Wow, wow, wow! We are so honored to be mentioned in not just one but FOUR magazines this month! Thank you to Country Living Magazine, Better Homes and Gardens, Sunset Magazine and Garden Magazine for featuring us. We were even named Top 100 Creatives of the country by Country Living Mag. Still pinching myself about this!
I partnered with JOIN to host a weekend-long holiday market at Neighbor in Oakland this December for all your shopping needs. Come support some wonderful independent makers and creators and prep for the holidays!
The opening party is Friday, Dec 1 from 5:30 - 8 pm.
Tacos by Oscar Tacos | Drinks provided by Neighbor
Weekend Hours: 11-6pm Sat / Sun
Sunday Afternoon Pop-up with Steep Tea and Florals by Eothen
In June, I put up an ad on Craigslist asking if anyone was interested in filming a couple of DIY carving videos for me. The Craigslist God's were in my favor because I was approached by Maya Pisciotto and Fabián Aguirre from motion picture company, The Understory. Their work blew me away (see their reel below!), they had an amazing eye for detail and a beautiful aesthetic. I was delighted to have even been approached to work with such a talented duo for my project. We created 4 videos together that go along with my new book, Carve: A Simple Guide to Whittling. They took my idea and made it into a reality, one which was even better than I imagined! They, of course, were amazingly talented, but also very professional and fun to work with. In honor of being so inspired by these two, I thought it would be fun to do a little Q & A with them that shares their process and more of an insight behind their work.
Enjoy the interview and don't forget to watch the DIY Video's we made together!
1. Why did you start working with film?
FABIAN: I started out working in biology and conservation, but I always had a strong affinity for the visual and performing arts, particularly photography and film. Motion pictures allow me to bring science and art together in ways I never could have accomplished individually.
MAYA: As a kid, my dad used to make up stories to tell me on long car trips and around the campfire. I was always fascinated by them and would always ask for another as soon as one ended (poor guy). I have also always been obsessed with making things - drawing, cooking, crocheting - you name it. I think I got in to working with film because it allowed me to have a hand in making a story and as a musician, it allows me to do many of the things I love in one place.
2. What do you like about collaborating with artists?
FABIAN: Taking on a project is a bit like going to graduate school each time— we immerse ourselves in the life and work of incredibly talented people and, with that, grow immensely. Filmmaking in itself is a collaborative process, but documentary-making in particular, provides us with an opportunity to learn from masters of their craft like you. I think we have one of the best jobs in the world.
MAYA: The best part about collaborating with artists is that they make you approach a project differently than you might on your own. Being forced to think in new ways, in my opinion, is often what creates the most intriguing work.
3. What is your favorite part of the process?
FABIAN: As a cinematographer, I enjoy the process of capturing images most. Maya and I are fortunate in that we both do everything ourselves— like a tiny production powerhouse-- but she’s a much better editor than me, so I’m most comfortable behind the camera. On the other hand, seeing the story unfold as Maya cuts it is a very exciting part of the process.
MAYA: I like everything about making films, but I especially like editing. It’s the longest part of the process and it can be tedious, but it’s the place where I get to be the most creative. I like the challenge of being given a bunch of pieces and having to figure out the most interesting way to put them together.
4. What is your favorite film?
FABIAN: I was hoping you wouldn’t ask that. Such a hard question! As with music, my taste is fluid, but I love documentaries, especially now that technology has been democratized and most people are able to make incredible (looking and sounding) films with a limited budget. I love all landmark natural history programs from the BBC (anything with David Attenborough or Professor Brian Cox), as well as documentary series like Chef’s Table. I’m not sure I can give you a favorite film, but if I had to choose one right now, it would be Alfonso Cuarón’s “Children of Men” given its current social, political and environmental relevance. It’s a poignant metaphor of our time.
MAYA: I like too many films to have a favorite, but a few I’ve enjoyed recently have been Volver, Wolfpack and Chasing Coral - any film that swallows me whole and makes me think. I also love listening to stories on Radiolab, Snap Judgement and This American Life.
5. What is your favorite hiking spot in Marin?
FABIAN: My favorite hiking spot in Marin, at the moment, is Tennessee Valley, especially near dusk. It’s an easy hike and provides a multitude of habitats representative of the region— from coastal prairie and chaparral, to oak forests, wetlands and, of course, access to the ocean. We often see owls, newts and snakes, bobcats and sometimes even whales and dolphins.
MAYA: There are so many beautiful places to hike in Marin! I’m currently in love with Tennessee Valley, but Abbots Lagoon, Heart’s Desire , and Slide Ranch are close seconds.
