Friday, July 24

Maker Spotlight / Taylor Mauch

Allow us to introduce you to ceramicist, florist, painter, crafter, and all around darling person, Taylor Mauch! We first met Taylor last summer in a lap loom weaving workshop put on by Herron Clothier and we've been keeping tabs on the lovely things she creates ever since. But it was when we spied a few of her half moon dream catcher wall hangings in Asrai Garden, the floral shop where Taylor works, that we developed a full blown maker crush! We are absolutely thrilled that Taylor is leading our next Foxtail Gathering workshop, where she'll be teaching us how to DIY our own dream catcher inspired wall hangings. Get to know this girl and where to sign up for the workshop below!

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work.
I'm from Kentucky, but I've lived in Chicago, New York, and abroad for years, so I feel like the various places I've called home have really shaped my style and sensibility. I love color, and lots of it, but I'm also fastidious, whether working in painting, ceramics, or making dreamcatchers- sharp lines, clean edges, smooth gradations, and very detail-oriented. I think this is probably why I was drawn to this method of making dreamcatchers. I'm also greatly influenced by my mom who is a painter and florist. I started out painting at an early age, and pursued fine arts through school for a while, but it took a while to find what really suited me. I eventually was drawn to ceramics because of the functionality, and I discovered that satisfied something that had been missing for me in my other pursuits. Eventually ceramics led me into more of a "craft" arena, and I wanted to make things that could be beautiful and perhaps functional, but rooted in the idea of creating a space.

What does a typical day look like for you?
I have several types of "typical day"- one is when I'm working in Asrai Garden; that day is shared with coworkers, making floral arrangements, helping customers, listening to Beyonce or Fleetwood Mac, and basically being surrounded by beautiful things for 10 hours. It is a lot of work, but I really love it, and making bouquets definitely provides another great creative outlet. I usually come home and try to spend a few extra hours making. Other typical days are my studios days, which usually start out a bit later thanks to my penchant for morning reading and cuddling with my cat. But I'll usually work on some dreamcatchers or other little projects in the morning, and then head to the ceramics studio, Penguin Foot in Logan Square. I'll spend anywhere from 3-6 hours there and then come home and get back to whatever else needs my attention before I throw in the towel for the day. It's pretty uneventful but my time in the ceramic studio is probably the most precious and coveted time I have all week (aside from that spent in bed, of course).

What is inspiring you right now?
I'm always inspired by my surroundings, which is why I've been so influenced by the places I've lived- they really inform the art I'm working on at that time and what I'm focused on. I'm also incredibly inspired by working at Asrai Garden. Working with flowers satisfies part of that desire to make beautiful things, but to also do so in the service of others. Also, being around all of the other amazing designers we carry and constantly being tuned in to who's making what, and what creative pursuits are being followed is very exciting. I'm seeing people every day doing what they want and creating a space for themselves and their brand, and that really encourages me to do the same. I also draw a lot of influence from travel, though recently I've been pretty rooted in Chicago. However, last weekend I was in New York for a wedding, and we spent two days revisiting the Museum of Modern Art and the Brooklyn Museum, which hit me as fresh as they always do and left me excited to go home create. For that same reason, I go to the Art Institute whenever I can because I always leave feeling invigorated and wanting to do more, which can be hard feelings to hold on to in day to day life.

What do you have in store creatively in the coming months and years?
Right now I'm really focused on getting a website up and running. It's averting a lot of my time from creating, but it's important and I can't wait to have it finished. Other than that, I'm looking to branch out a bit and explore new designs and iterations in the things I make. I'd like to explore working on a larger scale as well. I also want to make a popcorn-inspired line of ceramics.

What is your favorite nook or room in your home/studio?
My favorite part of our home is the garden. Our building is recessed from the street, and when my landlord lived there, he and his wife built an amazing little garden in the front with a brick pathway leading from the sidewalk to the door, beautiful jasmine bushes and trees, tons of perennials, and dense foliage. There are tons of cardinals and butterflies. There is a little table with chairs out there, and even though it can be hard to work outside, I try to every chance I get. It can sometimes feel like not even being in the city, our own private place, and it's a huge reason I moved in to the apartment to begin with.

What is your favorite Chicago spot and why?
The first thing that comes to mind is the fern room at the Garfield Park Conservatory- I just love that room, I think it's magical and it feels great to be in there. Otherwise, for a bar, it's Ward 8, but I think that's technically in Evanston.

What do you do when you're not making?
Most of my free time is on the weekends, when my boyfriend and I will go to the Art Institute, or the Garfield Park Conservatory, or a movie, or the suburbs. I know it sounds odd, but we go to the suburbs a lot because there are some really fascinating things outside of the city and great places to eat! I feel like most people never really venture much into the suburbs unless they are from there, because it's the suburbs, and it gets a bad rap. But driving out of the city just to eat mexican food in St. Charles is pretty great. We also have a list called Great Neighborhood Restaurants from the LTH Forum, which is a Chicago culinary internet chat community. The list is approximately 130 spots, and we are working our way through every place on the list and are actually almost done!

Thanks so much for chatting with us Taylor!

You can sign up for the DIY Dream Catcher Workshop and Brunch here. And follow Taylor on Instagram to stay up to date with the lovely things she makes!

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