We met Oakland based artist Meghan Shimek on her last visit to LA to teach a workshop before she headed back up to the bay for West Coast Craft fair. We talk motherhood, feminism, tarot, and healing through creation.
Meghan wears the Her Jumpsuit in Tar
When and how did you get into weaving? Was this always your medium?
MS: I began weaving about 4.5 years ago when I took a scarf weaving class near my parents house in Michigan. I always had an interest in fiber arts, I knit and crochet and even did a tiny bit of sewing, but I never felt the creative freedom I felt until I started weaving. I didn't go to art school, I have a degree in history and nutrition.
What inspires you most?
MS: I began working with roving (the material I use) as a way to heal, it is very meditative. I am inspired by loss, change, movement, diving deep into uncomfortable feelings and gaining knowledge through each day of our lives.
You teach a lot of workshops, is there a specific memorable/inspiring moment in one of your classes?
MS: I think the most inspiring class I ever taught was the very first class I taught! I was so scared and I remember telling myself that if it didn't go well, I never had to do it again. My class was amazing and so many of the students have remained my friends. The other two classes that stick out is teaching in France and Brazil...both countries where I do not speak the language, but being able to bridge that gap and have 20 students leave with beautiful work felt incredible!
Your materials are beautiful; the colors, the size of the roving, etc. how do you source your materials and decipher what you’re looking for?
MS: I work with distributors both domestically and abroad to find what I am looking for, through trial and error I have found the materials I like to work with. About a year and a half ago I switched the white roving I used because I found something I preferred...I am always open to trying something new and not being stuck in thinking I have found the best material.
The scale of your pieces is often large – can you talk us through how you map out each piece? What sort of planning is involved in a large scale work?
MS: I prefer working large scale because it allows me to get up and move my body. Most of the large scale work is done on a commission basis. I begin by speaking with my client about what size pice they are looking for and from there we discuss color palette, if they prefer to have more solid or mixed colors in their pieces, and how much color they want. When it is possible I like to visit their homes and see where the piece will be and get to know about their lifestyle. After all this, I order the colors and visit the hardware store, prepare the loom and finally weave! When I am making something for an exhibition or that I am inspired to make, it generally happens pretty organically. I pick out colors and decide what size loom I want to use. I don't always use every color I pull off the shelf, but I like to see how it all feels as I am weaving.
You told us your son loves crafting and that he’s even been making his own felts. Has being a mom changed the way you work or how you see your work?
MS: Absolutely, in so many ways. I don't think I would do the work I do if I hadn't had a child. I have struggled with depression and anxiety for years and when I had Grey I had no choice but to get out of my head and be there for him. He loves nature, when he was a baby we spent hours everyday going for walks...which means stopping to examine every leaf. Having him taught me to slow down and be present. I probably work harder than I ever have before, as a Capricorn I am prone to never stop working, but now I enjoy the process so much more. I am also grateful to have a child, it means that during the time I have him I cannot work. We go to the beach or see friends, but the time away from work always makes me excited for Monday mornings when I can get back to it!
There is an element of feminism or resistance in your work, specifically in the felted female bodies, can you tell us a little about that?
MS: Two and a half years ago my ex-husband and I split up, this was right after my father died. I had been in that relationship for 8 years and had become very dependent on having a partner. When we split up, and I lost the other strong man in my life, I had to find those resources in myself. Before all that I always considered myself a feminist, but going through these life changes gave me the courage to speak up for myself, my son and other women. It made me want to encourage and support other women to find their power and voice. I also struggled with my body image for most of my life, when I was pregnant I gained a lot of weight and felt pretty bad about myself...then I started breastfeeding. It made me love my body in a new way, I was literally giving someone else life. It especially made me appreciate breasts and it upset me that women should feel ashamed or that they should constantly have to cover their breasts or that there is some kind of breast that is perfect. All bodies are beautiful, they are the only bodies we have and I want to celebrate that more.
You also read tarot! What drew you to tarot? Are there any cards that particularly resonate with you?
