Rachel Elizabeth Jones works in the Craft and Folk Art Museum Shop doing a little bit of everything. Featuring unique, handmade work by local artists and international fair trade artisans, the shop reflects the museum’s dedication to stretching the definition of art and championing the human touch. Rachel manages the online shop and helps coordinate events like global bazaars – but her favorite part of her job is researching and writing stories about the artists the museum works with.
The Craft and Folk Art Museum Shop is an L.A. gem located on the first floor of the dollhouse-like museum, nestled among the sleek buildings of Miracle Mile. Small but mighty, the museum has been at the forefront of blending traditional folk art, outsider art, and alternative storytelling since 1965 — and our museum shop is known locally as a hotspot for one-of-a-kind treasures handmade by Los Angeles artists, independent makers and designers, and global fair trade organizations.
[Clockwise from top left: Red Grasshopper print from RococcoCo; Look Into My Chalcedony Ring from AmorOrquidea; Icicle oval earrings from sonyarasi; Porcelain mug from bellajoy; Recycled cardboard cuff from butternutsquash]
Our shop’s eclectic mix of jewelry, textiles, housewares and art books is curated by Yuko Makuuchi. For me, every day is like Christmas. One day it’s a package from India filled with recycled tin lanterns and ornate block print stamps, the next it’s meticulously fashioned silver from an artist who grew up 20 minutes away. We’re always finding new artists, especially when looking for items that relate to the museum’s exhibitions. Just recently we ordered gorgeous insect prints from RococcoCo – they complemented our Jennifer Angus show, “All Creatures Great and Small,” perfectly!
We’ve also just become home to a crash of rhinos, thanks to Cardboard Safari. The show “Love and Other Audacities” by Ann Weber shows us how cardboard salvaged from dumpsters can become something archetypal, monstrous, humorous, or even cute. Rambling Robbie lets everyone experience the joy of transforming flat, ordinary cardboard, too – and he’s just plain cool. We also love the cardboard bracelets by butternutsquash; our customers can’t get over the fact that they’re water resistant!
[Clockwise from top right: El Toro teacup from KoideStudio; Bronze and sterling dahlia earrings from eilen; Sunflower hooks earrings from SBJewelry; Hole in my heart earrings from StaceyMillerUNL; Graffiti print wallet from RecordWallets; Baby geode earrings from ateliermila; Green ball and chain terrarium from Wendiland]
One thing we’re especially known for is our jewelry. People come in looking for wearable art that’s well made and can’t be found anywhere else. Some of my favorite work is by Eilen Stewart, code name eilen. A Russian-born ceramicist and jewelry designer, Eilen recently released a line of succulent jewelry made using the lost wax casting technique. The succulents come from her Los Angeles garden, and the pieces are truly exquisite. I feel like a rugged desert princess wearing Eilen’s dahlias.
Craft and folk art is inherently interdisciplinary; merging methods, mediums, and cultures is not only accepted, but makes the work more interesting. Designer Stacey Miller uses crochet, a textile technique, to fashion her delicate necklaces and earrings. And we all go crazy for Sasha Bell’s modern tribal earrings — the geometry and size of her pieces are bold, contemporary, elegant, and not in the least bit overwhelming.
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