Summer Editorial

Fresh Find for the Home: Mifuko Kiondo Baskets


Combining Finnish design and traditional Kenyan craft, Helskinki-based Mifuko brings us simple beautiful baskets that are truly versatile! Mifuko means "pocket" in Swahili and was founded by Minna Impio and Mari Martikainen in 2009. They work with local artisan workshops and women's groups in Kenya to craft their line of accessories and homewares.

Whether a carry-all when you're on the go or storage for toys, magazines, blankets and everything in between, the Kiondo basket is a treasured addition to the home collection.

Mifuko shares the story of how it began and the women's groups and artisans that craft these baskets in the villages of Kenya .

Shop Mifuko Kiondo Baskets
Photos courtesy of Mifuko

Mother's Day Gift Ideas


With Mother's Day around the corner, we have special gifts just for Mom. Beautiful, useful, well-crafted- they're pieces that we hope she'll love.

Shop Gift Ideas: Marlene Huissoud Scarf / Sue Kang Tea Cups / Mute Object Earrings / Trois Petits Points Lockets / Cluse Watch / Ellen Truijen Wallet

Ellen Truijen Bags Spring Summer Collection


We've carried Ellen Truijen bags since we launched and always look forward to her collections. We're going back to basics this season with her classic styles in beautiful new timeless colors like cashmere indigo and cashmere nude.

Hipster Bag

Ellen Truijen Little Bridle Bag
Ellen Truijen 4 Ways Bag

Fresh Jewelry Picks from New Designers


Whether they're based locally or abroad, we love to introduce under-the-radar lines in our shop. It's about balancing statement making design with refined minimalist aesthetic this season. We're delighted to add the modern jewelry design from Chicago-based Mute Object as well as Scotland-based Tom Pigeon to Vuela.

Chicago-based Mute Object was created by David Choi and Namq Kang, two college friends making with a shared appreciation for clean, minimal design and diverse backgrounds in metalwork and film. We're delighted to add my fave rings and earrings from their collection!

Shop Mute Object Jewelry

 Tom Pigeon is a creative studio founded by Pete and Kirsty Thomas in 2014. As Tom Pigeon, they design simple things for people to enjoy including prints, jewelry and stationery.

Shop Tom Pigeon's necklace collection  

Interview with designer Cindy Hsu Zell of WKNDLA



We're so excited to present our first interview for the new year featuring a maker from my hometown of LA.  Get to know the experimental charming designer of the modern sculptural wall hangings and jewelry line, WKNDLA-named after the designer's fave time and place.  With a background in sculpture along with retail installations and display, LA-based Cindy Hsu Zell took a leap last year to pursue her passion full time. Her creations embody a minimalist aesthetic, yet a standout for the innovative fusion of different materials (textiles, wood, metal) and design techniques.  Rooted in creating special pieces for her friends and family, Cindy's beautiful modern designs are treasured additions to our shop.

We love your stunning modern wall hangings! How would you describe your design approach and creative process- from design, inspiration and the formation of each collection?
I like to work organically, when I have an idea I try to make it as soon as possible because no matter what I picture in my head, the final product always ends up a little different. Usually this is because I can’t force a material to do something it doesn’t want to do so I like to get hands-on early and see where it goes. I try to have a cohesive group of materials or shapes to play with when forming a collection, such as the Small Hours collection of wall hangings inspired by different times of the day from sunrise to sunset, or Perpencircular, inspired by curves and straight lines. Right now I’m focusing on making all of the small and large-scale ideas dancing around my head without an overarching theme in mind, it’s going to be a little more experimental and one of a kind!

How did you get started in designing and crafting sculptural wall hangings and jewelry?
I created the brass, wood, and natural fiber wall hangings as favors for my wedding. I wanted to make a modern version of the good luck talisman to give to each of our guests as a token of our appreciation for them coming out to celebrate our special day with us. That’s how I started designing my wall hangings, by making each piece for a specific person in mind very close to us.

Love your design aesthetic and mixture of different elements. How do you integrate and choose the materials to use for each design?
I like to work with a very neutral color palette so mixing more texture and materials came very naturally in the design process. I love the contrast of shiny brass with raw wood. I also really enjoy incorporating different techniques into my pieces, from metalsmithing to woodworking, to spinning rope!

How have your designs evolved? What's next for your collection or any new projects?
My designs are continually changing as I find new materials to work with and develop new techniques. I’m really interested in continuing to hone in on my rope-making skills and see what kinds of interesting new shapes and combinations I can make from scratch. I really want to make some larger wall sculptures and installations this year!

Any advice for others taking a leap and starting their own business in design and creating products?
My advice is to be original and kind, always.

