I am excited to introduce a new series on Pennyweight today called Converse. I'm kicking it off with two dear women that I have the pleasure of knowing back home in Nashville, Tennessee.
Annie Williams focuses on minimal, handmade leather accessories and Han Starnes is the woman behind Josi Faye knitwear line (funny fact: I went to high school with her husband!). Both of these gals are incredible artists on their own, and recently teamed up to create a stunning home collection. I asked them a few questions about these handcrafted pieces, their creative process and what we can expect from them next.
You both seem to draw from a similar, natural and minimal aesthetic. How did this collection—and second collaboration—come about for you?
Annie: During the first bag collab, Han created a sample knit that wasn't right for a clutch, but too beautiful to be passed over.
Han: Neither of us can pinpoint the moment when we thought it'd be a good a idea to make the first piece (a rug)... but it happened. Because we both draw from a similar aesthetic, the home line felt like a natural progression from the bags and just a fun project to venture into together.
Annie: After we had a rug, I knew I wanted to start a home goods line that extended further. My best friend and business side kick, Nicole Irene, suggested we make a bedroll, and the pillow was added in to round out the collection.
This is the first time either of you have designed or manufactured home goods. How was this process different from what you typically create?
Han: These pieces are the biggest form I've ever worked with.
Annie: I think the bedroll weighs as much as Han.
Han: Like any project, we found what resonated with us the most and developed the ideas until we had the right products.
Annie: I agree. The process of designing home goods is no different conceptually than making a bag. I make bags that I would carry and so I decided to make home goods that I want in the house my husband and I are currently building.
What is your personal favorite piece from the collection? And why?
Han: The rug. I love the soft texture it adds to a room, and how it almost invites you to take a seat or nestle your toes into the wool.
Annie: Bedroll. It has a fresh shape and I never get tired of looking at it rolled up.
First, a stunning wool and leather clutch. Now, a small collection of home goods. You all are also studio mates. What kind of beautiful collaboration can we expect next?
Annie: We may hold off for a while. Han and I have to put a cap on things. In the studio, we could distract ourselves talking about new ideas all day. We have a baby idea for the next collab, but it won't be out of the bag till later in 2014.
Han: I’m not sure. Sharing a studio lends itself to many conversations and ideas, of which we are learning to harness. I think working near Annie not only lends itself to collaborations, but also helps me refine my design thinking. In fact a lot of our work reflects our conversations whether it’s a collaboration or not. But, as for what’s next—I’m not sure, perhaps some knitted leather…
Photos by Nicole Irene.