Meet Melanie Abrantes. A designer and maker by trade, the bubbly Texas-native is one of Los Angeles’ rising talents – a real hidden gem! Trust me – she’s one to watch for! Charming, perpetually happy, and just a complete pleasure to be around – Melanie has an energy about her that translates into both her work and craftsmanship. The idea of quality and taking time to hand make something worthy of passing down through generations, is the premise behind her thoughtful creations. A true labor of love.
Over the past year at the studio, I’ve watched Mel hone her skills in woodworking with the first cake stand that she made for a secret santa gift exchange, and now explorations into cork-based pieces – a material that has roots in her Portuguese heritage. After debuting her California Tree Series in Crafting Community’s One King’s Lane Artisanal Sale last year, Melanie is now selling her one-of-a-kind bowls, vases, planters and stands alongside local LA makers Hedley & Bennett and Dominik Woods on the much-coveted marketplace now through Jan 31st.
1. As a product designer, what drew you to work with wood and cork as materials? I loved the look and feel of both materials. You get such rich colors in the grains of wood and such a simplicity in the cork. I am such a tangible person, and being drawn to the feel of an object is always something that entices me. I am also the first one to get kicked out of a museum because I always have the urge to touch the sculpture, I KNOW it’s wrong….but I cant help it!
2. What’s it like living + working in a creative hub like Los Angeles? Living in Los Angeles means that everything is at your fingertips. I have access to a community woodshop, but I also have access to a foundry if I wanted to pour bronze. I am lucky enough to have many creative friends who I can always bounce off ideas and create new adventures with.
3. You recently began teaching wood-lathing classes – what do you enjoy about it? I love seeing my students succeed! They always come in very timid and scared at the beginning of the class but they leave with a beautiful object made by THEM! It’s awesome to see someone making things.
4. Who are some of your favorite makers/artists right now? Two in particular that I love are Coco Flip and Daniel Emma Design, who are based in Australia. I am currently really in love with Australian designers, if I could go on a plane right now to go on a studio visit with them, I would do it in a heartbeat! Everything they make is so fun and colorful!
6. Favorite kind of donut? A chocolate old-fashioned, especially from Randy’s Donuts!
7. How do you stay inspired? Very cliché, but the Internet lets my inspiration be limitless, you can find new or old designs, the sky is the limit.
8. Top 5 places to eat/shop/hang in LA?
Proof Bakery, Atwater Village: Everyone is someone on a Saturday morning at Proof but watch out for those terrible lines!
Wolf & Crane, Little Tokyo: A new bar that opened up in Little Tokyo, it has beautifully designed interiors and great cocktails. Their logo is also adorable!
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