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Designer Spotlight

Designer Spotlight: Amelia

While most of you probably have something of an idea about our house line Amelia and the namesake shop owner, we decided to go ahead and interview our own in-house designer Amelia Blakeman. 

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How did you come to be a designer/maker? 

I've always made things, even as a kid I was making tiny creatures out of oven bake clay, trying to weave together pine needles to make the best roof for my miniature lean-to, and sewing rudimentary people shaped stuffed animals with my Grandma.

My first consistent foray into apparel started when I was 17. I learned to screen print at a workshop during this feminist festival in Denver, where I grew up, and then I wanted to print on everything. The number of shirts and bags and dresses I put anatomical hearts and obscure sea life on is kind of mind boggling. I kept on with the printing for a handful of years and eventually started selling my work at craft shows like the original Crafty Wonderland back at the Doug Fir. 

As you do, I got older and my style changed and suddenly I didn't really wear t-shirts anymore and I wanted to make clothing I would actually wear. Thus began the era of dress making. 

Where do you find inspiration? Do you have a method or process of finding inspiration?

I find inspiration in all kinds of random places: movie wardrobes, an intriguing part of some thrifted clothing, or even just a need I see in my own wardrobe. Often times I'll end up just sketching a thousand different ideas and seeing how they evolve.  

Sometimes I like to design without the shop in mind. Its wonderful to refresh my creativity by creating something based on non-clothing subjects like a good mineral specimen, a perfume I'm really attracted to, or an interesting animal. 

What's your favorite thing you've created so far? 

This is a hard question! I'm currently really into the dramatic caftans I've been making and am just finishing up a new type of wrap dress that I think is going to be awesome. The Starlet dress was one of my first dresses and it's remained a classic that I turn to again and again. 

Coco Madrid in the Some Velvet Morning Caftan - coming soon in 2016

Hailey in the original Starlet Sparkler dress. 

Hailey in the original Starlet Sparkler dress. 

Do you have any plans for where your line is going in the future? Any special projects in the works?

In the future I hope my line continues to grow and develop organically the way it has been. I'd love to get my work out into other stores in the world again, but for now I'm more than content with my own little corner of the empire over here on Alberta. 

What are your other passions or projects in life?

I'm really into my pets (as anybody who has Instagram or has met me will know). I get so much joy from hanging out with them. I enjoy reading a lot, doing creative projects with friends (oh, you're turning your house into a swamp for Halloween? I'll make some paper mache monsters,) and trying out new projects. My most recent experiments have been small clay sculptures, biscuit quilting, and aquarium gardening. 

 Is there anything you'd like to add? 

I am so grateful that I'm able to be doing this. It's thanks to all of our wonderful customers, supportive friends, family, and my great team! I hope to be able to keep making dresses and getting them onto people's bodies for years and years to come. 

Amelia and Bambi headed to work.

Amelia and Bambi headed to work.

Designer Spotlight

Designer Spotlight: Floss Gloss

Today's Designer Spotlight is on the masterminds behind Floss Gloss Pro Nail Lacquer. Aretha Sack and Janine Lee founded Floss Gloss (for nails that flossed and glossed like a boss!) in 2009. You've undoubtedly seen their eye catching colors on digits around town, but let's learn more about the lady bosses behind the polish. 

Photo by Jenny Hannah Roche

Photo by Jenny Hannah Roche

How did you come to be a designer/maker? 

Aretha: I came out making things.

Janine:  I always wanted to create.  And change or alter things- make it better- be better.

Janine and Aretha,   © Floss Gloss Ltd 

Janine and Aretha,  © Floss Gloss Ltd 

Where do you find inspiration? Do you have a method or process of finding inspiration?

Aretha: Good times, bad times, music a lot.  No method it sure would be nice if I did.

Janine: I find inspiration in pop culture, history, music, art, photographs, like everything basically.  As far as sourcing or my method: lots of music and the internet is just a mecca of imagery.

What's your favorite thing you've created so far? 

Aretha: Floss Gloss!  And within that I'd say Pony and Blood Suede and Tears colors and their photoshoots.

Janine: #1 Floss Gloss Ltd! Ultimate job and creative outlet!

Blood, Suede, and Tears Look Book by Janine and Aretha,   © Floss Gloss Ltd   

Blood, Suede, and Tears Look Book by Janine and Aretha,  © Floss Gloss Ltd  

Do you have any plans for where your line is going in the future? Any special projects in the works?

Aretha: Tons of projects in the works I'm really excited about, we definitely plan to expand our color range and maybe some other surprises!

Janine: OMG! Tons of new stuff in the works for 2015 - very exciting.  We have some amazing collabs coming up. 

What are your other passions or projects in life?