MS: Right after my father died and on the cusp of me leaving my husband I felt completely lost. My dear friend Sherise Lee (http://theradder.com) held a popup in SF and asked me setup a loom and weave. During that day I first bought a shirt, it was by The Wild Unknown and it was the three of wands, then I bought a book for my son, also by The Wild Unknown. At the end of the day Sherise gave me The Wild Unknown tarot deck. It wasn't until a couple days later that I realized they were all made by the same person. I didn't know how to read tarot and walked about with that deck in my purse for a month. I finally ordered the guide book to go with it and everyday I pulled 1-3 cards and read what the book said and then journaled about it. Over and over and over I pulled the three of wands. In the book it says, "the future is infinite and it's yours, only you can see through the light and shadow". This card is what made me take the leap into weaving full time, it gave me the courage to leave a marriage that wasn't working, it gave me so much strength. Soon after I met Lindsay Mack, she is an intuitive healer and tarot reader. She and I immediately bonded. She and I profoundly admired each other and wanted to experience one another's work. I took her 10 week tarot class and dove into tarot and I made a weaving for her home. I still take my tarot cards with me a lot of places even if I don't read for others very often.
Follow Meghan here for glimpses into her latest projects and, if you're lucky, you might catch her in your city for a weaving workshop.
We teamed up with New York based photographer / super stylish girl Jen Steele to capture some insanely beautiful portraits of our favorite NYC women.
Originally from Wisconsin, Jen began her career in magazines working as a fashion editor. In 2011 she created GIRLS I KNOW, an online editorial platform and magazine designed to encourage conversations and growth among young women.
This summer she is directing her first narrative project, a short film entitled Follow the Roses.
Emma wears the Eve Tank in lilac
Raye wears the Smocked Dress in whitewash
Emma wears the Patch Jumpsuit
Paloma wears the Opal Hand Knit Dress in tar
Juliana wears the Lady Dress in whitewash
Coco wears the Lady Dress in tar
Emma and Raye Levine
Taylor Wordell's work is layered, colorful, feminine; each piece has the warm feeling of peace at home or freedome in nature. Her paintings will be on view at our shop through July. We took a moment to chat with her at the opening event about her inspirations, self-care rituals, and growing up in a small town.
Taylor wears the reversible linen top
You grew up in the mountains, can you tell us a little about what that was like?
TW: I was raised in Nevada City, California. It's a small, victorian town with a population of only about 3,000 people. It is an extremely special place to me. Growing up in Nevada City allowed for me to have complete freedom as a child. I was constantly playing outside with my sisters and feeling wild. Home is quaint, safe, and full of natural beauty in the mountains, river, lakes and it's people.
The community at home is close knit and tight. Nevada City is full of artists and has a whimsical, unique air about it. It is the warmest feeling to visit home and know that I'll run into many familiar faces. It really is so sweet. I can't imagine being raised elsewhere.
What drew you to painting originally?
TW: My exploration of painting came at a fragile point in my life as a young teenager. I was raised by very young parents and at one point I lived with a different family. During this time, I discovered my passion for painting and it made me more grounded and relaxed. I experienced independence at a young age so delving into my art really aided me in finding one of the most important concentrations in my life.
Taylor wears the blue moon dress
You had a residency in Iceland, did that change your perspective in any way? Did it help to evolve your practice?
TW: The residency in Iceland changed my perspective on the quality of life we as Americans live. I experienced a truly happy country while in Iceland. Their culture is so highly influenced by the arts and a general movement towards sustainability and nature conservation.
Traveling to Iceland alone and working in solitude definitely evolved my practice as I spent long amounts of time with my thoughts, learning to express them through poems, drawings, and paintings.
There are a lot of female figures and still life or craft elements in your work, what inspires you most and what draws you to these themes?
TW: My work certainly has many female figures and crafty elements. I was partially raised by my older sisters and grandmother and I believe their strong female presence has influenced my work deeply. I'm drawn to crafty elements like textiles and patterns, and finding abstract shapes or overlapping lines in the craft.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
TW: Richard Diebenkorn, Matisse, Florine Stettheimer and Danny Fox. amazing, amazing, amazing.
