Three St. Louis Artisans on the Rise: Leather, Jewelry and Upcycled Clothing
Each month, Guided: St. Louis showcases three artisans whose ingenuity wows us. Below, the men and women behind Craftimatis, Stone Leather Goods and Damn Girl give us a peek into their creative minds.
Emily Cassimatis of Craftimatis
Emily Cassimatis prioritizes positivity through t-shirts and jackets screen printed with messages such as “Love a Little,” “Women Can” and “Bee Kind.” She sources pre-loved clothing from thrift stores, giving each piece a new life with a screen printed design.
Guided: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
We are most proud of how we’ve integrated what we make into giving back to the local community. Over the past year, we’ve been able to donate over $500 as well as goods to several organizations through different campaigns and donation drives. There are currently three campaigns going on, and it’s been so rewarding to see the reactions to them. Our goal is to educate about local organizations doing good work as well as to get people excited about reusing clothing, and it’s really exciting when both of those things can happen at the same time.
Stephen Johnstone of Stone Leather Goods
Formerly a prop designer, Stephen Johnstone picked up many of his leatherwork skills recreating props such as vintage leather briefcases for sets. Espousing a mid-century minimalist style, Johnstone’s wallets, billfolds and bags posses a minimalist elegance. He favors vegetable-tanned leather that’s free of toxic chemicals, making goods that will stand the test of time.
Guided: Where does the process of creating a new design begin for you?
My designs aim to be a distillation of the item’s function, condensed into the most efficient and pleasing form possible. Once I feel the goal—the intention—of the piece, I work and re-work the pattern until every aspect is both integral and beautiful. For me, inspiration can be born out of the most mundane elements in everyday life, from architecture to furniture to paper goods. My creative process develops in response to the necessary desire for art to meet utility.
Jo Worcester of Damn Girl
Graphic designer Jo Worcester brings her keen eye for detail to jewelry designs befitting a modern-day Cleopatra. Working primarily in ceramic and metal, Worcester crafts earrings that hit just the right balance between understatement and showstopper.
Guided: What part of running Damn Girl brings you the most joy?
Making Damn Girl jewelry brings me joy in a variety of ways. Being a full-time graphic designer and staring at a screen all day makes me crave to get out and make stuff with my hands. I recently moved to St. Louis from Chicago and found studio space at Intersect Arts Center in South City. I love the creative environment the team at Intersect has built out of an old school building, and it has become a great resource for the community.
On nights and weekends, I bring my dog, Cooper, crank up some music and play with clay. It’s fun to learn from the other resident artists and collaborate on design thinking and process. I’ve also built my jewelry displays from scratch using their open wood shop and free materials. Damn Girl has also enabled me to take part in the handmade community, meet other makers and connect with locally owned businesses. I hope to continue to be a part of and support the St. Louis maker scene, get more involved in events and even donate profits to local animal shelters one day.
Featured image courtesy of Stone Leather Goods.