Caroline Z Hurley is a Brooklyn-based textile designer and artist. In collaboration with Calliope, which carries her products, Hurley spent an evening in the shop sharing her personal collages, pre-selling the Holiday collection and hanging out over rose and homemade cookies.
After training a cooperative in New Bedford, Massachusetts to block-print, these artisans now act as the sole producers of Hurley’s designs. For her woven pieces, she uses families based in Guatemala, Peru, and Mexico. Hurley says,
“I believe in the cottage industry, which is why none of my manufacturers work in full-fledged factories.”
"I have direct contact with each of my manufacturers, not only to maintain a handmade quality but also because I believe that there is so much potential in America (and abroad) for a different kind of production."
“It’s just a matter of finding the right people who have the tools and the skill-sets to produce, but they are definitely out there!”
If you’re curious about how Hurley finds her manufacturers check out “Bedford,” a side business she and her colleague created to help other designers find similar means of production.
Calliope recently held a Special Collections Preview at the shop to give a first glimpse of her holiday additions and present some of her artwork. The store, usually a handsome mix of medium to dark woods and hefty metals suddenly looking like a weightless beach-scape of a hundred rugs and throw blankets ready to be aired out on a patio deck somewhere. The front doors propped open, neighborhood visitors and longtime West Villagers alike stopping in for a drink, thumbing through vinyl, and acting as DJ between records; kids running through, soliciting their parents to let them have a stab at climbing the rolling ladder, Darryl the Dog greeting almost every single guest at the front door.
“As idealistic as it sounds, we hope our Meet The Maker nights can also spark a lot more of these sort of quixotic moments. We want to bring community and commerce to the same room, making it a point to know the people that make the things we bring into our home. Maybe you’re a college student dropping in to chat with a designer, maybe you’ve just moved into your dream apartment and you’re ready to invest in an American-made “something,” or maybe you’re a longtime local and you want to know who’s causing all the ruckus…either way, come in, get comfortable. Since when has shopping for a hallway runner become such an overbearing chore? Remember, it should be fun.”
– Rosie Weingarten, Calliope