Meet Niamh

Hey! My name is Niamh - It's pronounced Neev, it's Irish and it means radiant and bright.

unnamed.jpg

I am Vartan's newest employee, working on production and general assistance, while learning and loving the process.

I was born in Dublin, Ireland in August 1991.

(Jump forward 23 years and 10 months)
June 2015 – I graduated college with a BA in Visual Communication Design from IADT, Dublin.
August 2015 – I moved to San Francisco on an adventure.
October 2015 – My adventure now includes Vartan! How exciting!

Working with my hands and being creative is my main interest. The opportunity to work with Carly on the prepping, dying of fabrics and sewing is amazing to me. Having spent most of my previous design experience in graphic design, it's a really nice progression to move into textile design. I'm always looking for new and exciting projects to get into and learn from. Creative expression and happy accidents that occur during the dying and printing process makes working with fabrics a truly unique experience.

Other things that I like include colorful illustrations, RnB, and swimming in the sea. Traveling is also a huge part of my life. I feel so blessed to be able to call San Francisco my home for the next year!

 

Ceramic Curiosity: VRUWINK

“VRUWINK is a curated way of life rooted in the belief there should be no separation of life and art.”

Nicola Vruwink is the mind behind the magic ceramics line VRUWINK. Born in a small town in Iowa, Nicola has now lived in L.A. for 12 years. She and Mouse, her rescued street savvy pup, live in Echo Park in a century-old house with adjacent studio. Having previously studied at the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina, she recently returned there for a two-month ceramic intensive. Currently, Nicola is the Director of Recruitment at Art Center College of Design and helps students prepare and perfect their portfolios. She will be at the upcoming West Coast Craft Fair - be sure to stop in!

An Interview with Nicola Vruwink

Let's start with a little background. How did you end up in ceramics?

NV: It’s in my blood. My dad is an artist and has an MFA in ceramics. I grew up with ceramics, eating off of handmade plates and drinking from handmade mugs. I even used to accompany him to “pot sales” throughout the Midwest…he wasn’t a very good salesman and let’s just say, the apple definitely did not fall far from the tree as now I participate in various craft sales/events and not always the best at peddling my wares!

My dad is/was my first instructor and mentor learning much of what I know from him. I have literally been making since quite small, early on my Christmas gifts were all handmade and I used to host sales with my best friend Dori Miller (we also nearly set the house on fire experimenting with making candles!).

I didn’t study art in college but soon after graduation it became apparent that it was my calling and I pursued an MFA, first studying in a program at the University of Iowa and continuing on to the University of Washington in Seattle. I have been exhibiting since graduation and though my work has explored many different materials, consistent throughout is a dedication to the craft and a love for the act of making. I did not specifically study ceramics but at the University of Washington I was exposed to an amazing ceramics program and was a teaching assistant for many amazing artists…Akio Takamori, Jamie Walker, Jeffrey Mitchell…I am still friends with other ceramic artists I met back there.

Currently ceramics is my number-one crush. There are plans for work in other materials but for now, my main focus is working with clay. I find it the perfect material to create sculptural forms that may also serve a function and see it as an opportunity to insert sculpture/art into our day to day lives.

Your works are bold and odd -- and let's not forget incredible -- where on earth do you come up with these ideas?

NV: Are they odd? I suppose they are…but that may just be a reflection of me and my monkey brains! The craft is also critical, so monkey brains in a well made object!

The studio is my home and I feel I am crafting characters to keep me company, creating my own little stories and worlds to entertain. I really strive to create objects that bring joy, there are far too many challenges in life and this world and I really want to provide a little respite.

Would you (kindly and briefly) take us through your creative-thinking process?

NV: My number one mantra is never stop making. Even when I feel out of ideas, I still engage with materials. I also welcome mistakes or what may seem like failures. Things that do not turn out as planned push you to reconsider or recontextualize. Humor is always important too. I take what I do very seriously, I do not take myself too seriously and hope that what I make can bring a little humor, a smile into someone’s life.

What single item of your creation is your absolute favorite -- and of course, why?

NV: Gosh, that’s like choosing a favorite child! It shifts, usually it is what I am currently working on but I am quite fond of the squiggle vases with the black stripes and the curvy vases. For a while, my doodle necklace was a constant accessory and it was really refreshing to make the doodle pieces. I am definitely channeling my teenage self and doodles from my notes.

The Doodle Necklace

The Doodle Necklace

Bonus: If we shuffled through your music collection, what artists are we likely to find?

David Bowie and Wilco tie as number ones, quickly followed by Neko Case, Lucinda Williams, The Rolling Stones, Beck, Nina Simon, Luna/Galaxy 500, the Replacements, Gillian Welch, Yo La Tengo….this really could go on forever…music really is my first love and served as an escape during my youth (I played the trumpet throughout high school and actually went to band camp). Violent Femmes made me a huge odd ball in high school, and I have been a Wilco fan since the Uncle Tupelo days.

