Interview With Alula Editions Founders Helena Keeffe and Amber Cady

An Interview With Helena and Amber From Alula Editions

If you love discovering new textile art and artists that work within this medium, then Alula Editions should definitely be on your home decorating radar. An art subscription service  featuring limited-edition artworks made from artist-designed textiles, Alula Editions provides subscribers with four handmade functional and/or sculptural objects a year for their investment of $200.

Acting essentially as investors, subscribers provide the seed money for the production of the editions, and in exchange they receive a special price for these limited-edition objects. Helena Keeffe and Amber Cady, cofounders of Alula Editions, recently took some time to answer my questions about their unique company.

CasaSugar:  How did you first come up with the idea of Alula Editions?

Helena Keeffe and Amber Cady: Alula Editions came out of our love of repeat pattern and the potential we saw in working with artists to translate what they were already doing into this form. It seemed like a potentially fruitful challenge! We were also inspired by projects like The Thing and The Present Group in terms of adding to the ways which artists' work can be supported outside of traditional galleries or granting systems. It's like a CSA for art production.

CS: Why textile art?

HK and AC: We like the fact that textile-based art can ride the line between art, craft, and function. It is exciting to think about the people who buy our editions having a rich multilayered relationship that unfolds as they spend time with them. We are also interested in playing with the history of textiles and inviting the artists we work with to find intersections between that history and their art practice.

: What inspired you about Summer 2010 artist Jason Jägel’s work?

HK and AC: Jason is an artist whose work we have both loved for many years now. Having seen some of his wall pieces and large scale drawings it seemed a natural fit to create patterns with him. Jason is prolific and a self-described maximalist so we had plenty of material to choose from as we searched for the perfect imagery for this first edition. The storytelling and sense of discovery in his work are a great demonstration of the potential we see in this approach to printed textiles.

Read the rest of the interview and check out more photos from Alula Editions!

CS: How do you choose the artists that you work with?

HK and AC: We have used a couple of approaches. We have pursued artists whose work we like and think would translate well into a silkscreened textile with conceptual underpinnings. We also put out an open call last Spring and chose an artist to work with from that process. In addition, we plan to work collaboratively with a group of people for one edition per year. This year we had a residency at the Headlands Center for the Arts [in Marin County, CA] so we invited 50 people to come come out for hikes we lead with plant specialists and make drawings. Those drawings will be combined to make our second edition.

CS: Can you tell me a little more about your collaboration with the Headlands Center for the Arts?

HK and AC: We were invited to propose something for the Project Space, which is specifically an opportunity to get the public involved in the artistic process. The idea to take people on hikes and ask them to draw plants came from our relationship with the Headlands which is a very special place to experience the diversity of plants in the Bay Area. We invited Mia Monroe, a park ranger for over 35 years, and Nicole LoBue, a local chef and herbalist, to lead these hikes and give insight into the origins, medicinal uses and identifying characteristics of the plants in the area. Hikers were given hand-carved wooden drawing pens and ink to make their drawings as we hiked. The results are beautiful and we are currently working on designing the pattern.

CS: When will the Fall edition be out?

HK and AC: We are hoping for end of November!

Artwork by Jason Jägel for Alula Editions

Artwork by Jason Jägel for Alula Editions

Artwork by Jason Jägel for Alula Editions

Artwork by Jason Jägel for Alula Editions

An example of work by upcoming Winter 2010 artist Allison Smith