TW: Jane Birkin is a big style icon for me. I am in love with searching for vintage or handmade clothes that are bright with colors and patterns. Looking at my closet right now, that bad boy is primarily filled with jumpsuits and vintage floral dresses.
Tell us about your daily routine. Do you have any self care rituals?
TW: I was recently balancing school, work and painting so my self care was a bit out of whack. Thankfully, it is summer and I am getting back into daily routines. First things first, I wake up fairly early and like to make my bed and tidy up my room. It makes me feel ready for the day :)
The I drink tea, head down to the beach, or read. I'm working on meditating in the morning and a little yoga routine for a more joyous wake up. My self-care rituals include reading, yoga, and painting- I am still finding time to put more effort into self-care. The days seem to fill up and pass too quickly as we live busy lives.
Where would you tell us to go if we were to visit your hometown?
TW: I would tell y'all to swim and hike at the Yuba River (I can't reveal secret spots) and then I would say go to Ike's Quarter cafe for a yummy cajun-creole brunch, it has the most amazing courtyard and cherry blossom tree.
Three songs you have on repeat this summer:
1. Right Down the Line- Gerry Raferty
2. Can We Really Party Today- Jonathon Wilson
3. Everybody's Talkin'- Harry Nilsson
follow Taylor @lilmanart
Symrin Chawla (designer/artist/resident #LACAUSAgirl roadtripper), and Kelynn Smith, LACAUSA's creative direction fairy, recently went for a quick jaunt to California's favorite magical desert wonderland: Joshua Tree. We caught up with the two to gain insight on where to start and end a quick trip to the land of weird trees, wildflowers, and enchanted moments.
Kelynn: First things first - forget to book the room you wanted ahead of time and find a cheap roadside motel upon arrival instead + MAKE SURE they have free shitty coffee and a pool.
Sym: Next, hit the local market for your park picnic necessities: Assorted fruits, prosciutto, crackers, goat cheese, honey, all the fixins.
S: Taking tips from previous LACAUSA picnics; always carry a knife, you won’t need plates *rocks are the new plates*
K: Cheap tequila and San Pelligrino for a DIY margarita
Emmanuel Dress in Citrus Dip
K: Drive through the park and seek out your perfect moment. We found ours at the Belle Campground (appropriately) where some folks let us park in their zone while we hiked out to find the cutest spot to chill. Breathe deep, do some rock yoga, drink your cheap margs while the sun sets.
S: Make sure you're with a libra, who, in lieu of ride service apps, will go above and beyond to convey a sense of respect for the local taxi/uber beef to the miffed driver who was 45 minutes late.
Amelia Bloomers in Lilac
K: If you’re in the mood to try something other than Pappy and Harriet’s, please go to Joshua Tree Saloon. If it’s not karaoke night you might catch a live performance by One Foot in the Grave, a *punk cover band* led by a 70something QUEEN. They made up for missing out on my dream of performing a Sublime duet with Sym for sure.
S: Memorable sunglasses will grant you 2 day park access when you lose your ticket and need to remind park rangers that they definitely saw you the day prior.
K: If you happen to have an anxiety attack from climbing too high to get the perfect photo, pick some wildflowers and decompress.
S: Think before you pluck though. It's necessary to understand the ecological struggle of the desert plant, the miracle of their flowering, etc etc... but sometimes a girl just needs her damn desert bouquet!
There’s a a few classic spots for vintage shopping along 29 Palms Highway, but this trip we opted for Enchanted Moments instead, a hybrid antique flea market / metaphysical crystal shop where we sifted through country oddities, old books, piles of quartz and super special home goods.
K: Everything BBQ at the JT Saloon and Country Kitchen for the biscuits n gravy!
S: ...and the cutest diner boy there, who's glow will resurrect even the most tormented runaway bitch.
K: Oh and smoothies from Natural Sisters Cafe!
The proper term for the wild hare is a jackrabbit - useful to know when making casual chit chat with the local farmer over a game of pool while town muralist tries to flirt with your friend.
