Oh Joy

career day / a furniture maker... 16 Jul 2015

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Career Day / Kalon Studios

In our newest Career Day, we visited the studio of husband and wife team, Michaele and Johannes of Kalon Studios. I've been a fan of their beautiful furniture ever since I saw a photo of this beautiful crib they designed. When we use things in our home—like furniture—on such a regular basis, sometimes we forget the people who made or designed them. So it was a fun treat to get to see (and show Ruby) the process of what goes into designing furniture.

Together with Michaele and Johannes, Ruby made a small chair which she had so much fun making and using afterwards. Michaele and Johannes have converted their garage into a beautiful, working studio that their kids love to visit and see what their parents are up to. Here's a closer look into their beautifully designed world...

Career Day / Kalon Studios

What’s your background and when and why did you start making furniture? / We were making furniture for ourselves long before we started Kalon. The company was a natural outgrowth of our lifestyle, practices and needs. We officially started Kalon when we had our first daughter. We were unable to find a crib we liked and made one for her. We were also struggling to find a way to support ourselves in a way that we could be equal participants in the home life. Neither one of us wanted to miss out on the early years with our children and neither wanted to be stuck at home alone. We were making a few other pieces at the same time, and someone suggested that we try to sell them. It was the first time we recognized ourselves as a design team and that we could sell the work we were making together. Those pieces became our first collection.

Career Day / Kalon Studios

How did you figure out your signature style? / Kalon’s style is very much born out of the both of us, a convergence of our interests and aesthetics. It’s a true collaboration but, interestingly, not at all a compromise. A piece designed by either one of us would look very different than what we make together. What we design offers a lot of aesthetic space for different and/or changing tastes. 

Career Day / Kalon Studios

What is your dream for your brand? / For it to continue to support our family and continue to allow us to pursue our interests. For it to offer a way to rethink how things are produced, in the factory and for the consumer. For the pieces that we make to become truly cherished pieces in people’s homes. For the pieces we make to be timeless and to gain more value and meaning for the individual over time.

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Best part about your job? / Getting to make whatever we want exactly the way we want to make it. It’s amazing that we can go down rabbit holes of personal interests and translate that into a project. It makes it so that the job never gets boring. There is always something to be passionate about. Being able to work from home so that we can be a part of our children’s younger years is also very special and rewarding. 

Worst part about your job? / Having the home life, personal life and work life all rolled into one is complicated at times. It’s really difficult to draw the lines between the two. In a way, it’s both the best and worst part. Transitioning to home life, whatever that really means, is difficult. And in a word: production. 

Career Day / Kalon Studios

How do you make working with your spouse work? / We share many interests and aesthetics. We wouldn’t be working together if we both didn’t share a vision for our lives. For us, once we met, it was really about finding a way to shape a life where we could spend as much time together as possible. Now we have children, it’s extended to them as well. Our company grew out of that desire, and from the fact that we’re both incredibly stubborn people with a very strong, clear vision of how we want things to be. So, going our own way was sort of the only way.

Career Day / Kalon Studios

How do you set your work schedules around your family life? / When we started there was no separation. As the company has grown and time has passed, we’ve made a concerted effort to separate things as much as possible. The girls being in school full-time helped, and we try to keep our work day within their school hours. Once they are home, the studio doors are open to them and we make room for them so that it is their space as much as ours. 

Career Day / Kalon Studios

Career Day / Kalon Studios

I loved seeing working, entrepreneur parents in their element and how their businesses fit in with their personal lives. Their home is a reflection of their style and their work with almost every piece crafted or designed by them. It's true reflection of how design comes out of need and the pure desire to make something exactly the way you want it.

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy.}

career day / a painter... 27 May 2015

Kim West

Kim West

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

In our newest Career Day, I took Ruby to visit the studio of Kim West, a painter living and working in Downtown Los Angeles. We came across one of her amazing murals recently, and after that I had to see and learn more about her. So one afternoon, I picked Ruby up from school and said "We're gonna go paint at an artist's studio! You can paint right on the wall, and it's okay if your clothes get dirty." She was more excited for this then the day that puppies came to our office.

The minute you walk into Kim's studio, the saturated colors, beautiful line work, light, and wit come through in her work and in every inch of her space. She's warm, kind, and as the mother of two kids...she armed Ruby with a paint brush, paints in every color, and gave her an afternoon to remember. Here's a little more about the life and work of this amazing painter...

