Lauren Machen * Set Designer + Art Director

Hera: Favorite part about your craft

Lauren: The spontaneity of being on set and creating/collaborating with other artists. 

Most difficult part

Crazy deadlines and being a freelancer thinking I can take on tons of projects and realizing that I can but then I sell my soul to the industry and don't have enough chill time for myself, my fam and friends. Its hard to strike a balance but I am learning the power of the word “no” this year so I can say “yes” to the more important things life has to offer. In doing so, I can keep my serenity which ultimately serves to make me a better human and a better artist. 

What you like about working with your chosen medium/materials

They are ever changing. I am a gemini and get bored easily so the fast paced nature of my work and the need to create an entirely different design for each job is thrilling and satisfying to me.  I also love discovering new materials I haven't ever used before and learning to work them.

Local, women-run businesses or women artists you are loving right now

My girls Devin Pietschmann (Golden Threads Vintage), Alison Kaylor (Moon Nectar Apothecary), Kenesha Sneed (Tactile Matter) and all the other women I know who are doing their own damn thing. There are so many and its inspiring to be amongst the insight, power and independence that they all bring. 

Pump up jam you listen to while working in your office/studio

Anything that makes me feel. If Im feeling stuck/having a creative block ill get up, switch it up, dance around or go for a walk and listen to a podcast or something. 

One sentence of advice to a lady trying to start her own business

Know why you want to do what you're trying to do, make a rough map of how you plan to get there (write it out), and proceed with intention. Keep at it, it takes time. Stop comparing yourself to others. Things will happen for you in your own time, not anyone else’s.

Influences/inspiration for your work

Without sounding cheesy I really am inspired by all the people in my life. Each with their own unique voice, perspective, and approach to life. Visually I’m inspired by things in nature. Famous and not so famous furniture designers, painters, photographers, movies, architects, creatives, and other set designers. We are all a part of a huge collective of folks who just want to make stuff and share it. I also find inspiration in the materials I use, found objects at thrift stores, wide open spaces, and my own past struggles and the larger human struggle surrounding issues of race, identity, and mental health.

Fun Fact

Justin Bieber once told me I look hot in a wetsuit. Why was I in a wetsuit with the Beebs? Because we were shooting him in a huge dunk tank for a feature story. Did I get in the water with him? Absolutely not. Not because of what he said but because I knew that the only way out was for him to have to push my ass out of the tank (bc I knew didn't have enough upper body strength to lift myself out on my own) and I definitely was not going to let that happen especially not with 20-30 crew staring at us. Its a good thing I didn't go because about 10 mins into shooting he blew a giant snot rocket into the water. Gross!

For more Lauren:  Website + Instagram

 

 

Sara Ekua Todd * EKUA Ceramics

Hera: You in 3 words

Sara: Creative, open-minded, tasteful.

Favorite part about your craft

The tactility of clay, I love that I’m making something that comes from mother earth and transform it into a object or a vessel. Also the moment you open the kiln is very exciting every time, it feels like Christmas!

Most difficult part

Time management! I’m not the fastest potter, I like things to be as perfect as I can get them to be (although they aren’t) and that just takes some extra time. I’m not a perfectionist but I like straight lines and geometry. 

Local, women-run businesses or women artists you are loving right now

My dear friend Tania Enriquez is always an inspiration check out her jewelry/objects line fixed-air! I love what the Day Space Night girls are doing. Also Peacock & Co here in Long Beach, amazing to see how Stephanie’s business has grown over the years. Gotta give a shout out to my studio pals! Eloise Ceramics, Sara Pilchman, Salamat Ceramics (Hera Babe!) and Nancy Tang, they’re all amazing! I have so many talented friends it would be a really long list!

Pump up jam you listen to while working in your office/studio

Lately I’ve been listening to horror podcasts, I’m really into crime and creepy stories! But music wise I always have SolangeSampha, Kelela, Hugh Masekela, Joao Gilberto, lots of electronica and the occasional Japanese punk on rotation. Also my Spotify daily mixes are pretty spot on.