We briefly chatted with Amanda Yamashita, the artist behind our latest LACAUSA Store window display, about inspiration sourcing, all things nylon and her summer look.
Tell us about your creative process.
My creative process usually begins with the material. I take materials and try to imagine them in a new way. I start with an individual form and build upon it- letting it grow and transform. The final composition is directly related to how the material dictates itself. For this reason, I always say that gravity is one of my materials. Throughout the process, I edit edit edit. If something isn't working out, I change up the composition until it feels right.
What materials do you generally work with?
I find inspiration everywhere! It's in brainstorming, in conversations with other creatives, in galleries and museums, in nature, on Instagram, in fashion, in architecture, even in Home Depot!
Which piece that you’ve made is your favorite and why?
My favorite piece is always changing! My answer to that is almost always whatever my latest creation is. In this case, it's a giant brain sculpture I made for a music video that has LED lights rigged throughout that beat to the music! I love it because I made it in collaboration with a friend and also because it was the largest thing I've ever made! When it comes to installation, the bigger the better!
What's your Summer Look?
We chatted briefly with Long Beach local Hannah Morgan about literature and where to find the best LB hangs.
Hannah wears the Gauze Jersey Baby T
Tell us how living in LB has influenced your style.
H: When I moved to Long Beach, it was the first time I lived away from home. After a few months of exploring and growing, I settled into a uniform: vintage Levis and high top converse. Always. Parking in Long Beach is a nightmare, so converse realllllly come in handy when I have to skateboard blooooocks to get home.
Top 3 Long Beach spots:
1. Rose Park Roasters. It's where I’ve spent most of my time since I’ve been here. I’m also an avid Lord Windsor fan
2. Thrifting on Fourth street, in particular La Bomba is the best place to treasure shop
3. Sifting through vinyls at Fingerprints
Hannah wears the Isabelle Trousers
Besides being a cute girl on the internet and IRL, you're also studying English.
H: Yup, I absolutely adore it. I always have my head in a book or a pen in my hand.
H: I’m reading a lot of contemporary and British literature for my classes, so that takes up a good chunk of time. When I can carve out a second to myself, I’ve been picking up Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932 by Francine Prose. It’s excellent. I’m loosing sleep over it.
photos by Samantha Sawyer
Back in November, we teamed up with photographer Roman Koval and model/artist/cool girl Paige Elkington to shoot our LA HOLIDAY feature. Today, we follow up with Paige about activism, LA style, and her favorite metallic pants.
Paige wears the Vintage Tall T
Tell us about how you came to live in Los Angeles?
P: Growing up in the south, I always felt slightly out of place and was eager to move to a big city. I only chose LA because I wasn't quite ready for the intensity and price tag of NYC.
During the shoot we talked a bit about your activism and your dedication to sharing information/educating friends on how they can play a role in the political process. Can you talk more about what you have been doing in lieu of recent political events?
P: Many of us feel very overwhelmed by the election outcome, the DAPL, among other things and a lot of us want to help but don't know where to start or what we can do to make an actual difference. After reading and vetting countless articles and social media posts, I consolidated all the info I'd absorbed into an action-based to do list: people to call, organizations to donate to, petitions to sign, and emails to write. Instead of checking off that list by myself, I invited friends to my house, and we did it together. I shared a doc with my email templates and scripts for calling since I had already done all the groundwork--that way people didn't feel overwhelmed. That's how the first meeting originated, and I plan on having them once a month. In addition, practicing activism in groups is important because many of us have never done this before. This may be the first time a lot us have felt compelled to organize and act. That doesn't come naturally to everyone. A lot of people have anxiety about picking up the phone. So this is a way to stay encouraged and accountable. I also encourage my friends to make small donations. If people tell me they're broke, I tell them to donate $1-5. When people understand that small donations make an impact, they are way more likely to donate and continue to because that seems like a realistic way for them to give back on a budget.
Do you think living in LA has had an impact on how you get dressed every day?
P: Oh yeah. I'm way more relaxed here.
Paige wears the Dual Satin Dress
Current favorite piece in your closet?
