Journal

Artist of the Week: Janine Kwoh

"I think there is a lot of value and comfort to be found in hearing shared stories about what are often really difficult and isolating experiences."

Janine Kwoh of Kwohtations

Presenting our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!

This week we are featuring Janine Kwoh of Kwohtations! Janine is a one-woman show whose art helps people connect when it really matters. Whether it’s a poignant greeting card or stickers that give you a deeply needed pep talk, Kwohtations can make it a little easier for us to feel like our best selves.

Who are you?

Janine Kwoh, the Owner / Artist / One-Person Assembly Line behind Kwohtations I am also an imperfect but dedicated friend, sister, and partner. Books, coffee, any kind of fried potato topped with cheese, and jumpsuits are my daily happinesses.
 

What do you do?

I am an illustrator and a letterpress printer. I make greeting cards and other usable art that reflect and celebrate a diversity of identities and life experiences, and always with some humor and whimsy that is so critical to savoring the good times and surviving the hard ones. As a one‐woman show, I’m effectively the CEO, head of operations and finance, creative division, production team, customer service, and intern all rolled into one.

Who/what inspires you?

Creating and sharing art, for me, is a meaningful, tangible way to celebrate real life and real people, to provoke people (including myself) into self‐reflection, and to insert a bit of joy and humor that I think is so critical to finding connection, joy, and healing. In my art, I offer up my own truths ‐ about navigating love and loss, about searching for an authentic voice, about (re)defining family and identity and success, about bearing witness and figuring out what it means to be responsible to ourselves and others. My hope is that others might recognize some of themselves and feel a bit more seen, more connected, and less alone. 

What’s your favorite moment in the process?

When I have a vague idea that I've been turning over in my head and trying to wrestle onto paper for a while - whether it's trying to create an image or come up with the right words - and then the missing piece comes to me in a flash - it's usually when I'm out jogging or on the subway or in the shower.

What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?

Sometimes not knowing what you're doing is what ends up sparking the greatest creativity and a unique style, because you're not limited by the knowledge of how things "should" be done.  

6. What’s next?

More greeting cards! I'm interested in delving deeper into life experiences that I think many of us go through but don't necessarily talk about (e.g. grief and loss, mental illness, infertility, imposter syndrome) - I think there is a lot of value and comfort to be found in hearing shared stories about what are often really difficult and isolating experiences.  I'd also like to experiment with other mediums and products, maybe create limited edition apparel or art prints.  The fun - and sometimes scary - part is not knowing what's next.


Struggle Bus Greeting CardNotes to SelfDrink All the Things
See more of her work here!

Artist of the Week: Audrey Elkis and Matt Tait

"We’re consistently inspired by spending time in nature, making a point to leave our screens and studio to be outside."

TAIT Design Co

Presenting our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!

This week we are featuring TAIT Design Co! Audrey and Matt aspire to keep tangible art alive in this new digital age. They share our love of locally-produced goods and encourage people to step away from their screens and come together for some good old-fashioned fun.

Who are you?

We are Matt Tait and Audrey Elkus, the co-founders and owners of TAIT Design Co. 

What do you do?

We are an independent product design studio in Detroit that specializes in designing and manufacturing toys and homewares. The work coming out of our studio exhibits a simplified graphic approach to form with an intense focus on detail, material, and experience. All of our products are made from materials sourced in the US and assembled by hand at our studio in Detroit.

Who/what inspires you?

We’re consistently inspired by spending time in nature, making a point to leave our screens and studio to be outside. Here in Detroit, we’re often on Belle Isle, a large island park located in the Detroit River between Detroit and Canada. Beyond that, we travel as much as possible and gain inspiration from visiting museums and design festivals. Most recently, we had the chance to go on a tour of The Eames House in Los Angeles, and found it very moving. 

When it comes to designers, we admire the incredible weaver Anni Albers (who should receive more attention than she does!), as well as Eva Hesse, who was ahead of her time. Of course, we also are life-long admirers of Ray and Charles Eames, they played off of each other so well and broke through in so many mediums. They defined what good design meant in America well past their passing.

What’s your favorite moment in the process?

We’re most proud of the fact that we’re able to manufacture our products locally, as this allows us to support other Detroit businesses, many of whom have been in the city for generations. When each part comes together for a new product, especially as it’s often a team effort to get it to the finish line, this final step is extremely rewarding. 

What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?

Our process is all about how the end user will interact with our product, and often we find we need to leave the studio to solve problems and come to the final solution we’re looking for. On a more practical note, we highly recommend using Quickbooks accounting software.

What’s next?

In the coming year, we plan to continue the internal work of streamlining and growing our business. You can follow along with us on Instagram at @taitdesignco, or sign up for our newsletter on our website if you’d like. Stay tuned for more!

 

See more of their Turbo Flyers here!

Artist of the Week: Rebecca Hsieh

"I'm very product oriented so my satisfaction usually comes at the end. When I'm crocheting, there comes a moment where I add the eyes and a mouth and all of a sudden, it becomes 10x cuter."
 

 

Presenting our Kindred Artist of the Week series! We are big fans of all the artists we work with and we are so excited to share their stories!

This week we are featuring local artist and member of the KP crew, Rebecca Hsieh! I like to say that Rebecca is like Etsy but a real person; is there a craft or a cuteness she doesn't do?? Rebecca has been crocheting vegetables and fillings galore for an interactive ramen-inspired NOOD photo booth featuring you and all your friends, open tonight during First Friday from 4:30-7pm! Come through!

Who are you?

I am an educator, artist, aerialist, and dabbler of things.

What do you do?

I like to try new art mediums which is not great for my studio space since I have accumulated quite a bit of materials. My focus though is in fiber arts particularly in contemporary embroidery and crochet.

Who/what inspires you?

Like many millennials these days, I find inspiration in nature, traveling, plants, textures, food, and my pets. I will often stop walking on the trail to crouch down and look at what's growing - a patch of moss with tiny mushrooms starting to sprout and yet, it looks like a whole little world. Especially living in Juneau, it's hard not to be inspired by all the nature around me not only by how it looks but also by how it feels. I like to feel the surfaces of rocks, trees, and leaves; or how squishy the ground is beneath my feet. It's also really hard for me not to touch all the yarn walking down the aisle in a craft store. I also love food - cooking it, eating it, making crocheted replications of it - the possibilities are endless.

What’s your favorite moment in the process?

I'm very product oriented so my satisfaction usually comes at the end. When I'm crocheting, there comes a moment where I add the eyes and a mouth and all of a sudden, it becomes 10x cuter. When I'm embroidering, it's really gratifying when all these lines of thread becomes a picture.

What’s a trick of your trade, or a piece of advice for other artists in your medium?

The wonderful thing about crochet as an art form is that it is incredibly easy to restart and fix mistakes without wasting any materials. There's always a redo. 

What’s next?

I have a plan to do a series of various social justice oriented embroidery pieces where a profit of each piece would go towards an organization that corresponds with the theme of the piece. I have also started making cards with hand carved stamps - so designing more to have a bigger collection to span the greeting card world.

 

Life Can Be Extra Tuf But I am Here for You Card

 

Gemstone Soap

See the complete ramen collection for sale and for props at Rebecca's NOODS photo booth tonight at Kindred Post from 4:30-7pm! Plus, more here!