Aretha: All i really care about is music, swimming and color.  I have a thing for rap and a crappy soundcloud but I'm not serious about that.  Had a girlband with Erika Osterhaut back when I lived in Oakland but I moved and no longer have access to free drums so that fell apart.

Janine: I love to cook!  Especially bake- cakes, cookies and pies.  Life projects include so many things.  I literally want to do everything while I'm alive.

All the Fixin's Collection: Biscuits. Lookbook by Janine and Aretha,   © Floss Gloss Ltd 

All the Fixin's Collection: Biscuits. Lookbook by Janine and Aretha,  © Floss Gloss Ltd 

Are there any particular steps in your creative process that you enjoy most? 

Aretha: Definitely; trying the color for the first time is always great and especially straight from manufacturing all ready for sale is fun.  Photo shoots and Janine and I color name brainstorming sessions are THE best!

Janine: The build up to a new collection launch.  I love Floss Gloss photo shoots more than anything.  The ultimate day of creative indulgence and finally realizing this vision that you've been working on for months.  

If you weren't doing this, what do you think you'd be doing? What would you want to do? 

Aretha: I think I'd be still waiting tables in some hell hole but I'd really wanna be obvi a rockstar or rapstar, i mean your asking haha!

Janine: Can't be sure but probably bartending.  Maybe at a label designing.  I'd want to be doing Floss Gloss.

What is your work soundtrack?

Aretha: Rap, rock, with an emphasis on Seals & Croft summer breeze, master p, pentagram, mariah carey,heart, three six mafia, zz top, Swishahouse, mac dre, Janine and I always on top of that and are all over the map....within reason.

Janine: A variety of Rap, Soul, Rock, Girl Groups, Johnny Cash, its an eclectic space.

Can you tell us about your work space? What is your ideal work environment? 

Aretha: Standing desks, ventilation, oooh a stationary bike!

Janine: Currently in my apartment in our 'second bedroom' a.k.a. the Floss Gloss Office.  Ideal workspace ~ stationary bikes, or standing walking desks, Facebook cafeteria- def! 

Anything you'd like to add? 

Janine: You only live once!



Designer Spotlight

Designer Spotlight: Smoke Perfume

Hot on the tail of the release of her newest scent, Ritual, Kathleen Currie joins us to talk about her path to being the creator behind Smoke Perfume

All smoke perfumes are packaged in handmade prism shaped vessels made from reclaimed wood.

All smoke perfumes are packaged in handmade prism shaped vessels made from reclaimed wood.

1. How did you come to be a designer/maker? 

I've always been a creative person, and have dabbled in the arts my entire life.  Everything from painting, to writing, to cooking.  I used to do encaustic collage in college, and that was the first time I started thinking about pursuing art in a serious way, and really scheduling the time to work everyday.  I gave it up to go to massage school.  After massage school, I was experimenting with essential oil blends, and stumbled upon a blend that would become the signature scent in my fragrance company.  This was in 2009, and I just decided to go for it full-on and produce and launch my own company (which launched in 2013).

Kathleen Currie with the original Smoke Perfume

Kathleen Currie with the original Smoke Perfume

2. Where do you find inspiration? Do you have a method or process of finding inspiration?

I find inspiration from traveling, as well as from being in nature.  Getting away from my every day life and routine and seeing the world from a new perspective always gets the creative juices flowing.  

3. What's your favorite thing you've created so far? 

I'll always have a soft spot for Smoke, the original fragrance in my line!  I also have fond memories of my days working with ceramics, and there are some pretty memorable meals I've created that I've loved sharing with people.  Cooking is my favorite way to be spontaneously creative, and I never take it too seriously (which is the death of creativity!). 

4. Do you have any plans for where your line is going in the future? Any special projects in the works?

Yes!  I am in the process of launching the brand in the UK!  Other than that I always want the brand to keep growing, new scents, new design, new markets.  

5. What are your other passions or projects in life?

I am studying herbalism right now, and that has been really inspiring and exciting lately!  Otherwise, I love to travel.  

6. Are there any particular steps in your creative process that you enjoy most? 

I enjoy the very beginning moments...when the idea hits, and starts to take form.  Whether it's a new scent, product design, or even marketing blurb.  Turning those new ideas over in my head, before the hard work of trial and error is very exciting.  

7. If you weren't doing this, what do you think you'd be doing? What would you want to do? 

I would probably have delved deeper into the healing arts.  My work as a massage therapist is something I have loved, and I've considered going to rolfing school or acupuncture school.

8. What is your work soundtrack?

Depends on my mood.  I'll put on Pandora or Spotify, and it's anything from electronic to Bon Iver.  I also really enjoy listening to podcasts...I like On Being and Tara Brach has some beautiful Buddhist teachings, and the most soothing voice!  

