See Exactly How Annika Jermyn Made Her Of a Kind Clutches

In this case, watching paint dry is exciting.

When Annika Jermyn started pondering a new addition to her line mrs Jermyn, she wanted to make sure the production process kept her super-engaged. Her solution? Canvas clutches and iPad cases that are each hand-painted—meaning every brushstroke feels a little bit special. “There is some room for doing things differently each time,” Annika explains. “I call the collection ‘Paint Party’ because it’s fun to paint them.” And this is how her Of a Kind party went down. —koun bae

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“I use natural cotton canvas, so it’s not dyed or treated at all. It’s quite durable, and I like to combine the utility feel of it with something that feels luxurious, like metallics.”

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“I sew them myself in my studio. I try and work outdoors whenever I can. We have a really nice garden in our studio—and a huge table outside—so sometimes I even bring my sewing machine out.”

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“The paint is a water-based fabric paint, and for the Of a Kind clutches, I mixed a special blend. The copper that came out of a jar wasn’t good enough, so I mixed it with a little bit of gold to get the color I wanted.”

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“Then I dry them and iron them, and the last thing I do is attach the leather pull on the zipper!”

You’ve seen how they’re made, now what are you waiting for?! Score one of these hand-painted beauties now!

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Way-Easy Guide to Painting Textiles With Kindah Khalidy

With the craft skills of a kindergartner, you absolutely design your own fabric.

Kindah Khalidy hand-paints little cotton tanks and canvas pouches with knock-your-socks-off, abstract motifs, and, whether or not you have the vision to go all wearable work-of-art, you can definitely DIY your own fabric. Enter: stencils and a tutorial from a chick who knows just what she’s doing. —monica derevjanik

Materials:

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+ Fabric of choice (canvas or cotton do well)
+ Kindah’s stencil (download here!) or your own drawn shapes
+ Cardstock or a manila envelope
+ Stencil paint brush with a round and thick bristle 
+ Cup of water
+ Paint palette for mixing colors
+ Masking tape or blue painter’s tape
+ X-Acto knife
+ Pencil or pen
+ Cutting mat
+ Iron
+ Fabric paint, such as Deco Art SoSoft or Jacquard Lumiere. (Note: Some paints require that you prewash the fabric.)

Directions:

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Step 1: Start with a clean, ironed piece of fabric so you can work with an even surface. Choose your shapes. [Ed: Kindah provided some options—or, duh, you can draw your own!] Remember that you will be cutting out the positive space. Think about incorporating alternative shapes into your design. For example, you could have one main flower stencil and then then different leaf stencils to mix it up. You can also create multiple stencils to layer over each other. 

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Step 2: Cut out the drawn shapes with an X-Acto knife. Then cut around the shapes, leaving enough space around the cutouts so you can tape it down to the fabric and have some room to paint over without messing up the fabric. You can group small shapes together. Place your stencils onto fabric and tape the stencils down so that they don’t move during the painting process. 

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Step 3: Mix the colors in the palette. Dab a little bit onto the brush. Too much paint will leak over the stencil, so use sparingly and do a few tests to find the right amount. Press the stencil down around edges while you are painting to prevent paint from leaking out the edges. Paint over the edges of the stencil to make sure that you get the entire shape filled. Let the paint dry before lifting up the stencil. When dry, move the stencil around to create a repeat composition.

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Step 4: Layer stencils to create more intricate designs, or go in with a paintbrush for a more hand-done look. Most paints require that you heat-set the fabric after painting, so iron your fabric and then wash according to paint instructions.

Ready to see how Kindah works a paintbrush? Get her amazing (springy!) Of a Kind clutch now.

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Caroline Z. Hurley

When Caroline Zucchero Hurley went to Bali with a bunch of art-school friends in 2011, she knew the island’s gorgeous colors would influence her abstract paintings. But the trip also ended up inspiring her in a completely unexpected way. “We had a craft table where we would gather every night, and I found myself making these block-printed textile things,” the 30-year-old says.

It turned out to be a perfect extension of the Memphis native’s particular brand of painting, and her textiles—think melon throws with black bars or crimson blankets with hot pink triangles, all made of super-absorbent Italian linen—are a lot like her abstract art: colorful, spare, and exuberant. “I teach pre-school part-time, and I’m really inspired by the projects we do in the classroom,” she explains. “It’s great because I come to the studio after work, and I’m in this really playful mood after throwing glitter around and cutting simple shapes all morning. It really puts me in the right mindset to do all my work.”

She also, by the way, makes pretty rad necklaces out of painted pasta and devotes some time to an indie film company she and her friends founded in Los Angeles. How does she keep up with it all? “I don’t really distinguish between my paintings and my products, my teaching and my art,” she says with a shrug. “It’s all about having fun and expressing yourself.” —raquel laneri

carolinezhurley.com

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Naomi Clark Paints Our Scarves

This edition is like a big, amazing art project.


A look at the scarf-painting wall in the Fort Makers Brooklyn studio.

