Todd Nickey, the designer and proprietor behind Los Angeles’ Nickey Kehoe, dishes on the thrill—and importance—of the hunt.
My partner Amy Kehoe and I have built our lives around being out in the world—at craft fairs, art shows, antique fairs and even flea markets—unearthing sources of inspiration. Although I enjoy searching for things online, it’s important for us to touch and feel objects. There’s only so much you can see about patina, texture and scale on a screen!
We met a young woman, just out of art school, at a craft show a few years ago, and she was making beautiful sculptures and serveware from wood. I don’t want to sound too ‘woo-woo,’ but when she invited us to pick up her work, I could feel the energy she put into making it. The way she sands her pieces gives them a unique surface, something that’s impossible to manufacture. It’s exhilarating to meet people who are passionate about creating and making.
Hunting and shopping in person is also where kismet happens. At times, I almost feel like a water witch with a divining rod because something just draws me to a piece—I find what I love by clearing my mind and exploring. I recently discovered a forged-iron company that makes the most extraordinary pieces and when I first saw them, I got jelly belly for a few minutes because it was such a thrill.
This is an era where appreciation for art and craft is growing, and we are embracing it on all levels, from crude to posh and fancy. The importance of handmade goods can’t be overstated—it’s fundamental; it’s everything. nickeykehoe.com
—As told to Mary Jo Bowling