10 Cool Makers from West Coast Craft Who You’ll Want EVERYTHING From
Categories: Creativity

10 Cool Makers from West Coast Craft Who You’ll Want EVERYTHING From

Over the weekend, West Coast Craft gave us a gorgeous glimpse at some of the most colorful, modern and unique handmade goods on the West (best!) Coast. The winter edition of the biannual art and design fest brought together more than 250 makers, artists and all-around creative geniuses. With their bold and beautiful textiles, bright ceramic jewelry and modern, laser-cut goods, these vendors definitely did not disappoint.

Strolling up and down the aisles had us ready to redecorate every room in the house, pick up a paintbrush and spend the rest of our days pursuing our own creative passions. Check out our faves below to see how they got started, what inspires their creative processes and what advice they have for anyone looking to quit their day job to become a full-time maker and shaker.

SAMANTHA CISNEROS, SHAPES & COLORS

How did you get started making?

I’ve been making since I was about eight years old when I learned how to sew. My grandmother taught me how and she really encouraged the creative process.

What inspires your designs?

I mainly find inspiration in nature. All of the colors in this collection are actually based on the colors of the sunset, which is also my neighborhood in SF.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

Just start making. No business plan, no overthinking — just do it!

NOBEL TRUONG, NOBL

How did you get started making?

These laser cut lights and objects actually started as a side project when I was in school. I had a bunch of latex in my storage unit and a lot of my plants were dying, so I thought I would just make cacti with all the material I had been hoarding.

What inspires your designs?

Bauhaus architecture — it’s very structural, very clean. Simplicity is where it’s at! I’m also inspired by the Bauhaus graphic designer Henry van de Velde. His work is very clean and structural with a lot of primary colors and primary shapes.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

You CAN do it. You can do anything! You can build a house, so you can definitely make art.

AARON BRAY, PUSHPULLDESIGN

How did you get started making?

I have always been a maker. I’m a woodworker and furniture maker by trade, so these planters started as a side job reusing some of the scrap wood from my furniture projects.

What inspires your designs?

I’m really into patterns, so I enjoy playing with the different colors, patterns and variations in wood grain. To me, there are endless combinations of what can happen, so it keeps it really interesting.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

Definitely perseverance. None of this stuff comes fast, but if you just stick with something and carve out a niche for yourself and people respond to it in a positive way, it will pay off.

Erin Fong and Taylor Reid, Western Editions

How did you get started making?

EF: We had both learned letterpress at a different times but at the same exact press in Reno, Nevada. We became roommates when we moved to San Francisco and always thought it would be cool if we had a press together. So one day we decided to build out a studio in our garage and that’s how it all began.

What inspires your designs?

EF: Definitely California. Our business name is Western Editions and we started in the Western Addition neighborhood, so it really feels like San Francisco is our home.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

EF: Find the one thing that you are passionate about and everything else will fall into place.

Windy Chien, Windy Chien

How did you get started making?

I quit my corporate job two years ago and said I was just going to make things with my hands and it was just going to be about me for once. I learned to do macrame from my mom in the ’70s and my dad taught me a bit about woodworking growing up, but I never got a chance to really do them until this point in my life.

What inspires your designs?

I believe it’s the responsibility of the artist to bring a modern viewpoint to more traditional designs and materials. For me, it’s all about keeping things simple, modern and graphically appealing.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

Take every class you’ve ever wanted to, because you just never know. You’ll know within the first five minutes of the class if it is for you.

Maria Schoettler, Maria Schoettler

How did you get started making?

 I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a kid. At the end of high school I decided that I really want to pursue drawing and painting so I majored in art. I’ve done portraits, landscapes, botanical illustrations. I started doing the seasonal veggie calendar for fun, for myself, and people started wanting it — friends and family — and then it grew from there.

What inspires your designs?

The farmers’ market, colors, friends’ artwork, hikes, cooking and the process of cooking. The daily ritual of getting gorgeous produce and walking around the neighborhood and seeing people’s gorgeous gardens.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

Commit. Do whatever you can to keep creating. Even if it’s working in a coffee shop or working another day job that pays the bills, keep doing your other stuff on the side. There’s always going to be a reason not to do it, but you have to commit.

Marie and Karen Potesta, Micaela Greg

How did you get started making?

MP: I think we made FIMO clay necklaces on the floor of our living room starting at the age of three. And then we transitioned to jersey dresses and leather accessories, and eventually fell into knitwear and haven’t looked back since.

What inspires your designs?

MP: We are inspired by a lot of graphics and the colors and images in nature.

KP: Definitely geometrics and fun patterns in all different colors.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

MP: Focus on one creative endeavor and get really, really good at it.

KP: Start small and then grow from there.

Faye Kendall, Faye Kendall

How did you get started making?

My background is in fiber arts, so I have done a lot of weaving throughout my life. I was very inspired by my grandfather who made turquoise jewelry, so I found a way to take textural elements, like wool and hair, and make jewelry out of them.

What inspires your designs?

I am inspired by a lot of Western wear and Western tack. And I’m also really into Japanese design. So taking these two opposite ends of the spectrum and putting them together in a unique way is what inspires me and keeps me going.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

I am an art teacher, so that is something very close to my heart. I would say, look at a lot of art, design and just people who craft their own things. Always be ready to absorb everything and look for inspiration in different places.

Nicola Vruwink, Vruwink

How did you get started making?

I literally have always been doing this. My father was a ceramicist, so to keep me entertained we would make stuff together. I received my MFA in metalsmithing and sculpture and went on to work in art galleries, but eventually ended up getting a full-time gig at the ArtCenter College of Design. I started out making the ceramic jewelry, but have been more focused on objects and sculpture lately.

What inspires your designs?

I really want to make things that make people smile. It’s like serious craft but with a wink.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

If you are a maker, never stop. Even if you don’t want to and have no ideas, just sit yourself down and do it!

Dawn de la Fuente, S/He Studio

How did you get started making?

After working in the corporate world for 14 years, I realized that I felt really disconnected from the natural world around me. I started to study herbalism to reconnect with nature and began to know what it means to feel alive and fueled and medicated naturally. I learned about the ingredients we actually need and started working to bring it back to the basics.

What inspires your products?

Inspiration comes from the intention of who I make for. For me, it is more about the person and not the gender, so I typically craft products that work for both men and women.

What advice would you give to someone looking to pursue their creative passion?

Explore your interests and passions. If you are not trained, it’s okay. Take some classes, find a mentor, try.

What makers do you follow? Share who you get creative inspo from in the comments below.