I know it’s so hard to choose, but what are some of your favorite pieces from your collection?
My favorite piece is called Perpencircular 002 and is made of a very large piece of rope draped over a wooden dowel. This piece is the reason I started making rope myself, because I wanted to create a 4” diameter rope from scratch. It took 8 hours alone to walk the string before I spun it and several hours to dye it indigo. It is over 4,000 strands of thread thick and uses 36,000 feet of string. I can still recall every drop of blood, sweat, and tears that went into that thing! I currently have it hanging in my studio where I don’t think I’ll ever move it.

Running a business requires a lot of time and passion for what you do- on your down time, what are your other interests, passions or activities that you enjoy?
My husband Matt and I just bought a house and I love figuring out how to decorate it. The slow process of building furniture to fill it with and finding the perfect pieces to save up for is totally addictive. We also love all food and enjoy discovering new restaurants and cooking our favorite dishes. We just got a grill so we’re obsessed with making dinner in the backyard, our favorites are ribeye steak and pizza!

Fun facts about you. Secret talents? Any irks and quirks you'd like to share?
Matt and I love to watch the Bachelor, and have watched almost every season of every show from the franchise together for the last 6 years. I love all the drama but have to admit that I also cry during every finale because I’m a hopeless romantic and believe they can actually find love on that crazy show. I also taught myself how to play the ukulele so I could play my favorite songs by Beirut.

What is your personal style or aesthetic?
My style is very comfortable, versatile, and minimal. I only wear black and grey, I can’t really help it! For my home, I also love neutrals and keeping everything very clean. I don’t think any of this is very surprising or different from the aesthetic of my art!

What are some of your favorite pieces and items you collect for you or your home?
I love trading art with other makers and they are some of my favorite pieces in my home. It is such an amazing and humbling opportunity to be able to exchange my time and energy for an object that I’ll treasure forever. I also like to collect functional souvenirs from every place I travel to that blends in with the aesthetic of my home. I like to look for things like textiles, art, and ceramics that I’ll actually use and display that has a great memory behind them of the journey!

Shop WKNDLA wall hangings

 As a small business, we love to work with and support a community of emerging designers. It has been a joy to share Cindy's process and journey as she balances work, craft and life. Her organic flexible approach and respect for materials inform her stunning designs. Her advice resonates with any industry big or small and of course, in all aspects of life that "kindness" is key.  The joy, support and care for her customers and community of makers are evident in what she does. Utilizing skills from woodworking to metalsmithing, she is truly one of the sweetest and versatile makers I've met. Thank you so much Cindy for taking the time to share your craft, process and personal side! And so delighted to showcase your work and support my fellow Angeleno!

Product and Studio/Home Photos courtesy of WKNDLA

Studio Visit: Sue's Pottery Studio


There's no doubt I have a weakness for ceramics! Whether it's visiting a ceramic studio in New York or Copenhagen, it gives me great joy to pick up our ceramics from the ceramicists themselves as well as learn about the craft. I couldn't be more excited to discover the beautiful work of a group of local potters right here in my own backyard. With over 50 years of combined experience in ceramics, Sue Kang and a collective of amazing ceramicists, including Kelly Kwon and Thomas Akarawa, have been quietly doing what they love under the radar. They design and craft beautiful table ware and sculptural vessels in the California bay area.  They recently started selling them and so happy to introduce their pieces to the world! Nestled in the woods in San Jose, they welcomed me to their cozy ceramic studio which impressively houses both a gas and electric kiln. 

Sue balances teaching pottery while running her beautiful cafe in Saratoga, Sue's Cafe and Gallery. I witnessed a sense of joy, camaraderie and community among these makers, as they create beautiful objects and gather together to share a delicious prepared meal by one of the potters. One of them also brought a box of lemons shared with everyone and was so grateful for my fresh lemons that day.

Sue instructing her student.
dark clay use for the tea strainer/ potter's wheel

 I'm in awe and an admirer of the craft,as they explained the different clays, glazes, cone firings and equipment. A cup may be a vessel with a simple use. But beyond the function, it's the sum of materials, the tactile and kinesthetic aspects of the craft, combined with the intuitive creative design and time. Plus throw in the science and magic of the kiln and of course, the passion and hard work of the potter making each piece unique. As I drink out of my favorite tumbler, I'm reminded of the love and care that goes into each piece.

Kelly Kwon with her ceramic pieces
Thomas Arakawa / stoneware and wood-fired vessels

As we catch a glimpse of the process and the studio, it has always been our hope that you share this journey with us to get to know the craft and the people behind the designs that we carry. I have a sincere appreciation for the individuals and the process of each piece that we showcase. We're delighted to support and introduce the beautiful work of these charming, kind and talented group of local makers.

Shop our new ceramics!

Thank you so much Sue, Kelly and Thomas and all the potters at the studio for graciously welcoming me and teaching me about your craft. It's a pleasure and so inspiring to see your dedication and love of pottery through the years. So grateful to know all of you and learn about the process. Thank you!

Simply Vuela All rights reserved © Blog Milk Powered by Blogger