Pleased as punch to announce the arrival of Erica Weiner Jewelry to the shop! Weiner went to Vassar College and studied art history (nerding out on that fact alone), was a costumer for Broadway shows, did the whole NYC fashion thing, and finally turned to jewelry-making as a way to relieve stress... The rest is history!
utilitarian, simplistic, and genUine are a few words that best describe artist Jess Marie griffith's accessories line, pine & boon. we talked to Jess aboUt her inspirations, aspirations, and what the fUtUre holds. coUld hers be the next "it" bag of the seattle area? (let's Make that happen, people).
What is one of the biggest risks you took in your career?
I would say doing what I am doing now! Starting a business is very risky and takes a couple of years to start making a modest profit. I am lucky to have a partner that has a steady flow of income so that I can focus on the business. I still work and take part-time freelance jobs here and there, and sometimes even apply for part-time positions if I feel like they are a good fit. I actually never meant to do Pine & Boon full-time, I just wanted to give it a try since admin jobs were not taking me anywhere.
What inspired your brand name?
"Pine" represents the Pacific Northwest landscape, and "Boon" means community. Pacific Northwest nature and community are what keep me going.
Where do you hope to see you and your brand in five years?
This is such a tough question for me as I feel like one of the reasons I started Pine & Boon was because I did not know what I wanted. I am constantly learning what it is I want to offer this world, and I think I know more than I did three years ago. I would like to continue Pine & Boon on a small scale, but expand to also offering a home line that is a collaborative design effort of my husband and I. I want to get these goods manufactured and go the traditional trade show route rather than making everything myself like I am doing now. I really see myself being a creative director of sorts, and expanding the business will allow me to keep doing that. I studied art in school, not design. So I really had to learn how to create the job that I want since I lack the training and design experience. I see my business as my portfolio!
Well, the idea of creating a home line is pretty exciting! What sort of items would you hope to produce?
The goal is to create patterns collaboratively with my husband (artist Cable Griffith) that can be printed onto pillows, sheets, and rugs. Maybe even wallpaper, table linens, and plates! I pretty much think our collaborative design work will look good on anything. We already did a test run of the pillows.
Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
Art! I have an art background and had a career managing an art gallery. There I really saw a lot of art but I also felt like there was a need to connect middle-class people to art in a more utilitarian way. My husband and I collect art in a very affordable way by doing trades. But also, we really love living with the art. It really means a lot to us and I was inspired to move into design for this reason. I am really not interested in separating art and product. I believe one can be thoughtful about bringing art into business. Afterall, becoming an artist is a business too. Admitting that is really a taboo thing to do in the art world. Also, why do everything the way everyone else does it? Isn't the whole point of being creative pushing yourself, trying new things, and breaking rules?
Who are some people/designers/artists who inspire your own work?
Well, Moorea of course! I interned with her a few years back, as well as knew her from college. I learned there is a lot of business in a creative business. This really made me realize I have the skills to start my own.
I read two artist biographies last year that gave me so much inspiration: Sonia Delaunay and Agnes Martin. Dusen Dusen is a designer I am always looking at. I love her style but also her bold moves when it comes to design and business.
Who is your style icon?
I really do not have one icon I look to. I am a big people watcher so I love seeing what all kinds of people are wearing. I am really interested in how things are put together, odd choices, a not so serious approach to dressing. I also tend to love the not-overdressed approach. I always take the last thing I put on off. I think maybe Coco Chanel gave that advice. I am reading Women in Clothes right now and I am so in love with the stories and life experiences that are behind clothing.
Were you self-taught in leather-working/designing, or do you have some sort of training?
I learned to sew from my mother, but mostly quilts and some clothing. I actually hate sewing fabric! Sewing leather is so much easier for me. It is more straight forward, I think. I can get impatient so I think that is why I prefer it. I am mostly self-taught in leather-working. I teach myself things all the time by just researching online or via old books. I can also look at a picture and figure out how to make something. My brother is a mechanic, so I think I have a somewhat mechanic brain too, just in a different way.
What is your favorite item in your collection and why?
Right now I really love the Painted Plaid Convertible Clutch. It is hand-painted by yours truly and comes with a strap so you can wear it different ways depending on the occasion. I dress pretty simply and like to use accessories to spice things up. The bright blue does just that!
One lucky blog reader will win their choice of suede punched mini pouch. To enter, leave a comment on this post with your email address. A winner will be picked randomly in approximately one week!