Lindsey Smith believes in American made goods. She is inspired by people who take time and care to craft their products and believes that the work shows through. To highlight these makers, she started Makers Workshop, a website focused on quality handcrafted goods and the people behind them. Her photographs speak to her love of the process.
Learn more in the interview, after the jump.
Photos (C) 2015 Makers Workshop
How did Makers Workshop come to be?
I started Makers Workshop nearly three years ago when I was working as a buyer. I was going to these trade shows and it felt soul-less on both ends. Everything had a gimmick, was made overseas, and the sales rep knew little to nothing about the product in front of them. I remember I met Margaux Kent of Peg and Awl and a few other folks like her and felt like I was privilege to a secret finding them amongst the mass produced goods. I wanted to run out of the building shouting in exclamation! My fast heart beat and admittedly sweaty palms told me THIS was how it should be. Makers Workshop is a way for me to share their story in a deep way. I marry my love of craft, the outdoors, and my background in visual styling to offer dynamic storytelling for the brands I partner with. It’s what I’m meant to do. It’s what I love.
Your photographs are all about the details, the perfect complement to well-made goods. How do you tell a story with your photography?
I think of it as a visual pause, a moment to notice something that might otherwise go unseen. There’s so much noise in our lives now with social media and the internet. Even I need to be reminded to notice the little things while I’m mindlessly scrolling through and double tapping photos because there is a real story there. These people are spending hours of work and love poured into a thing, devoting their lives; That cannot be seen from far away or in a sterile product photo, and it’s something that is extremely personal. You ask yourself, “what does this make me feel?” or you capture it in a real unself-conscious way. The thing itself already has the story built in.
How has the American-made field evolved in the 3 years since you founded Makers Workshop?
We are seeing a greater awareness. People are really paying attention. But, it’s not just about someone hastily whipping up a product and slapping “Made in America” on it, it’s about mastering a skill, digging into that thing and being great at it. What I’ve seen is people who pollute the industry as if it is some fleeting idea that they can take advantage of. It isn’t. We aren’t coming up with some grand scheme here, this is something that was being done long before us. We are just smart enough to recognize that it was good, really good, and these skills and qualities of craft should be preserved. People are longing for that connection to the land, life, and what they are buying. It can be a really beautiful process if you consider the entire lifespan of the thing.
Why do you think it’s easier to find American menswear? Who’s your favorite maker for women?
Women have a history of faster fashion I think and with a triple digit investment it has to be more than a trend. Men are lucky there and that’s why I’ll always borrow styles from the boys: it’s simple, durable, and can still be made beautifully. I love Nashville’s Elizabeth Suzann’s approach to womenswear. She is really getting it right with her silhouettes and overall intentional function of every piece.
What 3 items would you take with you for a walk in the woods?
I suppose I should say my camera but sometimes it’s nice to not live through a lens and truly be in a place. I would bring:
My Frost River pack – it goes everywhere with me.My knife. An Honest Alchemy bandana – I carry one with me every day but, in the woods I use it to collect rocks, leaves, moss to try and capture where I am and share with my son, Oliver.