For my family in Germany the four Sundays leading up to Christmas Eve have always been a time where all family members cozy up in overheated kitchens, dining and living rooms for festive meals and very looong brunches.
My mother always made sure the house was decorated with evergreen wreaths, handmade straw stars and bees wax candles everywhere [and a buckets filled with water in the corner of each room in case anything caught on fire]. With chilly temperatures and sometimes even snow-covered hills that surround our tiny town in the Kinzig Valley of the fairy tale Black Forest it has always been a time where the house was filled with the smell of freshly baked Christmas cookies, hot chocolate and oven-baked cinnamon apples and the kitchen table was packed with paper, straw, glue, thread, glitter and other craft items.
Living in Northern California, and snowy hills far away, that contemplative and festive quality time with my family is definitely something I really miss. But German friends are not far and we all make sure to connect our German roots with our California lifestyle. We gather for baking and advent brunches or teas and sometimes even for very European Christmas Eve dinners.
These gatherings are always filled with laughter and chatter and we all forget a little bit about the distance between our new homes and old traditions. Last winter, I thought there was no better reason to make a few of these fun little egg warmers that my mom always put on the boiled eggs during brunch. Until everyone was done chatting and updating each other on the latest village gossip we were easily 3 hours into our brunch. But even then the boiled eggs were still warm.
Happy Advent time everyone!
This Holiday season I would like to take a moment and give gratitude to everyone who has helped us get our business off the ground and growing.
As a way of showing our appreciation for your continuous love and support we offer a 15% discount store wide Nov. 25 + 26.
For us here at YOLOTLI this year has been an incredible experience. With the support of my dear husband I was able to complete a five-month residency with the Mexico City based fashion house Carla Fernández and was lucky enough to tour the nearly 600 year old Loden mill Lodenwalkerin Styria, Austria during a family visit.
The impressions I gathered along the way were pertinent to the direction of YOLOTLI as we were able to bring all the experiences together in two new handmade collections: The Johnna Tote Pack Collection, developed in collaboration with my husband and artist Mikey Kelly and our new Artisan Collection, developed during a year-long project with our friends in Mexico.
Without your help none of this would have been possible! As a way of showing our appreciation for your continuous love and support we offer a 15% discount store wide Nov. 25 + 26. Sign up for our newsletter to receive the code.
You were all so amazing!! We really appreciate you coming all the way to Fort Mason despite the rainy weather this past weekend and want to thank you all for stopping by our booth at this year's Renegade Holiday Fair.
We had a blast meeting you all and sharing the stories behind every single handmade piece from our small batch accessory and clothing lines.
We wish you all a peaceful Holiday Season and hope to see you again next time.
YOLOTLI will be part of the Holiday Renegade Craft Fair in San Francisco this year!
We're super excited and hope to see you at our booth at the Fort Mason Festival Pavilion
on November 19 + 20. 2016
As if I wasn't lucky enough to work with the Carla Fernandez team once I got invited to come and work with them a second time!
Here a few impressions from my last trip to Mexico City. This trip included so many experiences in my favorite Mexican fashion house. Some of the highlights included excursions to some of the most talented artisans that closely work with CF on her collections, assisting with the setup and workshops of Carla's comprehensive exhibition at the Museo Jumex, and an opening celebration of her new store in San Miguel de Allende.
More photos and impressions on Instagram @yolotlistudio!
These past 3 months in Mexico City just flew by! The days were filled with new things to learn and see. I am lucky enough to stay with my dear friends that I have known for over a decade now so the commute to work is just a shortish [15 minute] walk and quick metro ride.
The Carla Fernandez studio is located in the middle of Centro Histórico - the heart of Mexico City - and only 3 blocks away from the historic Zocalo and the iconic Metropolitan Cathedral of Mexico City. There is also just any sort of fabric, button, zipper, leather or whatever-you-might-need-for-your-fashion-project store within 1 - 5 blocks from the studio. A luxury I certainly don't have here in the northern part of the Bay Area.
