Workspace Wednesday (on Saturday) featuring: Better Than Jam

Welcome to a special weekend edition of my Workspace Wednesday column!  This is where we visit the studio spaces of New York City artists, who have the added challenge of a limited space to work within.  We look at how they all make it work in their own, unique way.

Today I'm excited to take you into the studio of Karin Persan, owner of BetterThanJam on Etsy (and off as the retail co-op shop).  She does layered screen prints onto fabric, makes her own patterns and turns them into gorgeous women's clothing and funky chic accessories.

Karin is going to be selling her work at the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade tomorrow:  December 5, 2010 from 11am-8pm. This year’s Holiday Handmade Cavalcade will take place at OpenHOUSE Gallery in Nolita, New York.  I know she'd love to see you, please come on by! 

And now, on with the artist studio tour!  Karin's studio is located in a converted factory in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn.  Let's take a look..

In the pictures above, you can see the 5 yard table Karin built herself, so that she can screen print 7 yards at a time during one session.  She says, "Each color and/or image is another process/run down the fabric. You have to clean screens and wait for fabric to dry between each image/color.  I usually run in and out, so I have more time in the day.  Home, studio, store, studio, home, so I don't have to stare at it drying."  You can also see her handmade clothing patterns hanging on the wall above the table-- every bit of her work is done by hand!!

Here's Karin doing her multi-layered printing:

And here's the screen she was using:

And it's ready to be washed, you can tell those sinks get a lot of use!!

 Once she's printed the fabric and it has dried, she's ready to cut out her pattern pieces that make up her beautiful dresses:

Then she brings the pieces to her Better Than Jam store, where she sews them together.  She has two sewing machines in the store, a serger and an old Kenmore that Karin calls "the tank".  After the pieces are sewn into dresses, skirts and accessories she brings them to the laundromat where they go into the industrial driers so the ink on the fabric can be "heat set." 

And finally, the finished product will look something like this sweet turtleneck dress, on sale for $110 in her Etsy shop:

Be sure to stop by the Holiday Handmade Cavalcade tomorrow to say hello! 

Thanks Karin for sharing your space and your artwork with us, it was really cool to see your process and I can't wait to see what you've made when I do my holiday shopping tomorrow! 

Stephanie Maslow-Blackman