No argument here - a bright blotch of color and pattern tied up Audrey Hepburn style is a great little summer accessory. But, honey, I think what you're referring to is called a bandana! Lucky for you, Beyond Her has several to choose from, and they're not the mass produced, made in China versions found in chain stores everywhere. They're pre-washed, hand-dyed 100% cotton, limited edition "neck scarves" that will keep you looking good all through summer - and help you on the dusty trail besides!
Gotta love a feature about you and your work. This one is from Houston Makerspace, an ambitious idea now taking root here in town. Envisioned as a collective space where resources, equipment and talent are shared, this soon-to-be-here venue sounds like a little bit of heaven. See more on the website.
In the meantime, here's a snazzy little article Marisa Brodie put together about Her:
Meet Your Maker Monday: Paule Hewlett of Beyond Her
November 18, 2013
Paule Hewlett is the artist behind Beyond Her, an independent design company with a modern line of quality products and fashion accessories. Using natural and heritage materials, Paule silkscreens her flora and fauna ink illustrations onto her textiles and paper products. We love that Beyond Her's products are eco-friendly and made to replace disposable items like napkins, bags and even office supplies.
Read more . .. here
It wasn't too long after Beyond Her was born that I started hearing the phrase "indie design." I was grateful, because I'd been wondering how to describe my new community. This seemed to sum it up: like indie films, indie design existed outside of the normal go-to-market channels. Most of us struggled to find suppliers, materials, and supporting artisans that could help our companies grow.
Over the years that has changed. More and more "makers" have emerged, making more and more interesting creative products.
As with Beyond Her, some of the items are not precisely "hand-made," but there is a distinct design, a story behind the manufacturing process, and a vision that people intrinsically seem to appreciate.
Show & Tell
If you are an artisan today, you have lots of options in terms of getting your products in front of viewers. Are they effective? Let's just say that Etsy, the hands-down winner of online handmade portals, sold $100.9 million of goods were sold (after refunds and cancellations) in July alone. That's a lot of DIY!
So I was happy to read this recent article in Forbes magazine. "How the Maker Movement is Reinventing Retail" discusses the growth of Etsy, but also the effect of companies like Shapeways, an online 3D printer that allows anyone to cheaply manufacture their own designs, either to sell or for their own personal use
Here's what this means to me: In an odd sort of way, we are going through another industrial revolution. We are using machines, not to stamp out millions of identical products, but to add diversity and choices, as opposed to just accepting what giant retailers tell us we should like.
So. even for indie designers, technology has paid off, big time. And creativity is a democracy.
This is what makers live to see -- their work in action.
And OMG - look at this note from a kindred-spirit customer who loves the sound of cicadas:
"I just wanted to let you know how much I appreciate that you made something that was not only so unique, but also so sturdy and very well crafted. I try not to carry tons of heavy stuff, but (see attached) I can take it with me to the farmer's market or anywhere else I go and it's pretty much the only bag I need.
"I had debated buying it, because I'm a mom, and mom's spend all their money on the kids and the family and the house, for the most part... but there was just something about this when I saw the pic of it the first time that told me, "That's MINE!" :)
"Thanks again for this. It's more than a bag to me. It's me carrying something special to me around, every day, and it reminds me of so many happy things."
It's a good day for Beyond Her. Smile.
I read the New York Times almost every day online, but I must admit I have a bit of a routine -- I read the same sections, in almost the same order -- and I definitely have to set a time limit. This is literally against every rule for living creatively. So, admittedly, I may miss some things.
Someone I spoke to recently (who? can't remember) suggested that he always found something interesting by gleaning the "Most E-Mailed" list that they publish every day.
Sure enough, the first time I tried it, I found a fascinating article about a 100-year-old brand, L.C. King Manufacturing Co. in Bristol, Tennessee, a struggling clothing factory that has recently, and almost unknowingly, become a favorite supplier among hipsters and Japanese designers.
For all these years, L.C. King has produced Pointer Brand, its own line of work and hunting clothing and accessories, but now they're creating private label jeans and jackets, right there in their 100-year-old factory. Clients talk about the "zen" of the place as well as the high quality of the products. There's a story there.
As someone who has tried hard to buy US-made goods -- everything from dish towels to calendar frames -- this "discovery" is fantastic news.
I can't tell you how disheartening it was to look up global producers of cotton textiles and see how many American companies have gone out of business in the last few years. (For the full story, read "The Travels of a Tee Shirt in a Global Economy, by Peter Rivoli, 2008).
And I will say that when I did find an American (usually family-owned) supplier, our relationship was instantly warm, friendly and flexible. We got each other. I want more of those.
The article also referred to a fantastic website directory of all American-made goods: Maker's Row. Which means that now I at least have contacts to research for my own small minimums and quirky demands, something I just didn't have before.
Thank you NY Times (and the anonymous person who suggested this diversion) for opening my eyes!
Our waxed canvas tote bags are 100% American made!
Canvas: James Thompson Fabrics, Valley Falls NY
Design & Eco-Friendly Screen Printing: Beyond Her, Houston, TX
Waxing, Construction, Leather: Chris Franks Design, Austin, TX
At roughly 8 x 10 inches, with dirt- and water-resistance and irresistible cuteness, this is the perfect lunch bag, wine tote, carry-all for odds 'n ends!
And it looks great with a couple of bottles of wine as a housewarming gift or wedding present. Soon to be your favorite bag. See them all here!
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