Howdy Maria, thank you for contributing to our DESKIES series. You join us as another one of Omoi's long time creative part time staff, who is a full time costume designer. You recently returned from a break so you could complete your graduate program, no? Big Congrats on that!
Thank you! I just completed a master's degree in fashion design at Drexel this past June!! I started working part time at Omoi right at the beginning of my grad school journey in fall 2019, so it’s nice to reflect a little on the past few years. Prior to 2019 I was living in New York and working in the performing arts freelance costume design industry for theater, opera, dance & film.
So it's clear from your photos that you use a variety of notebooks, organizing boards, and supply kits across different spaces. What are the different places you work in and what kinds of supplies do you need?
It is true, I do have several workspaces in my life where I use a lot of different kinds of tools, supplies, and organizational systems. I’m a bit of a surface hog! My poor hubby has a tiny corner desk in our home studio, while I have taken over the rest of the room. Throughout grad school, my desk “space” has seen a lot of iterations. I’ve rearranged our home studio over and over again to figure out the best Zoom and work space set up. In that time, I have grown from one desk surface to include a whole sewing workroom. Now I regularly work from a desk, a sewing table, a 72” x 42” behemoth pattern / fabric cutting table (complete with storage shelving underneath) and my ironing board that's always out.
I use a lot of physical mark-making tools like pens, paper, markers, marker paper, rulers, x-acto blades, cutting mats, and gouache paints, alongside hours spent staring at Photoshop, Illustrator and CLO360 at my desk. I’ve cultivated a practice of sticking design research, inspiration images, and fabric swatches into my journal book with washi tapes and will forever use the Midori MD Blank notebook for my journal/sketch books. I always wanted to fill sketchbooks with my ideas and designs, but was never in love with the black bound sketchbooks or spiral bound options found in most art stores. I really love the cream cover & paper and the lay flat design of the Midori MD notebooks. Something about it works for me. The patterning table is where all my rulers, scissors, measuring tapes and rotary cutter come out to play, while the sewing table is loaded up with machine needles, seam rippers, sewing snips, bobbins, and threads.
Even with this coveted home studio setup, I still found myself constantly packing up all my supplies and unpacking them in the labs and sewing tables at Drexel’s Westphal design building. I have had my fair share of doing a day's work out of temporary production offices, cafes, subway train cars, & parks during my freelance days in New York, so the nomadic workspace is not a new thing to me. However, I do feel this new moment of packing up shop and setting back up in a new location has been so much better with all my Omoi supplies! I love opening my backpack or sewing kit to find beautiful notebooks, pens, washi tapes & all the small tools I use in designated containers! The Penco Storage Container was a recent stroke of brilliance as I was completing my final collection. I had been using the Penco case for all my pens and Mildliners before I realized it was the perfect case for my growing machine accessories collection. I hope they come back in stock… I need one for my pens now! Recreating the beauty and organization of my home studio offsite in my school setting really brought me mental clarity and comforting vibes as I plugged along in my work.
What would you say is important when it comes to having a functional workspace?
Organization! To me that means having the right container for each kind of tool you use. It means having the different notebooks for my creative thoughts versus where you do planning and list making. It also means pens!!! I need pens and pencils for my workspace to be functional. I get bursts of ideas and need to write or draw them out to properly work through what I’m thinking.
What's your most used item from the shop? What's your favorite?
Oh man, so many many things in my daily use are from the shop at this point… from my Baggu bag collection to my Craighill brass keychain. But amongst all my shop acquirings, it’s gotta be my Traveler's notebook that wins. I use it as my wallet, my weekly planner and a place to house all my thoughts, lists, and creative doodles that come to me during the day. It’s a lot of incessant list making with weird scribbles from my daily thoughts. I also love the way the leather wears and feels every time I handle it. My Traveler's is set up with a cloth zipper insert for cards, IDs, cash, vax card, the kraft paper folder for loose items and sticker sheets, a monthly insert, a weekly vertical insert, and a black page insert.
One fav I have to mention is my Pilot Kakuno fine nib fountain pen! I really enjoy writing with it and love the smiley face on the nib. The clear body is practical and I always get excited when I realize I’ve gone through another cartridge of blue black ink!! It’s been in my daily life for over a year now. I even sketch with it.
What's your most used or favorite item that's not from the shop?
Something that brings me joy in my workspace pretty much every day are my Royal Copenhagen coffee cups. I love the blue and white hand painted designs and the tradition behind the brand. Their thick walled ceramic design keeps drinks warm and makes them really durable in daily use. I love seeing them on my desk.
What were the factors that made you decide to bring these things home and into your life?
Well it's a struggle to come to work and not feel the need for everything! But I’ve tried to think about what items I will really use, and use often. I also love filling my daily routine with beautiful things!
And if you could blow a month's pay anywhere in the city, where would it be? (It doesn't have to be all in once place.)
I would start the day with way too many pastries from Porcos Porchetteria and Small Oven. Walk across town to Lobo Mau and Moon and Arrow for a shopping spree and end the day at Middlechild Clubhouse for dinner with my husband and friends!