For the second posting in the serious of 'Getting to know the Makers' I interview Lindsey Zinno of The Northern Market. Lindsey creates fiber art from cotton rope that is both practical and elegant and specializes in home goods and wearables. Every piece you receive from The Northern Market is hand made with love by Lindsey personally.
1. What inspired you to start The Northern Market (and at such a young age)?
I began The Northern Market when I was seventeen years old. It started when I learned the coiling technique from my aunt. After just making the first basket, I was truly inspired. I grew up with my mother being a very talented sewer,
along with my aunts as well. I traveled with my mother when she would teach sewing around the country but was never truly connected by that type of sewing. I always loved to create and make. I used to go to different art camps as a child and was drawn to structural art and sculpting as well as batik and felt-making. I am a very visual and hands- on type of learner and felt very connected to the process of creating purposeful, structural vessels. What made me want to begin a business making these pieces includes a couple factors:
Potential for many new designs
Cotton is a comforting, familiar textile
Complete control of the production
Each piece is unique and one-of-a-kind.
2. How has your work evolved with time and what do you see for the future of your shop?
The first basket I made was a completely different technique and style than what I create now. Rope coiling is not a ~new~ technique in the world of sewing. Many quilters use their fabric scraps to wrap around the rope and to add color tot he rope before sewing it into a basket or bowl. That is exactly how I learned in the beginning. Here is the first basket I ever made (Pictured left). When I started making my first baskets, the tedious process of wrapping and cutting 1” thick pieces of rope was so boring and not very minimalist or cohesive with my own personal style. I finally scrapped the whole idea of making baskets with fabric entirely because the color of the rope itself is beautiful in its own state. My pieces now are white with splashes of color through thread contrasting and has become very popular with other mediums for baskets as well. The process of rope vessel production is quite similar to throwing pottery on a wheel. There are many different techniques that I have learned over time and many positions and angles of the vessel during production all goes into the final result.
After I started to have increased confidence in my baskets and home goods, I decided to begin making handbags and backpacks. I wanted by pieces to provide purpose for any lifestyle and simplicity for type of person. Simple, timeless colors and shapes that allow my pieces to be used for a lifetime that only get better with time. My designs and techniques from all of my wearables were all made within my mind. I did not take any leather classes or asked handbag makers for opinions or help, I did trial and error and made each piece my own. Overtime, my work has increased in quality and confidence in its longevity.
3. How does nature influence you as an artist?
Nature has always been my main influence. I feel so connected to nature and its colors. I have the desire to capture its colors in my work. Whether it be through dying or thread colors, nature is reflected. I have been working a lot more with natural dyes and have fell in love with the color turmeric produces. The bright, vibrant yellow that almost looks artificial, comes from such a beneficial root that I also cook and consume daily for its other purposes. Indigo, hibiscus, onion skins, avocado pits—the inspiration for color is all around us.
I also like to keep cotton in its natural state. Cotton rope is made from the byproduct of cotton fabric production. The cotton rope I purchase is very raw, and at times has parts of the cotton plant within it. I am so pleased with the opportunity to find such interesting uses for the rope, which has potential to just be cotton straps and waste, but is spun into the 1000 foot spools I use daily.
4. What advice would you give a young woman who is just starting out as an artist / entrepreneur?
To be a young woman as an artist/entrepreneur, you need to have confidence and patience— confidence in what you make and pride in what you are doing and patience in finding your market and making a product that others are inspired by. You cannot be desperate for sales, and you have to learn to say no (I still struggle with this one). Your work is beautiful in your eyes and you will come across others that see it, too.