things, and letting myself go with all the ideas that flow while working. There is always some kind of a narrative I tell myself. This helps me decide on the right pieces and variations to form a collection.
H&W: Why were you drawn to soft sculpture as opposed to other mediums and methods of creating your art? What unique qualities do you think it lends your work?
TM: I just happened to have a needle and thread and some old cloths, and I happened to know how to sew from home, and I always liked it. I was making stuff and friends asked to buy it, and then stores did too, and it just took off. I love exploring fabrics, textiles, embroidery. I now travel the world to see different techniques and craftsmanship. This is my passion.
What I do is soft sculpture, and the challenge is to make sure that my work won't look too crafty, but more like objects with some level of sophistication. Working with fabrics in that kind of medium gives you an endless palette of colors, patterns, and textures. Each fabric has an origin and character. The challenge is to use them in the right way, to edit your choices, to match them. I love that part.
H&W: Your work almost exclusively features natural subjects. What is it about the natural world that speaks to you as an artist, and both children and adults alike as consumers of your work?
TM: I think it is something I am drawn to, as there a story there. I play with that. I try to create objects that evoke a feeling. Almost everyone has a favorite animal, a favorite flower... it is how we see ourselves. It's the story we tell ourselves about who we are, or would like to be. We all like stories, and we are all a bit sentimental.
H&W: You've collaborated with many iconic designers, brands, and tastemakers. What do you like best about collaborating and what do you think it brings to your work?
TM: Collaborations are the best and most challenging. Each one is a very different process, but what is so great about it is that you sometimes get to create outside of your comfort zone. You get to play with other minds, focus on a different audience, balance between my vision and theirs. It always pushes me to a new place I never would have thought of and opens the door to new ideas, options, and territories. Plus, I always meet such amazing people through these projects, and that alone is priceless.
H&W: Tell us a bit about the specific product you chose for your wallpaper pairing. Is there a story behind this product? Which wallpaper did you choose to pair it with?
TM: I chose the black bird cage. I love how the cage interferes with the space, how it moves, creates shadows. There is a bit of decadence in the story of a bird in a cage, yet I try to show the playfulness of it as an object, and its softness. The cage is open and the bird is actually free. The choice of one color - black - and the simple shape is what gives it its elegance and sophistication, so that it plays with the space and with our minds, vision, and knowledge. The surrealistic wallpaper (Diamante in Gold) kind of does has the same affect on me.
H&W:Hygge is all about creating comfort and finding coziness in life's small moments and everyday rituals. How do you find or create hygge in your life?
TM: My home is where I live and work. In order to write my answers, I got out of the studio and sat at my dinning table. My cat just came and laid next to me, so I will pet him for a while...
filed under: Product + Paper
August 10, 2017
We're so excited to kick off our brand new blog series, Product + Paper. In this ongoing series, we'll be interviewing some of our favorite makers about what they do, how they do it, and what makes them tick. We'll also ask them to choose one of their products (or collections) and pair it with a Hygge & West paper. One of the most fascinating things about wallpaper is how differently people interpret the same pattern, and how simply pairing a paper with a certain object can so drastically change how both the product and the paper are perceived. We hope you enjoy this fun little experiment as much as we do!
When we initially conceived of this series, the very first name that came to mind was Tina Frey. Her hand-sculpted objects, tablewares, and decorative accessories are fresh and modern, while still emanating an inherent warmth and undeniably tactile quality. These instant heirlooms feel perfectly at home in nearly any environment, and have been favorite parts of our personal collections for quite some time. See which product and paper Tina paired and read her interview below, and then head over to her shop to browse her latest collections (which include copper and brass!).
Hygge & West: What inspires the organic lines and breezy color palettes of your work?
Tina Frey: I find the softer, organic lines very soothing and at one with nature. I live in San Francisco and I really enjoy being near the ocean. When I walk along some beaches, I see rocks that have been tumbled by the sea and I like the smoothness and irregularity of the shapes. I find this very inspiring. The colors in my collection change each season and are inspired by what I see in nature and in different cities when I travel.
H&W: What drew you to clay as a medium and hand-sculpting as an art form? Why do you prefer hand-sculpting over other methods?
TF: I find working with clay the easiest way for me to translate the irregular and smooth forms into a three-dimensional object. It's fun to see the shapes being transformed by my hands; I find this very satisfying. Sometimes when I envision something, it's best for me to be in the studio and work with the clay to achieve the final object. I also like to draw, but ultimately, the best way to feel the three-dimensional form is to sculpt it.
H&W: What other mediums have you explored, and how do they differ from each other? What unique qualities do they bring to your work?
TF: I have been exploring with paper, textiles, and metals, such as brass, stainless steel, and copper-plated brass. For paper and textiles, it was interesting to translate the photos of the colorful products into the two-dimensional print form for a flat surface. I started incorporating the metals into the collection a couple years ago, since I wanted to see how the hard metal could be formed to achieve a soft organic look like they were also hand sculpted. This was quite an interesting process to explore, since metal is such a hard material. As a result, you will see the same DNA in the metal designs as the sculpted resin pieces.
H&W: Why is sustainability and environmental/social responsibility so important to you? In what ways does it influence your work and your business?
TF: Being environmentally responsible and sustainable is definitely important. Our pieces are completely handmade and we believe that this is more respectful of the environment since it is not utilizing energy to create the items themselves. It's also nice to see production being focused on working with your hands, which results in slight irregularities between each object due to the handmade nature. We are also working on a recycled resin collection, too, since it is important to make something beautiful from something that is no longer useful.
H&W: Tell us a bit about the specific product(s) you chose for your wallpaper pairing, and the wallpaper you paired it with.
TF: I like the Lapin Collection, which is sculpted to resemble the rabbit ears on the round dome lids. I think rabbits are adorable, and they inspired me when I was creating the piece. I had a lot of fun sculpting ears that reminded me of the pet rabbit I had when I was young.
I chose Otomi in Navy because the blue matches the cobalt blue colored Lapin Collection. The animals of the wallpaper also resemble the silhouette of the rabbit ears on the dome.
H&W: Hygge is all about creating comfort and finding coziness in life's small moments and everyday rituals. How do you find or create hygge in your life?
TF: I think one of the greatest joys is sharing a meal with friends and family. Having a serving piece that is beautiful to present your food is a lovely way to share the coziness around the table.
filed under: Product + Paper