P: My metallic lace up Angel Chen pants. I don't even think they look that great on me but I love them because they're insane.
Favorite LACAUSA piece from the shoot?
P: The lucky dress! The cut and look remind me of 90s prada - my favorite.
Paige wears the Vintage Frank Top
LA girls Symrin Chawla, Eva Sealove, Gabbie Bautista, and Martina Lund take the American Southwest wearing LACAUSA and listening to Dolly Parton. We got to chat with them post-trip about petrified forests, romance novels on the road, and energy vortex tour guides named Blair.
Symrin: What's up I’m Sym and I’m a chronic runaway.
Eva: I’m a Taurus with a rising Leo; I work in advertising and write about feminism.
Gabbie: Hi internet, I’m Gabbie. I like looking at shiny objects and designing things.
Martina: Hello, I’m Martina, the Björk is my home, my sigil, my spirit. Also swedish. Graphic designer.
What inspired this route for your road trip?
ES: The southwest is magic and we wanted to see as much as possible in the time that we had. Each of us was at something of a turning point in our lives and decided the best path was to GTFO, drive down a dirt road, blast Whitney, Madonna and Dolly, look out the window, stand on a mountain, watch a sunset, drink spiked hot cocoa, bathe in healing waters, sing cowboy ballads, charge our crystals, sip coffee in Denny’s, channel spirits, correctly identify the belt of Orion, and think some thoughts together.
What was the collective style vibe on the trip?
A big mix of utilitarian / sporty items like Timberland hiking boots, HeatTech layers, or Patagonia with softer, more feminine pieces from LACAUSA... along with some flashy shit like fur coats and hats, crystal jewelry, and chokers.
The Santi Jumpsuit was so comfy for car rides, layered over Vintage Tall T with chunky wool socks and Timbs. The Jumpsuit was important again in a dive bar where we took over and played Madonna and Reggaeton, drinking $3 tequilas. The Dad's Shirtdress elevated jeans and cowboy boots for a stroll through Truth or Consequences, NM. The Alma Slip was perfect for the petrified forest.
We also picked up some sick matching T-shirts in Sedona which, incidentally, look fantastic, even without pants.
Best food / shops / secret spots along the way?
ES: Once we crossed the border into Arizona on Day 1, we stopped in Quartzsite for dinner (chopped salad and mini pizza) at a bar called Silly Al’s, where we listened to a great Blues duo called The Gypsy Wagyn. We realized in that moment that we were definitely not in LA anymore, and the trip only continued to get better and better from there.
SC: Reading a romance novel to a little herd of buffalo on a desert hilltop probably takes the cake, although swimming in a serial killer's favorite lake was also...energizing.
ML: BLAIR. The master tour guide of Sedona’s energy vortexes. He had the kindest eyes, cutest safari outfit and had dated a 100-year old woman. So special.
GB: The petrified forest is fucking amazing. The entire park is sprinkled with giant tree trunk slices that have fully transformed into crystal, so beautiful and magical.
ML: Also that bar in Truth or Consequences where our collective tab was less than the price of one drink in LA. Win.
Road trip pro-tips?
-Bring a knife! You never know when you’ll want to eat aged goat’s milk brie and fig jam.
-Bring a pillow and don’t leave it at the hotel.
-Bring palo santo and bless every place you lay your head.
-MAKE SURE THE TRUNK IS CLOSED
-Bring dryer sheets for cheap (but very cute) rooms that might stink (a bit).
Life is a mystery
Everyone must stand alone
I hear you call my name
And it feels like home
Paige wears the Dual Satin Dress in Neptune
Paige wears the Lucky Dress in Heirloom Crimson
Paige wears the Vintage Tall T in Whitewash
Paige wears Vintage Frank Top in Whitewash
Paige wear the Satin Wrap Skirt in Neptune
Photography: Roman Koval
Model: Paige Elkington
MUA: Paige Marton
Creative Production: Kelynn Smith
Two of our fave LA girls documented their road trip through Oregon for us. When we caught up with them about their adventures we ended up with cheese pairing recommendations and some pro-tips for booking granny suites at roadside motels.
