Meet the Marketplace No. 005

We started the Prism Boutique Marketplace Collection to keep our community connected and to introduce our customers to local artists from across the country at a time when we feel so far apart. 

We’re so excited to introduce you to the next round of independent makers featured in our Marketplace. From totally unique ceramic light fixtures to a bff-run textile brand, the thought and care that goes into each piece crafted by these artists is truly incredible. 

Get to know the talented women behind each featured brand of our new Marketplace Collection and show your support any way you can.

 Meet the Marketplace No. 005  Meet the Marketplace No. 005Meet the Marketplace No. 005

Ali of Ali White Lightning

When did your journey with ceramics begin?

Since my college days, I've experimented with a lot of different sculptural mediums but I wasn't completely sold on ceramics at first. It's a humbling medium - things crack or come out differently than you expected - you have to learn to be patient. But I fell in love with the tactile nature of handbuilding and really dedicated myself to it the past four years. In that time, I slowly increased in scale, going from making little vases to full-size lounge chairs and floor lamps out of clay. Going to the studio was my post-work treat. I never thought it was possible to make it my day job. In early 2021 I took the plunge and it has already been a hugely educational year. I wouldn't trade it for anything!

Your lights are so unique. Tell us about your creative process.  

It all starts in my sketchbook. When I sit down to sketch, I usually make at least two dozen drawings and if I'm lucky, one or two of those drawings might become a lamp or vase. I revisit and rework drawings and many ideas have been gestating for months. I know a piece "works" when I can see that it has a personality and a certain dynamism. The human touch is integral and I leave fingerprints as I work. I'm big on color and am constantly testing new glazes. My aesthetic is always developing and evolving - there's no greater high than making a new piece that feels just right.

Where do you get most of your inspiration from?  

I get inspiration from objects in nature with texture and sumptuous curves; pillar coral, lava tubes, cacti, and rock formations in Joshua Tree National Park. In the art world, my biggest influences are 20th century abstract sculptors Hans Arp, Otto Freundlich, and Barbara Hepworth. 

Meet the Marketplace No. 005  Meet the Marketplace No. 005Meet the Marketplace No. 005

Kara of Kara Firstenberger 

When did you first start creating art?

Gosh, I can’t think of a time when I WASN’T creating. My favorite part of preschool was the giant easel, cups of paint and seemingly endless roll of paper. Around the age of 8, I took weekly classes with a local artist. It felt magical being in her little light filled home studio. She allowed me to experiment and patiently helped me work out my ideas. My creative curiosity grew from there.

Tell us the process behind your paintings.

Most of my paintings form organically. I often start with a single shape in mind and then let the rest free flow from there. It’s my own personal form of meditation. When I do sketch ideas ahead of time, I like to use the Procreate app on my iPad. I also enjoy creating flat lays of actual objects and nature finds. I call them composition studies and take photographs to refer back to for inspiration.

Where do you find inspiration?

My family and I live in a little coastal town in Southern California. The palm trees, eucalyptus leaves, sandy beach hues and sweeping views of the local lagoon all inspire the work that I create. I’m forever collecting bits of nature and my two little ones love to help. We keep wooden bowls of our favorite stones throughout our home and like to display vintage glass boxes full of our treasures. I will often place a few of my most recent nature finds next to me while I paint. 

Who are your favorite artists to follow?

My current top three are all female abstract artists; Kaleen Cameron, Joy Kinna and Sarah Delaney. Kaleen Cameron creates stunningly soothing textural art with a muted palette of plasters. She shares glimpses into her process, including building her own beautiful wood frames. Joy Kinna’s paintings are a perfectly balanced mix of large sweeping movements and small intricate moments. Her most recent neutral collection sold out in mere minutes. I enjoy peeking into her studio life. Sarah Delaney’s art is a must see. She works on multiple canvases and sews together carefully chosen pieces to create each final work. Her soft colors and bold marks blend to create the loveliest visual experience. 

Meet the Marketplace No. 005  Meet the Marketplace No. 005Meet the Marketplace No. 005

Fran + Danica of Current Shapes

Tell us a little about each of your backgrounds and why you wanted to start this brand.

We met each other at CSULB in a Pattern Design And Textile Printing class. Danica was a Fiber Arts student and Fran was a Graphic Design student. We both instantly connected over our love for mid-century design, for bold and playful patterns and colors, and we both fell in love with the process of designing patterns and screen printing on textiles. Printing yardage allowed for endless opportunities to sew colorful funky textiles into whatever we could imagine. After college, we wanted to continue to design and print, so we set up a DIY printing table, got some screens and some fabric and continued creating. We did that until we decided to make it an on-going project and gave it the name Current Shapes. Creating together always felt natural and starting this brand together did too - it was something we dreamt of and talked about from the beginning. We see Current Shapes as an oath to be students forever – to always experiment, try new methods, learn new things and share our findings.

What's the best part about working with a partner?

The best part about working with a partner who is also your bff is that it never feels like work. We are constantly bouncing off of each other’s ideas and excitement and it keeps the whole project feeling alive. At this point we both understand each other’s strengths and that’s so helpful for dividing and conquering different tasks, but more importantly, to learn and develop in areas that we might not feel are our strongest suit. We’re constantly learning from each other and sharing different perspectives and approaches to projects.

What's one print you're really loving right now?

We’re really loving our latest print, the “Stained Glass” design. The idea for this print was born from a literal stained glass project that Danica was working on. We were looking at arches and leaded stained glass windows and came up with this bandana design, but when we knock-out the frame around it, we get a perfect step-and-repeat pattern to print yardage. When we can create a pattern with that kind of duality, it feels like a victory. It’s also a pattern that feels appropriate for a garment or a home accessory.

We’re so excited to work with and support these makers who continually inspire us. If you’d like to get to know their work further, check out their websites and give them a follow on Instagram. And make sure you shop our Marketplace Collection.

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