Bringing the creative community together is a mission we stand behind.
It’s also the reason why Feliz, a design pop-up sale featuring independent designers, artists and makers began back in 2012. The event focuses on carefully curating a selection of artists and their wares that range from ceramics, woodwork, jewelry and much more.
Feliz has been run by many creative women over the past five years and is currently being organized by Jenny Mulder of Sister and Sarah Murphy of Hey Murphy. We chatted with this year’s curators about Austin’s creative community, design markets, and where they find inspiration for their own handmade businesses.
What’s the backstory of Feliz? When was the first event?
Sarah: Feliz first started five years ago with Natalie Davis and Abby Powell. Since then it has traded curatorial hands and been held at different venues. This year, we’re taking things back to the origin, which was held at the Palm Door on Sabine street.
The Feliz sale looks so well curated! What went into the process of choosing designers for the event?
Jenny: Getting applications is my favorite part of organizing Feliz. Seeing the amazing work from local artists and discovering new designers is the best part! We pick the final lineup mostly instinctually, what we like and what looks good, but there are also technicalities; we can’t have 15 jewelers and 1 ceramicist! We try to keep a good balance for shoppers.
Sarah: We try and create a well balanced selection of designers and makers. We always look for designers who have a strong eye and an established aesthetic that can appeal to a variety of shoppers.
You are both participating in the sale with your own businesses. Tell me about those.
Jenny: Sister is a functional ceramic line motivated by the design and art world. The current collection is inspired by recent travels; sculptural lamps that reflect the quality of light from places like Taos, the California coast, Tuscany, and Bordeaux. Also, Sister creates some playful smoke accessories like mini bongs and lemon pipes.
Sarah: Hey Murphy is a small, handmade jewelry line that I started in 2010. All pieces are fabricated in our East Austin Studio. The collections are made up of everyday, minimalist designs that are inspired by clean lines, mixed metals, architectural design, and sculptural elements.
As designers, where do you go for inspiration? What fuels your creativity?
Jenny: For image collecting and some b-a-s-i-c inspiration, I use Pinterest. If I’m totally stuck with what to make I have a stock pile of images to pull from, which is a reliable way to get the ball rolling. I also write, which just seems to open up my brain in a way that allows me to be more creative. When I’m totally burned out or need to reset after a lazy tv-filled weekend, a long brisk walk fuels new ideas and energy.
Sarah: For me, I’ve been drawing inspiration from large scale sculpture artists and mid century metal designers, like Michele Reginaldi, Clement Meadmore, and George Jenson. I also work in the antique jewelry world and one of my favorite antique jewelry dealers sells jewelry designed by famous artists. Often they are one of kind or fabricated as a gift to a friend. Absolutely love the pieces, they are the perfect representation of art and jewelry mixed together.
Curated markets seem like a thoughtful and interactive way to bring a community together. What are your thoughts on the creative community here in Austin?
Jenny: The creative community in Austin is the most welcoming group of people I’ve ever met. There’s such a sense of collaboration and connection, with no competitiveness. Everyone seems to be growing together, supporting each other along the way.
Sarah: I’ve been in Austin for about 8 years now and it’s changed so much, but Austin has always had a thriving creative community. Feliz has always provided me with a platform to engage and connect with the Austin creative scene. The important [thing] for me is that Feliz continues to provide that for the community. We are lucky that there are other strong organizations starting to pop up. The women over at Boss Babes are just killing it! Their platform has such a positive empowering message.
Favorite way to unwind after a long week?
Jenny: For reasons completely unknown to me, I’ve started drinking Fireball Whiskey.
Sarah: Omg, it’s going to be a long winter! I kind of work all the time. Mostly I relax by going for a run or helping my husband make dinner. Also binge watching TV. Not gonna lie that I did watch like 4 hours of Stranger Things.
What advice would you give to those wanting to pursue their passions and turn them into a business?
Jenny: Test the waters – talk to people with similar interests or even reach out to the person you’re inspired to become. Hear some of the war stories to de-mystify yourself before you dive into dreamland. There’s nothing more rewarding than creating something of your own for a living, but being prepared for the hardships will help you in the long run.
Sarah: Take risks, ask for help and hustle.
To see the full lineup for the Feliz Sale, head to feliz.sale. And don’t forget to shop the sale this Sunday, November 12!
Images via @feliz_austin