One sentence of advice to a woman trying to start her own business

Discipline and hard work. Be honest with yourself and ask for help when it’s needed. 

What you miss most about Belgium

I didn’t realize this until recently but I miss certain foods and the Belgian supermarkets. Also public transportation and walking. Oh and of course fashion… the stocksales and the vintage designer stores.

What you like most about living here

Oh man the variety of food is amazing here! There’s always something happening (although Long Beach is always in it’s own little bubble). Living by the water even though I don’t go to the beach very often I do appreciate it a lot. Meeting interesting people, this city is so big it’s amazing!

Fun Facts:

•I went to an art high school and I hated my sculpture class but now I make ceramics… pretty funny.

•I am also a photographer.

•I speak 4 languages!

•I sing a lot and recorded some songs in a studio when I was a teenager. My dad was a musician/writer who worked and toured with Miriam Makeba and Hugh Masekela (both African musicians that fought apartheid).

For more of Sara, check out her website + follow her on Instagram

Quinn Tolosa * Puppybreath

Hera: You in 3 words

Quinn: crazy sexy cool?

Where does the name Puppybreath come from?

I found a journal from elementary school that had a page titled “band name ideas” and the only one on the list was PUPPYBREATH. It made me laugh and I felt like I couldn’t let the idea die just because I have no musical talent.

Favorite part about your craft

I like things that look like mistakes which was sort of problematic working in the design world so it's been really fun to experiment by hand with different mediums or found objects and then use my design skills to bring them together on the computer.

Most difficult part

Being stuck inside all day

What you like about working with your chosen medium/materials

Using my hands

Local, women-run businesses or women artists you are loving right now

 I'm a sucker for print and my friend Christie just opened an amazing bookstore in Cypress Park called  Oof Books - it's such an incredibly well curated space and collection, I'm so stoked to have it around. 

Pump up jam you listen to while working in your office/studio

Lately it's been Wild Thoughts ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

One sentence of advice to a lady trying to start her own business

We are each other's best resources; surround yourself with other hard-working, badass females and don't be afraid to ask questions!

What dog breed r u 

Chow Chow

 Fav thing about being (a fellow) Filipina (wooop)

My inherent need and ability to feed everyone..also, I'm 900% sure we have the cutest babies so I guess that's something to look forward to.

What's next for Puppybreath?

I've been working really hard to develop textiles!

Vanesa Corbala Stutz * Polkadot Peanut Parade

Photo by fellow Hera Babe Cristina Dunlap

Photo by fellow Hera Babe Cristina Dunlap

Hera: You in 3 words

Vanesa: Creative, space-case, perfectionist

What got you into doll making

I made a doll for my daughter then realized I could turn this craft into a business. 

Favorite part about your craft

The part where my imagination turns into a tangible thing. I love to see my designs and creations come to life.

Most difficult part

All the parts that aren't creative. The business side is not my forte and to be honest, I hate it. 

What you like about working with your chosen medium/materials

Ever since I could remember I've been fascinated by prints, colors and textiles. I grew up around this stuff because my parents have owned an upholstery business my entire life. I still almost get butterflies and sometimes anxiety from going into a fabric store and thinking there's not enough time to take it all in and pick the right one. I think this is maybe a little crazy but it's true. I love textiles! Yes I do! 

Local, women-run businesses or women artists you are loving right now

Marais and Bliss and Mischief

Pump up jam you listen to while working in your office/studio

When I want to listen to music I just tell Alexa to play all the Fleetwood Mac she knows 'cause I'm a '70s babe at ❤️   But more often than not, while I'm working, I'm listening to true crime podcasts like Sword and Scale and My Favorite Murder. I guess some would think there's something a little demented about listening to the horrific details of murderous crimes while making gifts for children but I just can't stop. I'm addicted! 