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

What’s your background and when did you start painting? / I was taught to hold a paintbrush before I learned to walk or talk. Though she's semi-retired now, my mom is an art teacher and art historian, and as such, creative play and art education were a part of my daily childhood for as long as I can recall. And still, though I always found painting and making things to be as natural and necessary as breathing, I never labeled myself as an 'artist'. This changed for me when, at the end of my first year of a pre-law schedule at a Smith College, I decided to transfer to the painting department at Rhode Island School of Design. In every sense of the word, that choice was a relief.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

When/how did you figure out your signature style? / My work is essentially the result of an on-going series of responsive investigations to what is happening around me, and so it’s continually evolving. In all of that, it is fair to say that strong, emotive color is a constant for me, and the use of it is a thread that connects disparate bodies of my work together. 

Kim West

Best part about your job? / My first summer job at age 10 was working on an assembly line in a fertilizer plant. Throughout college and for a while after, my jobs were mainly in restaurants and bars where I waited on lots and lots of tables. Most of these jobs ranged from truly terrible to blah, but the experience of them serves as a reminder to recognize that as a painter, I never feel like I am working a job. Although painting is work, and that work can be hard or stressful or frustrating at times, in general it’s also my sanity and without the ritual of its’ practice I am sad and lost.

Worst part about your job? / On a bad day, feeling like a teeny drop in the gigantic art-world bucket.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

Favorite Day of the Week? / A Sunday/Monday crossover. I love Sundays with my husband and children - starting out lazy and then spending time outside with no agenda other than to enjoy the day and see where it takes us, typically for a hike, heading to the beach or a museum, or seeing friends. Mondays in the studio make me happy because even though the week is only 5 short days, on Monday it seems long and possible to fit so much into those hours.

Kim West

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

If there were two of you, what other type of business or job would the other Kim have? / At this point, I can’t envision being anything other than a painter. But I would definitely consider a clone.

Kim West's Studio

Favorite artist? / Forever and ever...Alice Neel, Cy Twombly, and Helen Frankenthaler. Recently, Mary Weatherford. 

Kim West's Studio

One thing that has happened in your career that you never expected? / I didn’t set out to paint murals; that was set in motion over a chance encounter regarding bathroom paper products.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

One thing that has happened in your career that you completely expected and had hoped for? / I have always expected and hoped that at the end of each work day, I would feel satisfied with at least some of the day’s progress, and would leave the studio excited to return for more. I am grateful to report that happens almost every day.

Career Day at Kim West's Studio

At the end of the afternoon with Kim, we had to take off Ruby's romper since she was covered in wet paint. She walked to the car in just her undies and said, "This was the best day ever!" Thanks so much Kim for sharing your world with us!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy. All art by Kim West.}

girls holding flowers... 30 Apr 2015

flower girl by Luisa Brimble

flower girl by Luisa Brimble

flower girl by Luisa Brimble

flower girl by Luisa Brimble

flower girl by Luisa Brimble

...a gorgeous series by Luisa Brimble.

career day / a kid's clothing designer... 18 Mar 2015

Ultra Violet Kids

I love getting to expose my kids to so many cool jobs that exist out there. Whether it's through my community of entrepreneurial friends that I surround myself with or the people I get to meet through my job, I always enjoying showing how anyone can create a job for themselves from scratch.

Inspired by that notion, I want to start sharing with you some of the people that I'm lucky enough to come across. People that have cool jobs—jobs that aren't typical, and jobs that come from a true love of what they do. It's like career day at school but with a twist! 

Ultra Violet Kids

Ultra Violet Kids

Today, I'm sharing a peek into the world of a kid's fashion designer, Michelle Chaplin of Ultra Violet Kids. I came across Michelle's clothing last month and instantly wished the clothes she made came in my size. They're edgy yet comfortable and combine bite-sized pieces with great prints (I mean, that mini crop top?!? I can't even...). Here's a look at her Los Angeles studio and a few fun facts...

Ultra Violet Kids

What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up? I have always known I wanted to be a fashion designer.

Ultra Violet Kids

What’s your background and when/why did you start Ultra Violet? For the past 15 years, I have been working as a women's contemporary designer. I have worked for other companies making their visions come to life as well as having my brand, Smoke & Mirrors, with Emily Harteau of Our Open Road.

When my daughter, Violet, was born I was happily unemployed and started a little Etsy store selling vintage kids clothing. For Violet's birthday, I made her a crop top and harem pants out of African fabric. All of my friends loved it, so that's when the light bulb in my head went on. I secured my domain, started branding, picked up my first account, and that was the beginning of Ultra Violet Kids.

Ultra Violet Kids

When did you know you had something good? I knew I had something special when customers started buying the clothing, giving me positive feedback, and when press and stores started contacting me. Instagram has been so crucial in the growth and awareness of Ultra Violet Kids. I get to see all the pictures of kids wearing their clothing, and it makes me extremely proud. My mom jokes that I always said I wanted to clothe the world but I didn't say what size.

