Take a trip to Philadelphia to visit the studio of Jenny Martin, the artist (and lover of all things vintage) behind Recycled Lovers’ intricate wall hangings and plant hangers. The talented creative (one who has been working at Urban Outfitters in some form or another for the past 10 years!) took us on a tour of her space and gave us the lowdown on her artistic upbringing, her daily inspirations, and why everyone should give weaving a shot.
Photos by Michael A. Muller
Hi Jenny! How did Recycled Lovers start?
Roughly ten years ago, I started recycledlovers as a vintage shop in the early days of Etsy. It was nice pocket money and helped me learn/research textiles and garment timelines.
When did you first become interested in weaving?
Well, I've been told it's in my blood! My Dad dabbled in macrame when he was younger, so it looks like it runs in the family.
How did you first learn?
I was drawn to it as a hobby because the repetition is very relaxing to me. I purchased some old books about macramé and read up on the techniques. There are a few simple core knots that can be manipulated into a variety of styles, and from there I tried new things. I also went to a Sheila Hicks exhibit at the ICA a few years ago and was so inspired - that sealed the deal.
What’s your background in art?
I've worked at Urban Outfitters in some capacity for about 10 years, most of that doing display/set design. Throughout, I've worked on various personal projects, always looking for new ways to experiment with surfaces or fabrics. I have so many unfinished projects, but they will all have their moment.
Tell us something we don’t know about weaving!
It's so therapeutic!
Can you share some specific sources of current inspiration?
Vintage repeat textiles are always inspiring. Honestly, very simple keywords in Pinterest have taken me to so many different sources of inspiration.
What’s a typical day-in-the-life like for you?
I'm not quite yet at a "typical day", but I look forward to it! For now, I work (formally) full-time, and the rest of my weekday is either spent getting orders out, or brainstorming/experimenting with new designs.
Can you tell us 5 things you’re interested in right now?
• Curtis Mayfield - If There's a Hell Below, We're All Going to Go
• Dried flower bouquets
• Allowing humor into all aspects of life
How would you describe your aesthetic?
Clean. Currently, my styles are unbleached cotton, but I've also been experimenting with dyes.
What advice would you offer for someone looking to start down a more creative path?
As a hobby, it's always nice to make something for friends and loved ones. It's a perfect go-to gift! The handmade art industry can get a little saturated. It's important to have your own voice (ALWAYS!) before heading in directions that might seem more profitable.
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