I love the incarnation of any passion made real and music is such a venue for experiencing just this.

If you check out my other work at www.nicolavruwink.com you will find my tribute to music, particularly music from the 80’s in the form of crocheted cassette tapes, a series I competed a few years ago and still make from time to time.

Thank you Nicola! May you and your work continue to be absolutely amazing.

All images are used with permission from Nicola, taken from her tumblr page: http://vruwink.tumblr.com/


 

 

 

Cohesive Construction - Dinner Napkin Sets

                                                                     

                                                                     

Our dinner napkins come in bold shades and sets of four - and they are, indeed a true set.

                                                                                       

                                                                                       

The strategic creation process begins with one single piece of linen. After the hand-dyeing and drying is complete, the four napkins are cut from this single piece of cloth, resulting in a start-to-finish genuine set.

                                                                                     

                                                                                     

No random mixing and matching ‘round here! We’re passionate about quality, harmony, and consistency.

                                                                                                  

                                                                                                  

See our full line here

New Stockist: Park and Pond - The Yard at Mission Rock

We're always stoked about our new stockists. This one, however, is particularly exciting, as it coincides with Park and Pond's grand opening at its new location. Founded by sisters Jessica and Abbey Herman, the shop exclusively carries goods created within a 100-mile radius of San Francisco, true to their slogan: "Goods from Near." Find our stuff - yay! - alongside other quality items such as stationery, home goods, and jewelry. 

Don't miss the grand opening this Saturday, September the 5th!

Park and Pond

The Yard at Mission Rock (3rd St. & Terry A Francois Blvd.)

San Francisco, CA

Visit Website  

courtesy of Park and Pond website

courtesy of Park and Pond website

New Stockist: Salvage Garden - San Francisco at The Hall

We love this spot - and the clever nod to the 90s band Savage Garden (don't try to tell us you don't remember Truly Madly Deeply!). Owned by Matthew Linzer, Salvage Garden is "rooted in renewal" as the designer upcycles random materials to make amazing pots and such specifically for succulent plants. Salvage Garden also offers other uniquely handcrafted wares... now including ours. We're so excited!

Salvage Garden

1028 Market Street

San Francisco, CA

Visit Website

 

   

Our napkins and sachets in Salvage Garden, alongside Linzer's signature succulents - photo courtesy of Salvage Garden

Our napkins and sachets in Salvage Garden, alongside Linzer's signature succulents - photo courtesy of Salvage Garden

Hand Rolled Hems - Doesn't Get Any Smoother

The hand-rolled stitched hem is a traditional method which results in a featherweight and delicately smooth finish.

 

That’s why we use this hem for each and every pocket square created in our San Francisco studio. One pocket square requires roughly 20 minutes of stitching... not to mention the time spent carefully cutting, dyeing, and pressing -- the essentials to achieving that perfect finish.

                       Hermes knows hand-rolled is where it's at.                             

New Stockist: Industrious Life Store - San Francisco

"Inspired design for thoughtful living. Bringing you useful and well-made items, both new and vintage, that reflect the creativity and hard work of the people who made them." That's how Industrious Life describes their store -- and we couldn't agree more. The shop has been an inspiration for us, and we are ecstatic that our wares will sit on the shelves alongside their beautiful selection!

Industrious Life 

1095 Tennessee Street

San Francisco, CA

Visit Website

Nina Simone, the high priestess of Soul

We've really been feeling the Nina Simone as of late. A strong, beautiful woman with immense talent and ambition, Simone remains an incredibly inspiring figure. 

Add a little Nina to your day...

Nina Simone, 1933 - 2003 

image courtesy of Think Pynk

image courtesy of Think Pynk

"Mississippi Goddam:"

courtesy of Nina Simone, http://www.ninasimone.com

courtesy of Nina Simone, http://www.ninasimone.com

"How it Feels to Be Free:"

courtesy of Nina Simone, http://www.ninasimone.com

courtesy of Nina Simone, http://www.ninasimone.com

courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine

courtesy of Rolling Stone Magazine

"Ain't Got No, I Got Life:"

courtesy of BET, Black Entertainment Television

courtesy of BET, Black Entertainment Television

Ready to Renegade

It's Here...

#RenegadeCraftFair #RenegadeSF

                                                                                                                     courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair 

                                                                                                                     courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair 

Vartan is ecstatic for our Renegade Craft Fair debut this month. 500 local makers of all mediums (where else might you find hand-dyed pocket squares alongside Bear Naked granola and The Poetry Store?) will display and sell their various wares this year at Fort Mason.

                                                                                                                  courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair 

                                                                                                                  courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair 

Don’t miss the Vartan booth, next door to Wood Thumb, and a chance at winning some amazing giveaways...

We’ll see you there!

                                                                                                                   courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair 

                                                                                                                   courtesy of Renegade Craft Fair 

Meet Sophie

 Hello!