We had a lot of personal projects happening in the studio this past summer. My book, Carve was coming out in August and I knew there would be a wave of new carvers hungrily awaiting to tackle this amazing craft! I wanted to make sure that people understood how to carve and use all the tools properly. So we partnered with the amazing team at Understory to create 4 videos that taught you what to do to make 3 projects from the book: the spoon, river stone & the fork and knife. Plus a bonus video that shared carving techniques on how to use both a Japanese spoon gouge and whittling knife!
Each video now comes with the respective carving kit, or you can buy them individually in the shop. The Understory made a super great Trailer for the videos as well, so you can see each project you can make! Check it out and see our interview with The Understory Team, Maya and Fabian here.
Tickets go on sale this friday 7/28! Sign up to our newsletter below to get first access to tickets and events of the tour!
Proclaim was born from the frustrating experience of shopping for the perfect nude bra as a woman of color. Anyone who has gone through this has probably realized the same thing we did; the fashion industry has a narrow definition of the color “nude” and it does not include millions of women.
When I was asked to take part in representing the new nude lingerie company, Proclaim, I was both flattered to be asked and in awe of how the founder Shobha Philips was putting this whole campaign together. She brought together 6 gorgeous women of different ethnicities and types of bodies to showcase her new company lingerie Proclaim. A Lingerie Company! Not exactly your typical representation! She is pushing boundaries on fashion and changing peoples minds on what nude should look like. Not only do they have 3 beautiful different color tones, but all of the bras are made here in San Francisco and from a fabric that was once plastic bottles. We here at Melanie Abrantes Designs are always supporting sustainability and especially in a world of fast fashion. So I knew, even as uncomfortable posing in a bra would be hah, that this was a company I had the full support of!
See more images from the shoot and learn more about Proclaim below!
BRAS FROM BOTTLES
Our fabric is made out of 100% post-consumer recycled plastic water bottles and is manufactured in the USA. Plastic water bottles are made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is BPA-free. In the recycling process, the bottles are sterilized and turned into small flakes. These flakes are then heated and spun to form strings of yarn which are knit into our recycled polyester (rPET) fabric. These fibers are certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS) for recycled content claims and have received the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 certification, ensuring that they are free of harmful levels of more than 100 restricted chemicals.
By using recycled polyester we are diverting plastic from landfills, where bottles are estimated to take up to 400 years to decompose. In addition, we are reducing the reliance on natural resources such as petroleum which are used to make virgin polyester.
I am so excited to announce that JOIN just opened a storefront in Seattle! We are so honored to have our goods in this space. Sallyann and Joe from fruitsuper are heading this new venture for JOIN and they did an amazing job! The JOIN Shop is filled with all American made goods from stylish accessories to gorgeous furniture. The shop features over 50 independent designers and makers around the US. JOIN is proudly bringing a platform and home for these beautiful objects. Starting August 2017 they will also be adding events, workshops, and classes to the calendar to further connect the hand of the maker to the beautiful objects in your home. Including a carving workshop with me in September that will be a part of my book tour!
If you're in the area, please go check it out and support this new local gem. They would love to see you!
400 Fairview Ave N, Suite 102 | Seattle, WA
WOW! Only a month away until Carve officially debuts! I am so proud of this book and I can't wait to share with you how to make all of these new projects! Book tour and workshops will be happening in the fall! Make sure to check the calendar to see if we are coming to a city near you!
About Carve: Whittle a beautiful spoon, comb, pair of dice, and more with this fresh introduction to a folksy craft. Carve modernizes a mindful hobby that people have turned to for generations to help them slow down, relax, and connect with the outdoors. Choose from a dozen projects with bespoke details, all are designed to be useful at home or while camping. And because these objects are small, they require only a few hours and a tool or two to complete. You'll also learn how to choose the right knife and wood, helpful information on techniques and safety, and tips for refining, personalizing and maintaining your piece. Whether you're headed to the woods or just to the porch, this pocket-sized guide will have you carving your own unique designs in no time.
West Coast Craft and Campari America invited me to be apart of the first installment of their Aperitivo Series, Artists and Makers. I was on a panel with other artists and designers discussing what it was like to be in this community and how we run our businesses. It was a great night full of interesting discussions and delicious food and drinks. Campari made their signature drinks and WCC provided a beautiful array of snacks.
Please check out the images of the panel below!
Megan Shimek's beautiful wall hangings.
Cocktails by Campari America
Guests mingiling before the panel discussion.
Kristen Phillipkoski moderated the conversation between us artists, Meghan Shimek, Sam Culkins, Shawn Kam, and Morgan Schick, about our creative practice, and how San Francisco inspires our craft.
My cork planters on display for the show!
Our moderator and fellow artists!