Like many artists, exploration and curiosity run through Emma Fineman‘s veins. Her paintings are hauntingly beautiful, and since graduating from art school just two years ago, Emma’s work has landed her in countless solo and group shows, exhibitions and galleries across North America. But despite her success as a painter, over time, her desire to experiment with other mediums — coupled with her passion for handmade materials — is what led her to launch Weft + Hide.
Utilizing both sides of her creative interests — her love for mark-making and garment design and textiles — Weft + Hide offers handmade leather goods, clothing, and accessories printed in painterly designs, which often start in the form of watercolor. Rather than creating simple clothing, Emma sees Weft + Hide’s pieces as “artwear.” Each image she creates is screen-printed, cut, and sewn by hand from her studio space in Oakland, CA, where she also continues her practice as a painter.
It might be hard to believe, but her studio space is actually located in the garage of her childhood home. After she graduated from art school, Emma traveled abroad for various artist residencies (including Istanbul, Sicily and Iceland), so the decision to convert the garage into a studio was not only a cost-effective one, but a convenient solution, as she’s only home for half the year. But the process of turning a garage into a peaceful, yet functional space wasn’t an easy feat.
As a self-proclaimed tireless creator, Emma ended up constructing nearly every piece of furniture within the space by herself. “My uncle has a super-sweet chop saw,” she explains, “which I would take to my house and employ for all the larger building projects, such as my triangle shelving unit, and tables.” But as someone great with visuals, she’s admittedly terrible at math, so it took a lot of measuring, thinking and planning things out with the help of her boyfriend. Another item of importance for Emma was figuring out how to section the space for both the messiest parts of her artistic process, and the ones that require her to be extremely clean and organized. By keeping integration and her creative flow in mind, the result is a space that doesn’t feel too compartmentalized, thanks in part to the two moveable walls on casters; which allow Emma to customize her space as she switches tasks, from painting, to having friends over comfortably. Function and design aside, when asked what she’s most thankful for about her space, Emma replied: “I am most thankful that I get to share it with people that I love, and that my studio is down the stairs from my bedroom, making getting work done first thing in the morning really easy!” –Sabrina