My name is Sophie, and I am a born and raised Californian, happily living in San Francisco for almost 4 years now. My days at Vartan are spent helping out with all varieties of office support, as well as assisting with  production in the studio.

I am a food enthusiast, and I take full advantage of the plethora of fantastic eateries throughout the Bay Area. I am incredibly punny, especially to myself, and often laugh so hard at my own jokes that I begin to tear up. I have an incredible passion for music and almost always have something playing, regardless of where I am. Going to concerts is my favorite pastime, and I have, on occasion, been to as many as 10 shows in one month. Over the past month, I have been listening the most to Tame Impala, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Kelela, Lo-Fang, and Feist, to name a few. Some of my all-time favorite shows (out of many!) would include Paul McCartney, Jurassic Five, Deer Tick, Tame Impala, Toro Y Moi, and Queens of the Stone Age.

I love reading, namely within the genres of sci-fi, psychology, and comedic memoirs (suggestions: any book written by Douglas Adams, Drunk Tank Pink by Adam Alter, and Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs) and like to spend any sunny afternoons lounging at the park with a good book. You may even see me biking through Golden Gate park or in the crowd at the next concert you attend!

 

McCall's Pattern Behavior, Part 1

Pattern Behavior, a spoof of old McCall's sewing pattern covers, is the hilarious work of Natalie Kossar (@nataliekossar). Here are a few of her funnies that left us in stitches.

See more at http://mccallspatternbehavior.tumblr.com/.

    Say it   I don’t want to   Sayyy itttt   *sigh*  AHOY

 

Say it

I don’t want to

Sayyy itttt

*sigh*

AHOY

   We’ll have two vodka sprites   And a real big lady if you’ve got one   God Rick be cool

 

We’ll have two vodka sprites

And a real big lady if you’ve got one

God Rick be cool

   Don’t worry Rick  We’ll find you someone  There’s gotta be a real big lady somewhere

 

Don’t worry Rick

We’ll find you someone

There’s gotta be a real big lady somewhere

   Oh man  Gil got a black friend   I told you we needed a black friend

 

Oh man

Gil got a black friend

I told you we needed a black friend

   I mean I’m happy to be a bridesmaid  I just  Which one of you is getting married today

 

I mean I’m happy to be a bridesmaid

I just

Which one of you is getting married today

   Sharon  Can I get you a chair 

 

Sharon

Can I get you a chair 

   Come on Blair   Do you want to pledge Chi Omega or not

 

Come on Blair 

Do you want to pledge Chi Omega or not

   You’re just a city boy  Your pants don’t even go in your shoes  Heh city boy  You’re from the city

 

You’re just a city boy

Your pants don’t even go in your shoes

Heh city boy

You’re from the city

   cultural what  lol  what even is appropriation

 

cultural what

lol

what even is appropriation

   I just love your dress   Oh uh   What’s it chenille or    Okay yeah I guess you can touch it

 

I just love your dress

Oh uh

What’s it chenille or 

Okay yeah I guess you can touch it

   Come on Gwen dance  It’s a girl party   GIRL PARTY GWEN   Gwennnn  Are you even a girl

 

Come on Gwen dance

It’s a girl party

GIRL PARTY GWEN

Gwennnn

Are you even a girl

   Ahhhhhh  Yep  Good day to kill a horse

 

Ahhhhhh

Yep

Good day to kill a horse

   Kelly  There’s literally only one rule to Hat Club

 

Kelly

There’s literally only one rule to Hat Club

   No joke today  These just look like the kids from Home Improvement

 

No joke today

These just look like the kids from Home Improvement

Meet Heather

Hi there!

I’m Heather, and it’s nice to meet you.  

My work with Vartan revolves around the writing, as a copyeditor for the lovely Carly and her company’s website. I only know that Carly is lovely thanks to Skype, as we’ve actually never met in person. It was a fun little twist when my oldest friend moved to San Francisco, calling me one day after a brunch where she’d met Carly, who incidentally needed someone for editing and content copy for her new business. My friend introduced us via email and it turns out we work pretty well together, even from a distance. See, I’m over here in Kansas City -- which, in case you didn’t know, is more than a few miles from California.

I’m the senior writer for Squeezebox Kansas City, a contributor for other local publications, and freelance varying projects, like resume editing and admin for a lobbyist group. I have a crazy beautiful kiddo with my dear hubs, three cats, and a fervor for vintage, history, strong coffee, Alt J, and the Oxford comma.

It’s been a pleasure.

Go Royals! 

 

New Stockist : Bonhomie - Nob Hill

Bonhomie, by Liesl Southerland, is part of Molte Cose & Belle Cose. Bonhomie is a true San Francisco gem. This fantastic collection showcases a variety of quality vintage pieces paired with modern locally-made accessories, from rustic side tables to hand-hammered silver jewelry.

Bonhomie

2044 Polk St

San Francisco, CA  

Visit Website