Three St. Louis Artisans on the Rise: Woodworking, Apothecary and Handmade Bags
Each month, Guided: St. Louis showcases three artisans who bring beautiful, innovative products into the world. Below, makers Collin Garrity, Forest & Meadow Herbal Shop and Clinic, and Urban Sewing give us a peek into their creative minds.
Image courtesy of Collin Garrity.
Simplicity shines in St. Louis woodworker Collin Garrity’s designs. Garrity fell in love with woodworking in college when tasked with designing classical guitars, and has since gone on to design minimalist yet elegant furniture, pottery and weaving tools, as well as home goods such as stacking bowls, ring cones, and hand carved spoons.
Guided: Why do you value handmade objects?
When handmade items are well designed and well made out of the right material, they are relaxing to hold. They make menial tasks fun. They remind you to slow down and appreciate the boring parts of life—the parts that take up most of our day. They make those moments just a little more interesting. And handmade objects are all different. No matter how skilled a maker is, they cannot make the exact same piece twice, and there’s something reassuring about that. That’s why I enjoy making products that aren’t sexy (fly swatters and doorstops and folding tables and even Christmas ornaments), giving the design for those products more time than they might deserve, and making them in a way that might be surprising. That’s what makes it fun.
Image by Brea Youngblood/Brea Photography.
Amanda Jokerst of Forest & Meadow Herbal Shop and Clinic
Certified Clinical Herbalist Amanda Jokerst makes herbal teas, extracts, vinegars, oxymels, syrups, bitters and tonics that not only taste great—they’re also great for you. A popular regular at local farmers markets and pop ups, Forest & Meadow Herbal Shop and Clinic is launching a brick-and-mortar shop and clinic this month that will sell an extended line of products, including essential oils, aromatherapy products and bulk herbs.
Guided: What aspect of launching and running Forest & Meadow Herbal Shop and Clinic has surprised you the most?
I have been most surprised by the incredible amount of support I have received. St. Louis is a lovely city in which to launch and run a small business. Folks here truly care about supporting local business owners and they recognize the power in putting their dollars back into their communities. The other small business owners I have met are absolutely amazing; I have been met with nothing but kindness, encouragement, collaboration and genuine friendship. A business is only as strong as the community that supports it. I couldn’t do what I’m doing with Forest & Meadow, or grown how I have over the past year and a half, without the wonderful customers, fellow business owners, colleagues and friends I’ve found here in St. Louis. I am beyond grateful.
Image courtesy of Jahna Kahrhoff.
Jahna Kahrhoff of Urban Sewing
Wizard of repurposing, Jahna Karhoff uses discarded textiles to create bags and purses that are wearable collage artworks. Kahrhoff started sewing when she was 5 years old, and now brings her unique eye for pattern and texture to each bag she designs. Catch Urban Sewing at a local pop-up craft market, or request a custom-designed bag to make a fashion statement all your own.
Guided: What’s the most fun part of running Urban Sewing?
My bags and accessories are made mostly from repurposed textiles and other upcycled items that I find at antique malls and thrift shops. I especially use a lot of vintage sacks that were originally used for flour, seeds, animal feed and sugar. I’ve also used sacks from chain manufacturers, banks, the U.S. Mint and even the United States Postal Service. The most fun part for me is when customers walk into my booth, recognize a sack and share stories of how the business represented on the sack was a part of their life. Recently, a couple came into my booth and the wife was immediately drawn to one of my upcycled seed sack shoulder bags—she was so excited. Well, it turned out that her husband’s family owned that seed company and they had met there over twenty years ago! I knew in that moment that the bag is not only preserving their wonderful memories, but also our national heritage and way of life.
Featured image courtesy of Jahna Kahrhoff.