When I travel, it is foremost on my to-do list to visit, shop and discover local artisans. It’s inspiring and provides opportunities to expand my community and score some extra special souvenirs and gifts. We’re heading to Memphis this weekend to sell our bags at the Cooper-Young Festival, so I reached out to a new maker friend Funlola Coker who hails from that spot upriver for her short list of other creatives to check out.
Funlola and I met at this past July’s Nashville Porter Flea. In a fairgrounds hall with over 150 makers lined up in neat booths, I had the luck of being stationed next to Funlola Coker and her extremely noteworthy jewelry of “littles”. She makes all of her jewelry by hand. Her little donut stud earrings feature hand-rolled and cut sprinkles of all different colors, and her tiny avocado best friend necklace cleverly let’s one half keep the seed.
Although this painstakingly accurate cuteness drew the masses to her booth (and definitely adds the FUN in Funlola’s Workshop), her more refined metal work pieces were my personal favorite. Funlola has recently expanded into this process and confesses it’s where her heart now lies. Reminiscent of printed textiles, she throws in splashes of shapes and color that break up the metal planes in such a casually hip way.
Here is Funlola’s recommended list of Memphis makers to check out at this weekend's Cooper-Young Festival. I find it so refreshing that these artists are truly blazing their own trails and developing items that can only be found coming out of their workshops and studios. I’m so looking forward to meeting them all!
Michelle Duckworth; Medieval Fairytale prints
Texstyle; bags & scarves
Femme Pots; female anatomy-inspired ceramic pots
And here are a few others I found with some online hunting that seem cool too - LATHA soaps that look like popular drinks (these would probably do great in Nola!), Philip Ashley Chocolates almost too beautiful to eat, the abstract painting of Chloe York, and gestural water colors by Beth Winterburn.
Have any additional suggestions for a traveler to Memphis? Please add them in comments below for all to see!