Heather Frazier graciously welcomed us into her Northeast Portland home studio. It was great to see where the Frazier + Wing magic happens! Her home and studio were just as serene as her home accessories brand that specializes in hand crafted mobiles. Heather also makes garlands, sachets and other wonderful home products. We love Heather’s attention to detail and clean lines while also playing with color and shape so beautifully! Enjoy our studio visit with Heather and her great interview!
1. Why Portland? What was it that drew you to Portland or has kept you here?
My husband and I moved here 9 years ago from San Francisco because we wanted to live in a more affordable and smaller city. Portland felt right because of the support for the arts, the availability of high quality organic food, and the general progressive and open minded feeling of the city.
The things that keep me here for now are:
The lush green beautiful summer
The easy of relaxed quality of life
And the fact that my husband’s business is based here.
2. What are your favorite things happening in Portland (design or otherwise)?
I like the modern houses that pop up here and there in neighborhoods of older homes.
As a former retailer, I am always interested in the retail scene in Portland. I like the modern aesthetics and offerings at Canoe, Woonwinkle and Table of Contents. I like the design and architecture in the new Union Way development.
I’m inspired by the fantastic group of local visual artists that my husband is showing in his gallery:
Hayley Barker, Corey Arnold, Rachel Davis, Holly Andres, Eva Speer, Blakely Dadson and Ann Fidler.
3. How did your brand start?
When I moved to Portland I knew I wanted to set up a studio and get back to making things. I had been a retailer for 5 years in San Francisco which took a toll on my sensitive and introverted nature! I needed time and space to recover, so retreating to the quiet space and rhythm of studio life was my plan. I was not sure what I wanted to design and make. I have a background in art and apparel design. I have always wanted to design a dress collection but was not prepared to take that on at the time. I wanted to create something small and manageable that I could produce myself. I had been making paper garlands for my store window displays and my customers often remarked that I should sell them. So I started experimenting with paper garlands which turned into the idea of mobiles. I put the first iteration of mobile designs up on Etsy and they were an instant hit - so I went with the idea of making mobiles.
4. What has been your biggest obstacle?
Issues relating to production, growth and pricing. It is quite a challenge to design products that are special, unique and handmade that can be produced at an attainable price point. The designer/maker business model is extremely challenging. Also, the wearing of all hats situation that is happening is exhausting. I am: designer, maker, materials sourcer, project manager, salesperson, administrator, social media + PR manager and bookkeeper. I don’t do all of these jobs well.
5. What or who inspires your design?
I am inspired by architecture, art, fashion, nature and color. Right now the designers and artists that I am inspired by are: Karl Zahn, Alexander Calder, Louise Bourgeois, Brancusi, Isamu Noguchi, Masao Yamamoto, Faye Toogood, Ilsa Crawford, and Inga Sempe.
Japanese and Scandinavian design are constant sources of inspiration.
6.What are your favorite things about Portland?
Access to the incredible organic food at the Framers Markets
7. What is your favorite part of your studio?
My studio is a bedroom in my home. I just took over a second spare bedroom to separate the mobile making from the sewing. I am working on the dress collection I have always wanted to design - so I needed more space to get that going.
My favorite thing is simply having a space to create. I am fortunate to live in a big house with extra rooms that I can turn into work space.
My husband is probably not so thrilled - but what can I do!
My dream studio would be bigger but I am grateful for the space that I do have now.
8. Your favorite thing about your workspace?
No commute! Also that it is filled with the tools and materials I need to create.
9. Tell us two truths and a lie!
I like to dance
I’m a really good singer
I found an Edward Weston photograph in a junk shop for $35
10. 5 things you can’t live without.
Lizzie + Charles - my people