Ultra Violet Kids

Best part about your job? The best part of my job is designing and creating fashion.

Worst part about your job? The hardest part of my job is managing production.

Ultra Violet Kids

Style muse? My daughter Violet is my muse and inspiration.

Ultra Violet Kids

What do you hope the brand will become someday? I dream of being able to grow the company, giving back, and expanding into women's again. But right now I'm happy with growing it organically. I hope that Ultra Violet Kids becomes a recognized brand that you can always count on for fashion forward, quality clothing that's made in the USA. 

Favorite ice cream? I love ice cream! Gold Medal Ribbon and Almond Fig Gelato are my favorites.

Thanks so much Michelle for this look into your world!

{Photos by Casey Brodley for Oh Joy except the two photos of the kids by Lauren Moore for Ultra Violet Kids} 

lessons learned / from my favorite makers... 22 Jan 2015

Shop Small Makers

In the past few years, there’s been a huge resurgence in handmade goods and the appreciation for the people who make these one-of-a-kind goods. In partnership with American Express in support of the Shop Small® movement, here’s a look at a few of my favorite makers right now whose work I personally love wearing or having in my home.  Also, because I love hearing how small business owners evolve over time, I asked each of them one thing they have learned as a small business owner...

Continue reading " lessons learned / from my favorite makers... " »

comfort food... 2 Sep 2014

Monica Ramos Comfort Food

Monica Ramos Comfort Food

Monica Ramos Comfort Food

I've been under the weather for the last few days, so these illustrations by Monica Ramos just make me laugh. I'd love to be diving into a donut or sleeping on a giant piece of bread right about now...

face the foliage... 19 May 2014

Justina Blakeney / Face the Foliage

Justina Blakeney / Face the Foliage

Justina Blakeney / Face the Foliage

Justina Blakeney / Face the Foliage

Justina Blakeney / Face the Foliage

Have you guys seen these?!? My friend, Justina, has the coolest series right now on her Instagram called Face the Foliage. It seriously blows my mind with whimsy and makes me smile every single time I see a new one...

because i love popsicles... 30 Oct 2013

Sean Mort | Popsicle Print

Sean Mort | Popsicle Print

Sean Mort | Popsicle Print

 ...and because I'm in Mexico where it's 95 degrees, these popsicle prints by Sean Mort make me all kinds of happy right about now...

paper to petal... 12 Aug 2013

Paper to Petal by Thuss Farrell

Paper to Petal by Thuss Farrell

Paper to Petal by Thuss Farrell

I've long been a fan of Thuss + Farrell, an amazing husband and wife duo who design, style, photograph, and art direct. Their their newest book, Paper to Petal, is like eye candy full of the coolest projects showing how to make amazingly gorgeous flowers simply from paper. Here's a peek at some of my favorite projects from their new book which is now available for pre-order...


{Photos by Thuss + Farrell}

{hers & mine} with hedley & bennett... 8 Aug 2013

Oh Joy aprons by Hedley and Bennett | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy aprons by Hedley and Bennett | photo by Bonnie Tsang

After our trip to the Hedley & Bennett studio, Ellen put together our custom aprons and came over to show us how to tie the ribbons around the front (to hold extra towels while you're cooking). Ellen and Ruby had a great time making some very fancy dishes in Ruby's little kitchen.

Oh Joy aprons by Hedley and Bennett | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Oh Joy aprons by Hedley and Bennett | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Ellen chose a Japanese denim for my apron because I'm currently obsessed with chambray right now, and this is like the apron version of my current favorite shirt. Since I wear so much pattern on a daily basis, we added just a touch of pattern as a nod to Ruby's striped apron.

Oh Joy aprons by Hedley and Bennett | photo by Bonnie Tsang

Ruby's striped apron is also made from Japanese denim, and Ellen topped off both of them with a muted red strap as a nod to the color ruby. ;) And the coolest part—Ellen is selling a limited batch of the Joy and Ruby apron styles (or as a set) she made for us over at Brika.

P.S. The team over at Brika (who support makers just like Ellen) and Madewell (one of my favorite clothing brands) are offering a special opportunity for one lucky person (and a guest!) to win a trip to Austin to meet a Brika maker, collaborate on an exclusive art print, get a Madewell shopping spree, and stay at an awesome hotel. Click here to check it out!

{Photos by Bonnie Tsang. Special thanks to Ellen Bennett. This post is in collaboration with Brika and Madewell. Ruby's outfit: top by Tea Collection (past season), leggings by My Moon. My outfit: Top by Madewell (past season).}

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