Passionate, talented, and informed, Taryn Urushido is the kind of artist we all aspire to be.
We got the chance to visit her studio and the first eye-catching detail we saw was her neat mood board display of indigo swatch fabrics. The room was filled with denim and leather fabric rolls and you could instantly tell that a true artisan spends a great amount of time there. Taryn began her career in accessories design, working in traditional corporate environments. During that time, she made home goods as simply a hobby. It wasn’t until she was offered a job opportunity in Boston that she decided to pursue opening her own brand.
We got the chance to chat a bit and try our own hands at making unique, one-of-a-kind home goods. From sourcing materials, to prepping, to the actual act of creating the goods – believe us, there’s a lot to be appreciated. Taryn’s passion is an inspiration to handmade authenticity and her artistic sensibility carries a genuine sense of love for her work.
View our tour of her irresistibly quaint studio space and read up on our conversation with Taryn below.
Starting at the beginning, can you tell us a bit about where you grew up and how you learned the traditional techniques of making home goods?
I grew up in Arizona, I was always “making” things as a kid. I was in an after school program and was the only kid at the table with the instructor- her name was Mary Scopa, she was 70 years old, I was 7 years old! She taught me the craft of crocheting. From there, I made everything, as soon as I imagined it, I made it.
We talked about your background being in accessories design, working for Marc Jacobs, Opening Ceremony, and Converse. What are some of the differences between working in traditional corporate environments and starting your own business?
I have had many great, crazy, creative and most memorable experiences working at Marc Jacobs, OC, and Converse. Right now, this is the most vulnerable thing I have ever done and yet—it is the most rewarding and most meditative.
“I’m focusing on circular, round, and cylinder shapes, the circle is very much a strong symbol and draws you into your own imagination”
Do you remember the first piece you made or the moment when you decided to turn your craft into a full time job?
It was a really un-even square shaped coaster made with multi-colored red, green, and white yarn. The last few years I had an interest in evolving the size of my pieces…exploring new “yarn” materials. It evolved into textile pieces either for the table (trivets) or as rugs. What I am working on is a structure to hang the rugs flat to the wall- like a huge tapestry piece.
The work you are making feels so genuine; from the process, to the materials, and colors you use. You even leave in fabric imperfections so each piece has its own unique character. Is there a direct influence for your work?
I’m mainly focusing on circular, round, and cylinder shapes; the circle is very much a strong symbol and draws you into your own imagination. I relate it back to the sun and also, there are similarities to a dreamcatcher, especially being from Arizona.
There’s definitely a mystique and charm about handmade goods and knowing that your purchase didn’t come from a mass-producing machine. Can you talk a little bit about what you think is so attractive about handcrafted products?
Right now, more than ever consumers are engaged in knowing and supporting local artist who make clothing, home goods, even greeting cards. It’s personal what you buy and even more personal when there is a story to tell, especially when adding new pieces to your own home or wardrobe or giving a gift.
Speaking about your work, can you tell us a bit about the process and how you go about making these pieces? Starting from concept to actually crafting each piece.
I am focusing on home goods; from small to extremely large pieces: jewelry bowls, table centerpieces, to large 6’ – 8’ diameter rugs. Every piece is hand cut to become a form of “yarn.” My crochet hook is oversized to match the size of my yarn and I take it from there. Inspiration is drawn from travel or current studies. I made a 5.5’ Japanese patchwork rug inspired by a combination of Japanese boro – a technique of stitched indigo patches mixed with a textile I saw on a trip to Shanghai last year.
Are there any materials or fabrics you’re particularly drawn to?
Right now, leather. I cut the hide from the outer edge to the very center – crocheting with leather is dry and not easy, but the result is beautiful. I also love wool, which I pre-wash to tighten it before I cut. I like to experiment in lightly manipulating the materials before and after they are made into something.
We know you also travel quite a bit and teach crochet classes. Can you tell us more about that?
The workshops I teach are really fun and everyone walks away surprised about what they just made, big or small, because the process is consuming, mentally and physically, but the practice is also meditative. Overall it’s a great way to share something from me and what I do and hopefully inspire people to go home and create something new – that’s what Mary Scopa gave me.
We loved the easy-going and laid-back vibe you created for us during our studio visit. What’s a day outside of the studio look like for you?
Researching new and old fabrics, and manipulation: visiting museums currently exploring sculptural ideas. I’m really into dried flowers, the natural form they take once the season is over.
What’s next for you?
Crocheted sculptural pieces, more home good pieces (not just crocheted) and small accessories.
To view more of Taryn’s work, make sure you check out her website www.Tarynurushido.com