See how good these Fort Makers scarves look tacked to a wall? And though Naomi Clark’s designs warrant a place above your couch, they are technically meant to be wrapped around your neck. The fabrication will motivate you to wear them: Naomi and her partner Nana Spears picked a material that’s 90% cashmere with just a smidge of wool for their special edition for Of a Kind. Talk about cozy. Here, Nana explains how their creations came together, with the help of some top-notch GIF action. candice chan

Don’t miss out! Naomi decked out just 15 of these scarves for us, so get them while they’re here!

WATCH IT HAPPEN:



GEEK OUT ON THE DETAILS:


To create each one, Naomi paints a giant-sized swath of the cloth (around 25 to 30 yards in total) as one long mural. She eventually cuts it into pieces for individual scarves, so every one is distinct, unique, and part of a giant Fort Makers puzzle. “The inspiration for this scarf was seagull feathers—white, grey, black—but then it needed more colors and punch. So we went with the cool colors of Montauk in January. It’s a reminder of the beach that’s waiting for you.”


To create the ideal hue, Naomi adds water to a variety of acrylic paints, playing with shades and thickness for each color. (Surprisingly, white can be particularly tricky. If the paint becomes too thin, the tint won’t be vibrant enough.)


When it’s time to actually paint, Naomi uses two methods—a spray gun (above) and a regular brush. “We started to notice that the more, different kinds of methods we use, the better.”


“You can tell when Naomi’s using the spray versus the paint brush. All of those elements add up bringing so many different textures.”

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Meet Mary Meyer

How this artist fell in love with making clothes.

For Mary Meyer, it was always about the art. “Since I was in elementary school, I wanted to be an artist,” she says. “So getting into art school, I really got obsessed with just learning as much as I could. The print shop was really appealing to me. I loved all of the machines and their historical presence.”

After graduating from California College of the Arts, Mary painted 30-some hours a week, taught, waitressed, and started making her own clothes. “I was always broke, and I was always very into looking cool. I was never into fashion and wasn’t aware of designers—I didn’t know anything about anything—but I had a specific aesthetic sensibility,” she explains. When she sold her first piece—a single-seam tube top that a girl she worked with bought off her for $20—she had a sort of epiphany: “I was used to art. Art you have to sell for a certain amount of money, and only certain people buy it. People who are 22 don’t buy art. They buy clothes.”

As she grew into her design career—she did her first trade show in 2004—she got better at fusing the painting and printmaking she loved with the lines she was creating. She also began to discover important differences between being a career artist and a career designer. “As soon as you’ve done something successfully in fine art, you’re taught or driven to change. It’s like with exercise—you have to keep switching it up, or you plateau. But with fashion, you really have to have a thread that you’re pulling people along with,” Mary reflects. Just as she was once fully committed to her artwork, she’s now dedicated solely to her design. “People used to say to me, ‘Are you still painting on the side?’” she says. “I’m designing clothing and running a business. I don’t do anything on the side.”

Come back tomorrow to score Mary’s second edition for Of a Kind. And get on our mailing list for a reminder.

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Caroline Ventura Gives a Little Help to Her Friends

And this means getting involved in some pretty rad projects. 

It just so happens that the Manhattan-based designer behind the pared-down, modern jewelry line Brvtvs pals around with some pretty creative girls. Caroline Ventura also, conveniently, has a model-esque appearance that comes in handy when there are lookbooks to be shot or portraits to be painted, and she’s more than happy to lend a hand—especially when it comes to supporting these three crazy-talented women.

Inspired by the understated vibe of this work? Then you’ll be all over the bracelet that Caroline created for us in honor of our birthday month. Check it out here.

Lynne Hiriak
“Lynne has an amazing line called Cardigan—I’ve been in her lookbook the last three seasons. I call her Yoda—she’s a huge help and inspiration to me. She’s worked for everyone, she’s done everything in the fashion world, and she knows every single person in New York. She makes really cozy sweaters, and, whenever it gets below 70 degrees, they’re the first things I wear. This season, we shot the lookbook upstate the week before Hurricane Irene. I love that polka-dot one.”

Samantha Hahn
“Sam is an amazing illustrator. She does whimsical illustrations with watercolors. They’re feminine and beautiful, but they’re also really simple and restrained, which I like. A lot of her subjects are women. She just did a show called “A Thousand Ships” with famous literary characters like Helen of Troy, Daisy Buchanan, and Scout Finch, and there was a section of portraits of her friends, including me.”

Ilana Kohn
“Ilana is my newest friend. I met her only a few months ago—I read about her on Of a Kind, actually, and made a note to reach out to her. But Ilana emailed me first, asking me if I would be interested in shooting her lookbook. She achieves the right mix—she does a lot of boxy, tomboyish cuts, but the patterns she chooses are really feminine. Plus, I’m not a classically trained jewelry designer, and Ilana is self-taught as well. I have a great camaraderie with her and great respect for her because of that—everything she has done, she has done on her own.”

