Maria Roth of Hold Handmade creates pieces that echo her nomadic sustainable lifestyle. Hold Handmade features organic cozy felt pieces that are individually handmade by Maria herself. The tactile pieces are practical artworks, perfect for any home… and bonus(!) if you have an excitable little one at home, they are unbreakable!
Thanks Maria for sharing bits and pieces about Hold Handmade and offering CAC readers a special giveaway!
Explain what you do in 5 words (or less).
Felted wool designer/maker.
Why the name Hold Handmade?
I began my felted wool business as a hands-on antidote to many years of doing digital work — so the hold part is a reference to that — it also seemed to suit the little felted bowls.
What does your studio/work space look like?
I don’t have a dedicated studio, but try to work wherever I happen to be: at the beach, at a playground, on the ferry, at home. The felted bowls take up to a week to dry, so when I’m in full production mode, little fuzzy bowls are everywhere in my home.
What is your most used or most important piece of equipment?
What artistic projects are you currently working on?
Like many other crafters, I usually have 3 to 4 different objects types I’m exploring at any given moment. I have boxes full of rejects and UFOs (unfinished objects). Right now I’m at the late prototyping stage for necklaces that combine material opposites – new/soft/warm/hand-felted wool cords with vintage/hard/cool/industrial chain and findings, and just got the first few up at my etsy store. Other stuff in progress includes upsizing traditional crochet stitches + patterns (on pillows, but also as individual motifs that can be hung, think really big pineapple patterns) and embroidery exploring geometry (tetrahedrons in particular).
What is it about working with felt that fascinates you?
I love the magic of its transformation — from loose roving to soft and sturdy fabric — how it feels, and that as a material it endures and is long-lasting, yet fully biodegradable at the end of its domestic life.
Have you experimented with similar mediums or plan to incorporate other mediums into Hold Handmade?
The necklaces (pictured above) pull in vintage chain.
Why the focus on bowls?
I made my first bowl when my friend Judy gave me her pattern. I was hooked, and 70 bowls later realized I needed to start selling them if I wanted to keep making them. Every bowl delights me even now; I can’t stop.
I am completely in love with your literary collection. Why the name literary?
Thank you! I really like them too! The name is a purely visual thing; the bowls look beautiful paired with old books, which I love, and on and in front of bookshelves. This year I tried to move my naming practices from something that is descriptive (‘grey base bowls’, ‘big bowls’, etc), to something that is more evocative — ‘literary’ is part of that shift.
What is currently a favorite artwork that you have made?
It tends to be whatever I’m making, rather than made. As much as I may get satisfaction from an end product, it’s the process that I really enjoy.
What can we expect to see in the future from Hold Handmade?
More one-of-a-kind projects. I’m trying to set aside more time for exploration of wool.
How do you nurture your creativity in your daily routine?
It’s hard sometimes, as I homeschool my kids while working and doing volunteer work from home. To keep me going I read daily poems by my friend Samantha Reynolds (her blog is bent lily) her words stop my day, give me deep joy and have made me cry more often than I care.
Why do you split your time between living in the city and on a semi-remote island?
Time away from Vancouver is necessary for me to feel balanced. I am profoundly thankful for the privilege of being able to live in Vancouver and travel frequently to our small and peaceful family cabin up in Howe Sound.
What elements of those two living environments inspire you?
I feel like I’ve got the best of both worlds — the creative energy and resources of Vancouver, and the tranquility of the beach and rainforest.
What magazines and/or websites do you frequent for inspiration?
Do you have any favorite places in BC to go for inspiration?
The intertidal zone. Always in flux. Especially awesome at low, low, low, low tide.
What do you want people to think when they see your product?
I want them to want to touch it and pick it up. They’re really meant to be held and used.
You emphasize sustainability of your products on your website, do you practice sustainability in other aspects of your life?
I try to but it’s not enough; I don’t own a car and walk/bike/bus everywhere, I’ve lived in a small home (250 square feet for 6 years with my family), we have pet worms for composting our organics on our balcony, shop local, etc. My personal footprint is too big, and needs more work.
Lastly, any art or business mistakes/advice you want to share with aspiring makers?
Not really — I feel vastly under-qualified to answer this!
Hold Handmade and CAC Magazine presents a Monthly Maker Giveaway!
Enter for your chance to win a custom two-colour bowl like the one pictured above! The bowls are approximately 3.75″ h x 3.75″ width, and can be made using any of the colours on my other bowls. One randomly selected CAC reader will become the lucky owner of a lovingly crafted piece from Maria!
How to enter: To enter, become a Hold Handmade Facebook fan or leave a comment on this feature article.
Entries will close November 30th, 5pm (Vancouver time). The winner will be contacted by Maria and announced by both Hold Handmade and CAC.
Note: One entry per person and the giveaway is open to North American residents only.
Keep in touch with Maria & Hold Handmade: