We spent some time in the studio with Lainey Wright, the creative behind Weather & Story, our leather-working partner. The Weather & Story studio is a small workshop built behind Wright’s home. Even though she only walks a few steps to make it to her studio, entering that workspace gives her the freedom she needs to create the simple and beautiful pieces in the Weather & Story collection.
The Weather & Story brand was inspired by a passion for hard working people with good stories. Their mission is to create beautiful and functional pieces that give the customer freedom to live out his or her story.
“I’ve always been drawn to classic, beautiful pieces that are also functional, meet a need, and fit seamlessly into my lifestyle,” Wright said. “I want to create pieces that don’t add just more stuff to people’s lives, but instead fill a certain space and meet needs in order to allow more space to really live.”
Wright designs her pieces by first sketching them out on paper, then jumping in to creating and testing out an item. “Once I have a grasp on the basic idea, I usually just go for it,” she said. “It’s often a trial and error process. After I finish a prototype, I’ll use the piece for a week or so to try it out and learn where I can improve the design, then go back and tweak as needed.”
Wright devotes time to selecting high-quality materials that are ethically sourced. “It is important to me to make sure the materials I’m using are responsibly sourced, so I’ve done and continue to do a good amount of research before making these decisions,” she said. “For quality, I always sample materials from a few different sources in order to see and touch and feel confident with leather or hardware before purchasing.”
Wright’s creativity was cultivated during her childhood. Her mother is a writer and musician, and her father is a “start something from nothing” entrepreneur. Wright said having this family support gave her the confidence she needed to “take the risk of creating”.
Wright is also a musician, and her love for music plays out in her time in the studio. One of her favorite parts of the day is choosing the right music to listen to while working. When she is working she likes to leave her phone and computer behind to clear her mind and make space for fresh ideas.
“I feel the most free creatively when I’m outside, away from computers and phones and the bustle of life,” Wright shared. “Going on walks clears my mind and brings inspiration and fresh ideas to my creative process. I also love having plants in my workspace. It is inspiring to see little signs of life and growth.”
Wright started working with leather when she joined an apprenticeship a couple years ago. After completing the six-month apprenticeship, Wright began working on her own products and developing her brand. She partnered with Frankie Jean before her brand launched, which allowed her to test out her line and “ease into the world of craft markets without having to jump in head first.”
Weather & Story officially launched in November 2016, and we are so excited to see how it grows as it is shaped by the creative and adventurous people who use the beautiful pieces. Take a look at the Weather & Story products in the Frankie Jean collection, and find the perfect item to become a part of your story!
On Friday we had our first Live Lettering event at Madewell. We set-up shop from 5-8pm at Madewell in the Domain to custom letter items that people brought into the store or bought from Madewell. We had a great turnout, and a fun time with refreshments and music. Here are some photo highlights from the event. Stay tuned because we plan to do more Live Lettering in the future!
Photos by Kelly Coles
WkndPress is an Austin-based letter press studio run as a side-project by husband and wife team Shawn and Becca Bueche. They partner with the Frankie Jean Collection to make hand-pressed stationery and prints with our classic Texas catchphrases--Howdy, God Bless Texas, Oh My Darlin, and more.
Shawn’s interest in printing was first inspired by a high school art teacher. As he learned more, he was drawn to the old-school printing press as a tool that would allow him to design, make, and sell a product without outsourcing the work.
“Seeing the press in action and eventually getting one myself is what inspired the product,” -Shawn Bueche
The name for the company developed from having limited access to their press when they got started. When they first started printing, Shawn and Becca had to drive to Becca’s parents house on the weekends to use the 1600-lb press. Now, the business is housed in their South-Austin garage, and a 2400-lb press has been added to the operation.
The first press, built circa 1910, must be hand-fed during the printing process. The second press, built in the 1930s, has more automatic functioning with suction cups that pull the paper up and move it over after it has been pressed, but it still must be watched carefully to ensure it is running smoothly.
They hand mix the ink in their garage studio, and work hard to make sure their customers are getting just what they ordered. But the nature of this form of printing means each print will have slight differences, ensuring a unique item every time.
With this kind of meticulous care spent printing, Wknd Press is able to focus on maintaining high-quality and thoughtful production for each product.
“We want our customers to have the best product possible to inspire the note-writing process,” Shawn said.
Shawn and Becca are inspired by other makers who value the art and practice of letterpress printing. Because it is less efficient and popular than it used to be, it is encouraging to them to see other small shops that are dedicated to the work and who challenge them to try new things.
Shawn said working with Frankie Jean has impacted Wknd Press in growing their customer base in Austin and collaborating with other local businesses.
“The collaborative prints and cards we created have been wildly popular and we’re thankful to be doing business with people who appreciate quality, handmade products,” Shawn said.
At Frankie Jean, we celebrate makers who put great care into their craft. And now that you know a little more about our awesome partners at Wknd Press, you can hop on over to our stationery and pick out some of their prints!
Story and photos by Kelly Coles