The days were filled with cutting most beautiful fabrics, sewing and preparing garments to go out to collaborating Mexican artisans all around the country for embroidery, leather fretwork, bead work, weaving, knit work and other traditional crafts available.
In late September I was able to join the team to visit small indigenous communities in the neighbor state of Puebla where we started with the development of the designs for the Fall/Winter 2016 collection. The team has established creative relationships with indigenous groups all over Mexico in order to assure that the communities are able to make a living by using their skills and thus the mostly pre-hispanic traditions are being kept alive.
The days in Mexico went by so fast but there was still a little bit of time for travel. I was invited by one of the most talented Otomi embroiderers to visit her home and meet her family over the Dia de los Muertos weekend. An unforgettable weekend filled with Mexican traditions in the lush green and foggy highlands of the state of Hidalgo...
I am grateful to everyone who made this life experience possible for me, especially to my dear husband Mikey!
My Three Month Residency with Carla Fernández
It's a dream come true - I am taking a sabbatical to do a 3-month residency with my favorite fashion designer Carla Fernández in Mexico City.
After following Carla's work and career for several years I eventually got to meet her at Heath Ceramics' Boiler Room in San Francisco earlier this year where she showed her work in an exhibition called "Carla Fernández: Design Culture Mexico".
There was no question I would participate in the 3-day workshop she offered to teach to a small group of enthusiasts during the exhibit. I was mesmerized by Carla's sustainable approach to fashion. She collaborates with indigenous communities all over Mexico to create her most contemporary line of high-quality clothing, which is mostly handmade with the use of traditional techniques.
During the last day of the workshop, it was clear to me that I needed to learn more so I basically invited myself to a residency with her and her team in Mexico City. And here I am! 3 weeks into it I am getting more and more curious with every day at the studio.
But before sharing a few news from Mexico City I have some photos from the setup of Carla's new show "The Future is Handmade" in Downtown LA that I helped to install before moving on to Mexico.
Mexico is filled with traditions and century-old crafts and techniques. The team at Carla Fernández always finds a way to make use of them in the production of the next season's line so it is no wonder that bracelets made of molinillos [a Mexican wood turned whisk to stir hot chocolate] or entire garments made of rebozos [a Mexican hand-dyed and hand-woven shawl] can be found amongst the collection.
The collaborations with the artisans make sure that these old skills stay alive and get passed down to younger generations who in return see a reason to learn from their ancestors and keep their family or even community business going. This sustainable approach is a real counter to the current fast fashion movement of global brands.
Part of Carla Fernández' first appearance in LA was the signing of her book "The Barefoot Designer: A Handbook" at Decades. For the entire month of September selected pieces from her own vintage collection of indigenous clothes are for sale at this legendary vintage couture and designer consignment shop.
Obviously, we all had a lot to do before the show opening but it was a wonderful week getting to know the team and learning about the making of the collection - a pure treat to be able to help getting everything ready. I had a great time and even the breaks in-between were a pure delight - especially when my husband came to visit.
After a busy but creative and satisfying time in LA I went on with my fashion adventure and took an early-bird flight out of LAX to Mexico City.
Thank you all so much for stopping by our boot at Renegade SF this past weekend. We couldn't have hoped for a better start of this new adventure. We were overwhelmed with the positive feedback and hope we will see you again soon!
In case you are still contemplating on the perfect size or color of our super soft Merino wool hats or raw denim selvedge aprons, please check out our online store, which is now up and running, and please feel free to drop us a line anytime in case you have any questions.
We can't wait to see you all this weekend! Please stop by our booth # 262A in the Herbst Pavilion at Fort Mason. We will be there Saturday and Sunday from 11am - 6pm and look forward to meeting you all!
What would we do without best friends? Christina and Alex have been amazing helping to get this first batch of newly finished aprons ready to go on the shelves. Only one week till Renegade SF!
Nicole W. Kelly - Fiber Artist. Designer. Traveler. Owner of YOLOTLI.