As I get older, one of the things I find myself resolving is to be more intentional about the things that I buy for my home and for my wardrobe. It's becoming more important to me to buy for quality over quantity, to consider how long the product will last, and to know the story behind the product. It has also been enlightening to learn about the ethical issues that surround products and to decide to try to support ethically made products.
I can't always buy this way due to practical financial constraints, and I appreciate cost efficient options like anyone else, but it's true that I tend to value a product more when know the story behind how it was made, and take more pride in having these items in my home. If you've been wanting to find out more about supporting artists and buying intentionally for your home, I want to share some of my favorite sources that I've been loving these days.
This is only a small sampling of the many wonderful makers out there. I would recommend doing research and being on the lookout for these types of products to put on your wish lists. Remember, patience is key when it comes to the resolution of supporting artists and designers because it requires time to do the research and the willingness to save up the money for the more costly items. But I think you will find that it is worth it once you start incorporating one or two things into your home, and I guarantee that you will find yourself taking more care in maintaining and showing off these items.
Ariele Alasko (above) is a furniture maker and woodworker living in Brooklyn, NY. She uses strips of wood from old walls of hundred year-old buildings, cleans it and uses the different colored woods to create beautiful patterns in her work. I am dying to have one of these tables.
Fort Standard is a design studio committed to making long lasting and functional designs. They act as their own manufacturer, which allows them to yield "smarter products that exemplify an understanding of materials and a balance between form and function." These glass vessels are sealed with cork stoppers and hardwood handles, a combination of natural elements that make for a beautiful piece.
Plain and Simple Home has a collection of home goods from different brands and makers, and their goal is to bring you items which are "well made, useful and beautiful in their simplicity." This bathmat from Fog and Linen is made from 100% linen and does the job of appearing both luxurious and simple.
Le Vestiaire de Jeanne started as a clothing maker and declares that they make all their items in France with the "greatest respect for their environment as possible." In 2010, they launched VDJ Home to include things like table linens, curtains and cushions. Their large stripes linen cloth is versatile as it can be used as a tablecloth, curtain, or blanket.
In Bed's concept is to produce things related to life surrounding our bed, and they have gorgeous linen bedding. I particularly love their wood saucer and egg cup and would eat breakfast off of these everyday.
Fort Makers is a collective of artists who have the vision of creating functional and interactive art. This light made into a triangle shape made of cherry wood would be a beautiful geometric addition to any room.
Paper and Clay is owned by Brit McDaniel in Memphis, Tennessee, and she creates lovely pieces with usability in mind. She says that she is influenced by both Scandinavian and American Mid-Century design, and it shows in simple and functional pieces like this teapot.
Maryanne Moodie makes woven tapestries, drawing from her background in art, styling, fashion and costume. She teaches a weaving class, but also takes custom orders, if you're interested in having one of her pieces of your own.
Oeuf, based in Brooklyn, believes in fair trade and has a relationship with a women's cooperative in Bolivia. Their products respect both the artisans and the environment. They make adorable clothes for kids, but they also have sleek pieces like the Mini Library which would make a great addition to a nursery to store books, toys and dolls.
Brooklyn Butcher Blocks: Nils Wessell is a woodworker and makes everything from custom cutting boards to countertops and resurfacing surfaces. I use online recipes all the time and this cutting board with a tablet insert would definitely come in handy while I cook.
For even more sources, here are two more sites that are great places to start to get acquainted with more artists, makers and designers:
1) Of A Kind is a company that aims to support up and coming designers and to share their story. They believe that knowing that there is a story behind each product enhances the enjoyment and value of the product. Their site features mostly clothing and accessories, but they also occasionally share home products that are worth saving for.
2) IFJ Holdings, LTD is a multi-national joint venture whose mission is to promote beautiful Japanese products and share the stories of Japanese artists and makers. Their website is a collection of products and artists that is well worth your time.