When Michaela Carpenter opened home-goods shop Maker + Place in downtown Aspen in June, she introduced locals to the sector of design and craftsmanship she discovered while earning a degree in weaving from London’s Chelsea College of Arts. “There are amazing makers all over the world right now, and my goal is to curate a magical retail space that highlights the best of them,” she says. Her sunny boutique combines a traditional retail space–and comfy coffee shop–with open-air studios where customers can interact with resident craftspeople as they work. “There is a transference of energy that happens from maker to object while it’s in process and then again from object to owner,” Carpenter says. Here, a look at a few of the shop’s artisans.
WOODEN & WOVEN
Everyday tableware becomes art in the hands of Alex Devol, who crafts each piece in his northwest England studio using locally grown, recycled or sustainably sourced materials. Bowls cast in bronze (shown), for instance, reveal the intricate grain of their wooden molds, while spoons are carved from English walnut, pale beech and iridescent curly cherry.
Justine Ashbee takes a fresh approach to handwoven art, softening the sharp geometric lines of indigenous motifs with rich texture, three-dimensional details and a palette of natural fibers shot through with spun brass, silver and gold. The Brighton, England, weaver relies on traditional tools–a loom and threads collected at flea markets and souks around the world–to create one-off wall hangings and jewelry with a cool modern vibe.
Maker + Place’s COO also happens to be an expert in fabrication and casting. The scale of work by the Colorado State University fine arts grad ranges from grand–store design for Anthropologie and an installation at the Denver Art Museum–to small, like her monolithic Contour candlesticks, fashioned from raw Colorado marble and carved walnut.
Bowen Liu‘s description of her eponymous Brooklyn workshop–“a furniture design and research studio”–hints at the time and thought that’s gone into her collection of nine ultra-functional pieces. Liu’s clean-lined productions are often curvilinear and always symmetrical; her details are few but special–like this low dining table with an artfully curved base, intended to encourage intimate gatherings.