How did the two of you meet / become friends?
SYMRIN : We started orbiting each other in our last year of college when the majority of our time was spent chasing our tails at the Pink House. I vaguely remember a sunrise coffee at the local ARCO followed by Jonbenet Ramsey lock of hair sighting in the alley behind The Brothel – those were the names of our houses by the way. I was always impressed by what a phenomenal cook you were, no matter what we were on.
MARIEL : Early memories include face paint, a shower, and a scenario that included me sneaking into your room to nap before committing some serious bed hopping. Even though she doesn’t take the best care of her piercings, Sym is my favorite person to spend 25+ hours with in a tiny vehicle.
What do you do?
SYM: I'm getting my MFA in media art, which mostly means I'm an internet flânuese.
MAR: I paint livestock and help brands strategize things.
How would you describe your personal style or current theme?
MAR : Sun protection is key and that means baseball hats – preferably ones from souvenir shops. I’m rigorous about having a minimal closet and only simple pieces with edge make the cut. Caps + LACAUSA (favorites are the Satin Flora Pants, Las Palmas Dress, and Santi Jumpsuit) + sneaks = my perfect all-purpose uniform.
SYM : Dude you’re so right. I’m all about sun protection. Also into holding up my pants with pieces of rope - thank you LACAUSA. I crush so hard on boys who use pieces of string as belts and recently I was like ‘I am the boy I love.’ I spend a lot of time in the woodshop so I like to find a balance between being delicate but utilitarian - I live in the Denim Flora Pants and the Penelope Dress.
featured: Sofia Slip Tank
Why did you choose this route for your trip?
Despite being from (Mar) and spending time in (Sym) Portland, Southeastern Oregon was still untapped territory.
Our trip was bookended for us : Starting in Chico to visit our friend and her new baby, then making it to Government Camp / Mt Hood in time for an annual pig roast. For everything in between we picked the highway less traveled and went from there.
Both of us dream of a life off the grid, so part of our mission was seeking inspiration for our future farm -- including sussing out which livestock would be best for our sustainable butcher and dairy operation. We think goats are the answer. We’ll also be growing lavender, figs and weed so look out!
Tell us a little about your experience exploring, best nature things, favorite moments...
SYM : We tended to pair and rate each experience with its corresponding bread and cheese combo. Off the jump I’d say we killed it camping on the farm in Ashland, nomming on olive ciabatta with local pear butter, brie and a sprinkle of cayenne in the meadow with a chilled jar of goat milk was * a moment * .
The day we went to Crater Lake was insane. It started with an mid-afternoon break down over the only payphone for miles. Later we ended up in literal paradise swimming in the post-volcanic indigo lake - totally blissed out on some Italy vibes, unaware of the of the fact that we would spend the next 5 hours frantically driving through the backcountry searching for a place to sleep.
MAR : Following a tame day at Smith Rock, we set out to explore the deceivingly tropical-looking waters of Blue Pool. We scrambled down to a private rock, and popped our Pinot Gris in the water to chill. Shortly after, five 18 year old Oregon bros came ricocheting off the 30 ft cliff clutching Bud Lights. They scrambled out of the 38 degree water onto our rock, and from that point on, we’d entered a modern Shakespearean drama.
Road trip pro-tip for LACAUSA girls?
Best food / shops / secret spots along the way?
Deja Vu Ashland, OR
Cowgirl Cash Bend, OR
Kalamazoo's Antique Mall in Sisters, OR
Willow Witt Ranch Ashland, OR
Get provisions at the local co-op beforehand - we would recommend an Oregon Pinot Noir, Purple Haze chèvre and couple of pluots. You can get chicken eggs, meats, and fresh goat milk on the farm. Work up a sweat setting up camp because you’ll want an excuse to use the outdoor showers.
Cleetwood Cove Trail, Crater Lake: Italy meets the Pacific Northwest. Get in the water.
Tamolitch Blue Pool: A surreal almost-tropical oasis nestled in the forest. Most likely bewitched because here’s the catch - the crystal clear water is 38 degrees.