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Erica Weiner’s (Three-Story!) House

That’s the beauty of moving to Red Hook.


For reals: There’s a piano.

When Erica Weiner moved from downtown Manhattan to Red Hook along the Brooklyn waterfront in 2009, she traded a tiny studio for the sort of turn-of-the-century place that can hold a piano. “I found it through Craigslist,” says the jewelry designer with a rabid fanbase. “In Red Hook, you can still get a great place without a broker. The owner is Italian, and he grew up in the neighborhood.” Here’s how she and her new husband made the spot their own.


“The previous tenants had painted the walls fluorescent colors. Most of it was ugly, but we kind of liked the green in this room. We made it even more fluorescent. My sister did that painting in high school. Now she has her masters in painting and is teaching art history at SVA.”


“Chris—my husband—was in the band They Might Be Giants, singing back-up for their albums and playing bass. The wife of one of the band members actually married us. Hanging up there at the top of the stairs is a Victorian morning coat. I got it at a costume house in Scotland—it’s fading in the sun.”


“This cabinet is something they sold to make women’s lives easier in the early 1900s. It has all of these gadgets—high-tech at the time—like a flour-sifter bin: You put your bowl under it, and it sifts flour into it from the bin above. It’s storage and sifting—all my problems are solved! I found an ad in a Ladies’ Home Journal from 1912 for the exact cabinet that I have.”


“This is a chair I found. It’s the skeleton from an old stuffed armchair—it was on the bottom floor of my Chrystie Street studio. I brought it home and made seating and a back for it.”


“That’s my picture wall. I’ve been reading too much Design*Sponge—that’s pretty much required in a house according to that blog. And the padded couch is seating at the dining-room table.”

You’re not going to want to miss out on Erica’s Wednesday release: an updated version of one of our greatest hits. Get on our mailing list, stat, to be the first to know.

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Kathryn Bentley Busies her Brushes

Her painting might be a hobby these days, but we’re still mad impressed.

Before she got into jewelry design, Kathryn Bentley was all about painting, a medium she studied in art school. And while it’s easy to let those things slip as soon as your career picks up, Kathryn keeps filling canvases as her namesake line and the diffusion one, Dream Collective, takes off. “It’s something I still enjoy doing, and I don’t put a lot of pressure on myself when I do it,” she says. Here, a look at some of her recent creations.

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“I’m really into sculpture. Henry Moore’s pieces are a big influence in my jewelry, and I really love his shapes. These paintings are not taken from any of his sculptures exactly, but abstractly, Henry Moore sculptures were the idea behind them.”

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“The colors, I think, are ones I would be attracted to in my daily life—colors I would want to wear, have in my home. There isn’t necessarily a vintage reference or anything like that. It’s just a palette that I hope to find in my surroundings.”

Don’t miss out on the wearable piece Kathryn made for us: a beautiful brass-and-enamel cuff.

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Cook & Gates

When Ethan Cook and Sara Gates started their line of hand-dyed bags, they were looking for an outlet. The duo had launched a screen-printing company in 2006 that relied heavily on masterful repetition, but both founders had painting backgrounds that compelled them to make something fresh and different every time. “With screen-printing, I can produce 200 or 1,000 things that are identical,” explains Sara, who studied fine art at Chelsea College of Art & Design and Pratt and now runs the awesome bag operation on her own. “I got into dyeing because you can never produce anything identical.”

The form of the pieces she creates is classic: a basic tote made of high-quality canvas (“As painters, we had both worked with that material for years.”) that allows moody, multi-color designs and ornate bleaching to really shine. “The tote makes it so much more accessible to people. We realized that

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Rachel Makes 20 Very Special Shirts

Each one is hand-painted—which ups the odds of the Virgin Mary showing up in the inkblots.

When Rachel Rose gets in the zone, it’s just her, an eyedropper, a couple of bottles of silk paint, and her blank canvas: a loose, unfussy white silk tee. Here’s how she made the show-stopping edition she created just for Of a Kind, from start to finish.

Impressed? Scoop up one of Rachel’s pieces before they’re gone.


“This is Tinfix—it’s a French silk paint. They take it very seriously. They won’t really disclose any information about how it’s made, but I think it’s an acid-based dye.”


“I like how by using the inkblot technique the design takes on its own shape. I start with the coral color on the shoulders. It’s a combination of red and yellow.”


“Then I do dots of red—it adds a little depth to the coral.”


“I have to let the shirt dry before I use the blue paint. Otherwise it mixes with yellow in the coral and makes this green color that doesn’t really work well.”


“Now I’m just doing more dotting with the blue. I’ll let the first layer dry a little bit then do another on top for a splotchy, more saturated effect. I saw a heart in one of the blots the other day.”


“Then I let it dry and wrap it around the coil of my steamer for two hours so that the paint sets. I take it to the dry cleaner when it’s done, just to finish it—so it’s perfect for the person who buys it.”

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