Who's your favorite doll (I won't tell the others)

I would have to say I love the first party hat doll I ever made. She's so mad. I keep trying to replicate her and her grumpiness but I just can't seem to get it right! But then I did once make a pickle wearing a rainbow t-shirt with tube socks and converse on its feet. So, I dunno.. maybe that one is my favorite? 

One sentence of advice to a lady trying to start her own business

Be OK with the downs because without them the ups wouldn't be so great. 

Plans for the future?

I want to grow my business into children's wear and womenswear. Also, figure out a way to see the world, maybe not in that order.

Shiloh Schneider * Stardust Ceramix * House Slytherin

Hera: Describe yourself in one word

Shiloh: DORQUE

What got you into ceramics

I had to add more art credits in college to graduate so took ceramix then got back into it a year ago by randomly signing up for a class.

Favorite part about your craft

Getting messy enough to not be able to answer phone/textz/social mediaz -then completely go mind blank and focus on the clay. So, basically I black out.

Most difficult part

Being patient and letting go of stuff bc a lot can go wrong in the process of making a piece.
 

What you like about working with your chosen medium/materials

I love how it's all clay but changes shape throughout the whole process and turnz into something recognizable. Dirt ---ACCIO CUP! 

Most satisfying piece you've ever made

Er... maybe in class when I threw my first legit vessel that could be fired and hold coffee.

Local, women-run businesses or women artists you are loving right now

Rosie Brand  & Hellen Jo

Pump up jam you listen to while working in the studio

MuggleCast Podcast, Twin Peaks Rewatch Podcast, and A Twin Peaks Podcast: A Podcast about Twin Peaks. If you can't tell already, I'm a nerd.  On music dayz I've been liking Bush Tetras, Talk Talk, and Oingo Boingo. I can't listen to my more aggressive power metal like DragonForce or I will ruin all that I throw that day.
 

Kill, Fuck, Marry: Agent Cooper, Agent Mulder, Professor Snape

KILL ME BC TOO HARD! I volunteer for tribute! Ok ok ok I'll play by the rules this one time. 

Kill: Agent Dale Cooper sorry!! Fuck: Foxy Mulder (first season with glasses)  Marry: Professor Snape I want full access to that Potions room and Hogwarts

One sentence of advice to a lady trying to start her own business

Forget about everyone else who is "Already doing it" because no one is you and no one can create exactly what you will create.

When can we buy your pieces online!

Still working on making enough pieces to sell!! A few will be available to purchase in August at Harbor Salon in Silverlake :) 

A lil stardust

A lil stardust

MOLLY RYAN * NINOSHEA

 
Molly in her Atwater studio

Molly in her Atwater studio

 

Hera: What got you into woodworking

Molly: My mama. She was an antique dealer when I was a pup and she taught me how to restore and love furniture.

 Favorite part about your craft

Being able to use my hands and get dirty every day

 Most difficult part

Taxes

What do you like about working with your chosen medium/materials

I love going to the lumber yard knowing that all of these big splintery spidery piles of wood will become dozens of beautiful objects

Most satisfying piece you've ever made

One of the first pieces of furniture I made was my own dining table.I didn’t know much about wood then and built it out of hickory, which is an incredibly dense and difficult wood to work with. It was made with my literal blood, sweat, and tears and is enormous, heavy, and impossible to move, but is hands down the most used and beloved piece of furniture I own.

Molly's epic, immovable,  hickory dining table

Molly's epic, immovable,  hickory dining table

Local, women-run businesses or women artists you are loving right now

My ridiculously talented sister and studio-mate Kathleen Ryan

 Pump up jam you listen to while working in the studio

Every jam on “Medusa” on repeat forever

A carpenter you'd like to f*ck

Jesus, duh!      (editor's note: my pick is Nick Offerman but I respect this choice)

Advice to women trying to start their own businesses 

Tell the mansplainers at Home Depot to fuck off, thx!

Chandelier, wall sconce, and curtain rods designed and made by Molly

Chandelier, wall sconce, and curtain rods designed and made by Molly