You all know there is a soft spot for ceramics and wooden objects around here at DXD HQ…but there is an incredibly extra strong pull to said items that beat to their own drum. Knotwork LA is duo that caught immediate attention (and hearts in our cat emoji eyes) on Instagram. To our delight we found these creatives were based here in our fair Lady of the Angeles, not to mention part of a newly launched general store we loved in a neighboring borough….
Needless to say the crush was further squashed into a full on love affair.
Fast forward to an enchanting home studio visit recently accompanied by a darling furry side kick named Scallion – we instantly realized what made the Knotwork LA brand (and Lisa for that matter) an instant attraction…personable warmth, sincerity in life and passion to create…. not to mention inspiration found with every glance of her indoor/outdoor working space.
This is a studio visit with…Knotwork LA!
Name: Linda Hsiao, Knotwork LA
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Tell us a little about how Knotwork LA started, was there a particular moment that helped you realize that this was a creative path you wanted to explore professionally?
Knotwork LA began almost the instant that Kagan and I became a couple. Most of our time was spent coming up with designs and object that we were interested in making. I had been working in clay for a while as a creative outlet from designing objects in the computer. Wanting to connect with materials and using my hands to make product rather than sketching objects for manufacturing. When I met Kagan we spent much of our weekends hanging out at his woodshop tinkering. Somehow it just felt right to be working with our hands and exploring how to make beautiful things.
You have a background in industrial design how do you find those skills and experiences are reflected in your ceramic and woodwork?
Much of what I learned in industrial design continuously comes into play with objects that I create. I studied at Pratt where there was a strong focus in exploring abstract 3d forms working on one until the balance of the form itself felt right. All the exercise that seemed pointless at the time, sanding and shaping a block of plaster for 6 months flash back to me every time I shape a wooden utensil. With our utensils it’s all about how it feels in your hand when you hold it and when your using it.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned launching your own creative business? What advice would you give to other makers on how to promote and get their craft out there?
Make sure whatever you begin is something you truly love. It’s going to be a lot of hard work getting it up and running. I’m still learning something every day and that’s what makes it amazing. Know what your vision is and find ways of expressing it and showing the world what it is your doing!
Your work is influenced by the Agateware style of pottery. How did you come to dabble with and customize this technique into your own unique style?
I loved going hiking and to the beach when I was younger I’ve always been fascinated by sedimentary rocks. Different materials layered and stuck inside each other. When I started playing with clay I’ve always loved the natural naked textures in the clay that were unglazed. Exposing those colors and textures were always interesting to me with some clays being sandy, some smooth and with so many different colors depending on the mineral content. I thought the best way to expose their natural beauty was for the materials to be side by side to one another showing their differences.
Where do you find inspiration and what helps keep those creative juices flowing on a day packed with filling orders?
With each slab that I roll out there’s always new patterns to explore, new combinations to try each one becomes it’s own abstract artwork that will be shaped into an object. With the creatures its rewarding to anticipate them being adopted into new homes. Sculpting each one is as their different personalities start forming never get’s old for me but fun as each one is unique and has it’s own character.
What’s next? Any dream collaborations or new techniques that you’d like to work on this year?
Our store Arroyo General is growing! There will be always be new Knotwork LA products and things from friends as well, we are trying to push the local general store aspect with more groceries, more home goods, things we love and would buy for ourselves.
Since we’ve opened I’ve been excited about designing a collection of practical well crafted home goods using local manufacturing and combining some aspects of both my love of industrial production, interest in making things locally, and a object built to last. And as we meet more and more talented makers in the neighborhood I’ve been scheming in my mind on how I can come up with some collaborations for Arroyo General.
If were writing a love story to the amazingly unique creatives of Los Angeles (and we ARE!) – Knotwork LA is at the front of the line… with Linda’s sense of collecting and perfectly displaying organic items along side creative inspirational pieces, a love for working in the outdoors, an appreciation of design paired with a strong understanding of function…oh, and how could we forget Cat Scallion (whom is as much of the process as is an adorable nuisance).
In a word…we are knotted (dare, tangled) up in love…and we hope you are too.
Next time you’re in Highland Park be sure to pop into Arroyo General for amazing one of a kind items for your home, unique local produce and market items for dinner or even take one of their amazing hands on classes!