From the first glimpse that you catch of the beguiling and quirky personalities respectfully crafted by the team at BLAMO, it's hard not to be mesmerized.
Every item in their collection lives and breathes a distinct personality. It’s one that speaks to individuals who appreciate timeless design, detailed craftsmanship, and a sense of playfulness when interacting with the natural world.
In Blamoville, the disposable and the fast are left behind in favour of the slow, the substantial and the unexpected.
Created by rural Idaho natives, Spencer Hansen and Shayne Maratea, BLAMO is home to an eclectic and wonderful collection of adventure wear, object art, jewellery and masks.
I recently caught with up with Spencer - the multidisciplinary artist at the heart of BLAMO's designs - to learn more about his creative process and the community that brings this world to life.
What was the spark that led you to launch BLAMO?
I was liking the vinyl culture at the time, but didn’t like the idea of plastic and wanted to make creatures out of natural material. I had been drawing some of the first characters we made since childhood.
My mom made me a bunny suit when I went to college and I used to wear it all the time and then we started making animal onesies for adults.
I had been making one of a kind handmade pieces for a long time and after graduating from SFAI I took a trip to Bali and began making multiples of one style.
How's the ride been thus far? Is there anything that you didn't expect when you first kicked off?
Can you give us some insight into your creative process? Does this process differ based on whether you're designing object art, clothing or masks... or is it the same across all?
Where do you find inspiration?
How long does it take for you to design and craft a piece from start to finish?
Which stage in the process is your sweet spot?
I think most people want to know how long it physically takes to carve or sculpt but that is only a small part of the creation process. Sometimes we imagine tracking a journey from inception to production – how many ideas, drawings, samples, hands, fails, happy accidents, calculations, photos, etc it takes to make a piece… There is so much for a story of one piece.
Most of our processes are very slow. We have never let how long something will take to determine if it is pursued. Our mediums and processes are very time intensive. We don’t push our team to make a quota – we don’t track output like that. We are making handmade pieces and we value the time this takes. It all varies so much.
As consumers, we place a lot of value on items by how long they took to make, but from a creation perspective I think that is not always the best way to look at art and give it value, (but) I understand it’s a way for humans to quantify.
You work with a varied selection of materials. Do you have a favourite material to work with and why?
Describe the world of BLAMO in three words.
What is it about handmade creations that sets them apart?
What would you say are some of the challenges of being an artisan brand?
businesses when we started and we would often feel like we were lost in between
Our throughline is our commitment to creation and play and to creating a business and life that allows us and the people working with us to live outside of the box. There is no map – we have gone down a lot of roads and even though there have been a lot of difficult times our commitment to creation and our team has been the foundation of support that has kept us going.
Photography by Spencer Hansen.
By Niccii Kugler for NASH AND BANKS
NASH AND BANKS is committed to featuring ethical, sustainable artisan brands