The ArtisanaWorks Story
Artist and designer Carol Tate is always on the hunt for new materials. She can often be spotted scrounging through neighborhood garage sales, perusing flea markets and local thrift stores and shopping estate sales.
She’s even been known to dumpster dive on occasion.
Despite her garbage-collecting habits, Carol is a classy lady with a degree in fine arts. She is also the creator of Artisanaworks, an online shop where she sells the creations she repurposes from her foraging: everything from jewelry to pillows.
One Woman’s Trash is Another’s Jewelry Supply
In addition to the treasures she collects from dumpsters and thrift stores, Carol gets creative with things she finds around the house.
She salvages the copper wire from old electrical cords and picks through fishing tackle and tool boxes. She’s taken apart more than one non-functioning desk lamp for the springs, washers and metal ferrules. Talk about resourceful.
Designing by the elements
Once Carol has the materials, she begins the design process. She explained to HeartSleeves that the designs for the Artisanaworks products are inspired by their individual elements, be they color, shape, pattern, surface, texture, tactile quality, or some combination of these. Carol calls it expressionism.
Keeping it ECO
Since she opened her first design shop years ago in Seattle, Carol has been creating with a constant eye to environmental impact and reduction of waste. Besides re-purposing just about everything, she uses water-based textile inks and dyes which use very little water and no harmful chemicals. Her mindset is one more designers should embrace:
To reclaim, re-style, re-purpose, and upcycle pre-manufactured materials, products, and scrap otherwise destined for a landfill is a means of reducing the waste, thoughtless consumption, and possible depletion of these resources. It is about creativity, and making conscientious and responsible efforts to re-use. It is about using processes and materials that yield no harmful, and possibly positive affects to the environment, earth, our natural resources, and all living creatures.
For years, Carol purchased old glass, metal, and bone trade beads from an African man in Seattle, and still has hundreds of beads left. She also looks for broken jewelry, vintage necklaces, brooches, earrings and bracelets for the beads, rhinestones, clasps, and chains.
How it All Started
Fresh out of Art School, Carol wound up in Eureka, CA with her then husband and young son.
“We were virtually starving artists,” she said, “and hunger has a way of igniting the creative impulses.”
So she summoned up her skills as a painter, combined them with the textile and sewing skills she’d learned from her mother the art teacher, and created a line of small hand-beaded “Munchkin” shoulder bags with bits of remnant fabrics, salvaged fringe and trims, and beads from broken necklaces. She also made quilts from the remnants and scraps of old clothes.
With her new wares ready for market, Carol packed up her bags and her family and headed to Seattle where the bags sold out and she met and teamed up with interior designer Jean Jongeward. The next few decades were spent furnishing Jean and a host of other high-end designers and their clients with textile goods.
In 2002, lusting for sunlight, Carol moved to the Texas Hill Country from where she currently she runs her web shop and continues to design mindfully from her studio.