THE FOUNDER: AGNES PIERSCIENIAK
Agnes is a designer, artist and photographer living in Playa Vista. A lover of vibrant color and exuberant patterns, she seeks out bright places and bold people. Inspired by art, nature and, most of all beauty, Agnes is passionate about travel, meeting good people, and making beautiful things. Having the opportunity to travel and attend art workshops in far flung places like India and Japan, Agnes was inspired to build a community of shared interests in her "backyard." Crave Workshops aims to share her love of handmade crafts and global textiles while bringing friends together.
"For me, creating is essential, like eating and sleeping. Ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon, I was making things. I studied art every chance I got. When I got into Rhode Island School of Design, it was heaven on earth to learn a new photo process one day and take a bookbinding class the next. I loved taking classes to learn new skills, but more importantly, to be surrounded by other creatives. I painted watercolors with my artistic grandmother as a seven-year-old, took life-drawing workshops in high school, sketched piazzas on my college semester abroad in Italy, practiced block-printing on a life-changing trip to Bagru, India. As I grew older, I traveled the world in pursuit of learning new arts. I have made life-long friendships as regardless of cultural differences, creating together forges unique bonds. I want to share my love of art, travel and friendship one afternoon at a time."
INTERVIEW BY HINA KHAN FOR LATE SUNDAY AFTERNOON
She's an indigo maven teaching Angelenos the art of shibori, katazome, and marbling. Recently, she teamed up with Venice-based retailer Late Sunday Afternoon for a workshop series. We interviewed her to learn more about her background and the magical workshops she teaches.
What is your first memory as an artist?
My grandmother was an artist. Whenever she visited us from Poland, we would sit outside and do plein-air watercolor paintings. I remember packing up our watercolor kits and venturing out to find the perfect spot to set up our easels—these are my fondest memories of childhood. I learned to notice the beauty around me, appreciate spending time with those I love, and the gratification of creating something new.
Recently, I had the chance to see photos of her textiles from the 60’s and 70’s (she used to be a textile artist as well), and I was struck by the similarities in our passions. It’s in my blood!
(See images above of Agnes' grandmother above where she is seen wearing fabric she painted by hand.)
What do you love about being an artist and creating?
For me, it’s essential, like eating and sleeping. Ever since I was old enough to hold a crayon, I started making things. I studied art every chance I got, and when I got into RISD (Rhode Island School of Design}, it felt like heaven on earth. From one day to the next, I learned a new skillset such as a new photo developing process or bookbinding.
What led your interest in the art of indigo dyeing, textiles, and stenciling?
It started when I was getting my MFA from RISD, where handmade arts were encouraged. I enjoy making things with my hands in a variety of mediums, from labor intensive oil painting to experimental photo processes and silkscreens. I prefer creating things with bolder gestures and abstract moves.
I took my first shibori class five years ago in Echo Park, and loved every moment of folding fabrics in perfect geometric forms and dipping them into rich indigo, which yielded totally unexpected results. It was pure magic and totally addictive. I wanted to dip everything in sight! From there, I kept enrolling in classes, meeting new people, and experimenting with new techniques. I like the juxtaposition of crisp geometrics with the fluid nature of indigo dye. It’s structured and organic, maybe like my personality.
Is that what led you to study in Japan?
I was invited by a colleague who was organizing a trip to study under a Shibori master of 20 years. I wanted to be totally immersed in the Shibori experience, and had to opportunity to live on his farm, eat meals together, and learn a series of new techniques in his 150-year-old farm house.
While in Japan, I was also taught katazome, the art of kimono stenciling. Katazome is a Japanese method of dyeing fabrics using a resist paste, which is applied through a stencil. We were taught under a third-generation kimono master who let us use his 100-year-old stencils. The process resembled a form of indigo printing I learned in India a few years back, where mud was used as the resist when printmaking on fabrics.
What inspired you to create your own workshops back in Los Angeles?
I wanted to share my love of handmade crafts and global textiles to create a community. Through the workshops I’ve taken over the years, I’ve made lifelong friends, regardless of cultural differences. Creating forges a unique bond within a group.
I also know that food brings people together, so I partnered with Anna Patrikian, who makes delicious fare for our communal meal. We start out each workshop that way, so we can get to know one another before creating. I want to share my love of art, travel, and friendship, one afternoon at a time.
What led you to partnering with Late Sunday Afternoon for your workshops?
Our original workshop location was down the block from Late Sunday Afternoon, so it was a serendipitous event where I walked into the store before my first workshop. I immediately loved the aesthetic and vibe of the interior. It showcased handmade global goods in a beautiful space. It’s the type of space I wanted to hang out in, chat with friends, and make something new. The shop is a melting pot of cultures, with rugs and textiles from Morocco, Turkey, and other areas of the world. It felt very symbiotic with my intention of learning my craft from global masters sharing their knowledge with a curious community. I reached out to Thomas and Matthew afterwards, and now we’re going to launch a workshop series this summer.
Read the whole interview here
OUR SPECIAL GUESTS
Kendra Lebo, a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design, is an interdisciplinary designer with a passion for the interplay of color, pattern and type. She founded Flora Poste Studio, a line of hand-dyed textiles and home goods, in 2014. She focuses on using traditional methods in a contemporary context to create beautiful, functional home textiles and accessories, dyed by hand in small batches. Kendra met Agnes at RISD in 2003, and the two have continued to collaborate across the country whenever possible. She enjoys sunshine, succulents and crafting colorful bandanas for her dog Mabel. Kendra co-taught our inaugural Crave Workshop, bringing her vibrant dyes into the indigo mix.
Mimi Haddon is a fiber artist and photographer who uses vibrant color as her main medium. She can often be seen around town creating temporary colorful soft sculptures that respond to the architecture and environments of Los Angeles. She is a certified Chopra Center meditation teacher and recently received her MFA in Fiber Art from CSULB. Mimi teaches at FIDM and The Craft and Folk Art Museum. Mimi’s joie de vivre, open mindedness, enthusiasm, integrity for working hard, and her ability to connect with people of diverse backgrounds continues to create a rich life for this inspiring artist. http://www.mimihaddon.com
We are always looking to collaborate with passionate creatives! If you have an idea for a future workshop, let us know.