It's Sunday and I am sitting at the airport in Minneapolis waiting for my flight home after 6 full days here. The trip was fantastic aside from the bi-polar weather that ranged from 102-55 degrees [note to self, pack a coat when traveling this summer]. My trip was scheduled around a lecture I was scheduled to give at the Surface Design Association Confluence Conference.
Annie Larson's studio, Minneapolis MN
On Wednesday morning I had arranged ahead of time to meet with Annie Larson a designer best known for her knitwear. I met up with Annie, her boyfriend- artist and graphic designer Eric Carlson and their friend and collaborator Crystal Quinn who runs a new space called Dressing Room. We hooked up at Modern Times a brand new cafe my friend Dylan Alverson just opened in South Minneapolis (eat here! great locally sourced menu with both meat & vegan options- highly recommend). Like so many of the makers I know Annie, Eric and Crystal have their paws in a number of creative endeavors so it's slightly difficult to pick the online spot to direct you. I feel I should mention Hardland/Heartland another collaborative project that both Eric and Crystal work under along with Aaron Anderson.
After our great breakfast we went over to Annie's live/work space that she shares with Eric. The timing for my visit was great since she had just returned from Miami where she had been working with Jim Drain in his studio so we had a lot to talk about. Annie and I had never met in person and I can't remember when I first saw Annie's work online, but I do know when I saw it I immediately sent her an email to connect and since then we have stayed in touch. Meeting someone I respect creatively in person is always the final selling point if I truly appreciate what they make. Annie was the perfect example of that because her articulate honest thoughts about design, where she want's to see her work and her process made me an even bigger fan than before. My only regret is that we only got to spend a short amount of time together.
Annie's designs are sold under the label "All for Everyone" and each piece is made-to-order in her studio (see above & below) on the Brother knitting machine that sits intimidatingly with it's metal teeth and skinny metal arms threaded with bright color cotton yarn. When I got to touch her work in person, it sealed the deal and I now know I can't live without at least one piece from her collection in my closet. Once you check out her site I think you will know why- the bold pattern designs, color pallet and fantastic ability to photograph & document her pieces makes it difficult to not appreciate what she creates.
Annie Larson & Eric Carlson
Annie Larson: Work in progress
On Thursday I was invited by Monica Moses, the editor of American Craft Magazine to swing by the new office and do a quick on camera interview for their blog. I urge all of you living in the twin cities so take advantage of their craft library that is open to the public (info on their site)- it's an amazing resource.
Friday's 10am lecture to to the 350+ conference attendee's was titled DIY Handmade: Ethos and Aesthetics of Today’s Craft Culture. I got a lot of positive feedback from both young and old conference attendee's. In-between my lecture & film screening I had quite a bit of down time and I was able to make it over to the Unraveled DIY festival. Vendor highlights for me were Re Rae, Suz and Roo, ashley-moe and Earth Grown Crayons. My souvenir for the weekend was a beautiful hand painted silk shirt from designer Rachel Rose that had her work set up at the SDA trunk show. Handmade Nation screened in the evening as a double feature along with Woven Lives a new documentary film by Carolyn Kallenborn. It was really fantastic to be a part of the weekend's programing at the SDA conference- I got to see a lot of familiar industry faces and of course met a bunch of new people- by far the best part of my job.
Additional photos from Annie & Eric's space can be seen here.