9. Can you tell us about your work space? What is your ideal work environment? 

I work in the lower floor of my best friends house!  It is spacious, but a little funky (unfinished wood walls, etc.).  It opens out to a backyard, and we just put in an herb and veggie garden!  It's four blocks from my house, and my work day often ends with wine on the front porch with my bestie! 

10. Is there anything you'd like to add? 

 Thanks for the fun questions:)

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Congratulations on the launch of Ritual, Kathleen! 

All photos courtesy of Smoke Perfume and Kathleen Currie

All photos courtesy of Smoke Perfume and Kathleen Currie


Designer Spotlight

Designer Spotlight: ERS Creative

Here at Amelia we only carry well made products made in the U.S. We carefully select the designers and products for our curated collection; researching and getting to know the brands we carry is an integral part of our process. In our new series, Designer Spotlight, we'd like to share with you a little more about the designers behind the beautiful products in our store. 

For our first Designer Spotlight we'd like to introduce ERS Creative, the whimsical, handcrafted jewelry line from the heart and hands of Eilen R. Stewart. 

Born in a small town outside of Moscow, Russia, and raised in Santa Monica, California, Eilen draws her inspiration from her roots and environment. 

Each ERS Creative piece is carefully designed and handcrafted using the highest quality materials and supplies including bronze, sterling silver, and gem stones. Each piece gets the individual attention that only a true craftsman can guarantee.

Eilen is currently living in Los Angeles, surrounded with her most important inspiration: the bustle of the metropolitan city, the natural beauty of her small garden and the childhood mementos of whimsical critters that adorn her studio.

We asked her a few questions to better get to know her, her inspiration, and her process. 

How did you come to be a designer/maker? 

I have always had 'itchy hands' I have to put them to good use, or they'll put themselves to a destructive one. So I have always been 'crafty' and as I grew up I became 'artsy'. I went to school for Ceramics, but fell in love with metal as well. As I struggled to find my place in the world, I found people really responded to jewelry I made, and it made me feel wonderful! One day my husband looked at me frantically searching for a new 'real' job and said: 'I don't understand: You're going to make this stuff anyway, why don't you just do it for a living?' And that was it! ERS Creative was born.

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Where do you find inspiration? Do you have a method or process of finding inspiration?

I love beautiful things. It's so cliche, but I do!! I love how pretty the trees in the fall are and how fluffy foxes and bunnies are. I love how funny pugs are and how serious wolves are. I love the Renaissance and I love the Baroque even more. And the more I see these things, the more I have to surround myself with this beauty. If I can't live as an enchanted fairy princess in a gorgeous castle in the woods where the squirrels sing with me, then I'll at least make a small portion of it in my studio!

What's your favorite thing you've created so far?

I'm super excited about the new Snail!!! It was a total fluke of a piece, I just always made these spiral shells as demo pieces in the few classes I still teach and everyone loves them. And then it hit me, I make a body and it's a full snail, not just a dead shell!! He's also one of the only ones (besides the bees) that has a full body, so he's extra special.

Do you have any plans for where your line is going in the future? Any special projects in the works?

I wish I had that sort of foresight, that way maybe I wouldn't panic every other day about the viability of this endeavor... But I also think it's the not knowing that keeps me on my toes and keeps me limber as a designer. I'm never fully sure, never truly done with something, always, always trying something new.

What are your other passions or projects in life?

I love to garden, love my dogs (chihuahuas named Denzel Washington and Niles Crane), love going to museums and of course love my husband who patiently supports the insanity of running your own small business.

Are there any particular steps in your creative process that you enjoy most? 

I looooove to experiment. As a child of two scientists, nothing thrills me more than setting up an experiment, will it work, will it blow up in my face, will it fall apart? Every time I cast a tree full of work, I include something I haven't tried before to see if it 'works.'

If you weren't doing this, what do you think you'd be doing? What would you want to do? 

This. This is what I would be doing. I've had a desk job before and I came home every night and still 'made stuff.' Even now, I can spend 10 hours at the studio cleaning, grinding, sawing, literally working my hands to blood and blisters, and I'll come home, put on a bunch of band aids and pick up my knitting or some other craft, while I watch TV and 'decompress.'

What is your work soundtrack?

I accidentally found a station on Pandora that plays what I can only describe as 'instrumental rock,' right now 2Cellos is on with a cover of the 1984 song (not sure the actual name...) and I'm in heaven!

Can you tell us about your work space? What is your ideal work environment? 

After working in my kitchen, my garage, my friend's extra bedroom and many other inappropriate spaces, I now work in an amazing turn of the century building in the heart of Down Town LA Jewelry District. I have the view of the whole downtown from my window, I can walk to any supplier I need and despite being on the 10th floor, hummingbirds come to the geraniums that are on my window sill. I can't really wish for anything better! Except a pet fox and maybe AC once in a while...