Here, we ask designers to take a selfie and give us an inside look at their life.
Occupation: Owner of Haptic Lab.
Hometown: River Walls, WI.
Studio location: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
Describe what you make: I design quilted maps, coats, and kites that playfully explore the sense of touch. I’m also a maker of gentle Trojan Horses—projects that are visually striking and appeal to a broad audience, but have a profound connection to environmental themes. Themes like mass extinction (Flying Martha Ornithopter) and the climate crisis (Coastal Quilts) are often in my work. It’s okay if someone just wants a beautiful quilt and the story ends there, but I’ve found most people appreciate the deeper narrative.
The most important thing you’ve designed to date: While pregnant with my daughter, I made myself a quilt—something I actually hadn’t done before. It’s a large projection of the Arctic Circle embroidered with estimated sea ice loss over my approximate lifespan. This quilt now hangs over my bed at home; the project has become a beautiful reminder of how brief a time I have to make a positive impact in my life.
Describe the problem your work solves: My mom is visually impaired and the first quilted maps I made were meant to be used as mnemonic wayfinding tools. People collect my work now because of an emotional resonance: Quilts are a traditional family heirloom, and maps narrate the history of a family. Most of Haptic Lab’s work can be personalized with custom embroidery details, and in that way the quilt projects are very special pieces to the people who receive them. And all of the quilts will be GOTS-certified organic in the next year, benefitting both customers and the communities in India where our quilts are made.
Describe the project you are working on now: Integrating climate activism into the work of my studio! Haptic Lab became a certified B Corp this summer, a huge achievement for my team. I also trained with the Climate Reality Project this past August; I now work locally to engage other design companies in positive climate dialogue. My first project for the new year is a glacial map of Antarctica showing the alarming speed of ice sheet loss. The loss of just two glaciers, Thwaites and Pine Island, will destabilize the West Antarctic ice sheet and result in 11 feet of sea level rise. Most of us will never see Antarctica in person, but when the place is made physical via something as quotidian as a quilt, the realness of the situation becomes clear.
A new or forthcoming project we should know about: To celebrate Haptic Lab’s ten-year anniversary this September, we’re hosting our first-ever pop-up store and gallery at 287 Third Avenue in Gowanus, Brooklyn. We’ll be there from Sept. 7–28 showcasing our new collection of quilted coats and organic quilts alongside the work of our incredibly talented employees past and present. Ten years went by so fast! But I’m very excited and hopeful about what the next ten years will bring, both for Haptic Lab and the planet.
What you absolutely must have in your studio: The Alaska bear cam.
What you do when you’re not working: Spending time with my daughter, Spirit.
Sources of creative envy: Sonia Delaunay and Buckminster Fuller.
The distraction you want to eliminate: Smartphones.
Concrete or marble? Marble.
High-rise or townhouse? Townhouse.
Remember or forget? Remember.
Aliens or ghosts? Aliens.
Dark or light? Light.