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Interior Inspiration

Inside the SF Studio a Handbag Designer Shares with Her Artist Grandmother

Interior Inspiration BY katie nave freeman 03/14/2019

 

Hannah Tatar comes from a long line of close-knit artists, and when she started hand-making her own bags under the name Hannah Emile, she found herself the exact-right studio roomie: her grandmother, Myrna Tatar, a mixed-media artist. Here’s the story of what they each bring to each other’s process and the aesthetic that might just be in their blood.



“When I moved to San Francisco in 2014, I had a windowless studio an hour and a half away from my home. It wasn’t ideal, so my grandmother proposed a deal: If I helped her clean up her artfully cluttered studio, I could use a section of the newly cleared space.”



“My grandmother has had the same studio for nearly 20 years. The building is a former See’s Candy factory. I usually describe the studio as a visual I Spy of cool objects and art. Myrna and I share an affinity for arranging trinkets and ephemera. Though we always admire the sparse studios and homes of artists like Georgia O’Keefe, we both usually end up veering towards a colorful, artfully cluttered aesthetic.”

 

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“I love all of the art books and reference materials Myrna has collected over the years. No matter how much time I may spend on Instagram and Pinterest, there is nothing like flipping through a great exhibition catalogue to stir my creative juices.”



“We are polar opposites in many ways. I love clean lines and minimalist, functional forms in my leather work. Myrna always wants me to add something wild for a funky touch. I consider myself a designer, whereas she is an artist, and this subtle difference is most evident in our methodology.”


“Her diligence about making it to the studio every day helps keep me on track in my own practice, and I am around to assist with her online exhibition applications. We help each other out. Sometimes that means I apply acetone when her fingers get completely stuck to a tube of superglue! We can be very casual together. It’s not uncommon for someone (me) to end up without her shirt on when it gets hot in the studio. One of my favorite objects in the studio is Myrna’s portrait of my grandfather Hal.”



“As I lean into growing my business and making this my full-time job, I’ve had to establish certain routines to manage my studio time. My favorite days are when I am in the thick of production. If I get to the studio on time, I get to in bask in morning light, and that usually guarantees a good tone for my entire day. I love when I can get to the studio, make myself an espresso, and start sewing within ten minutes. I usually bounce between podcasts (I especially love My Favorite Murder and The Moth), NPR, loud music, and episodes of old TV shows I’ve already seen (a LOT of West Wing and Friends).”


“I think it's really important to acknowledge how much familial support often factors into the early years of many fledgling businesses in expensive markets. The myth of the entirely self-made business is rarely feasible these days. We all need help in some way, be it emotional support from our partners, business advice from our peers or mentors, monetary support from parents before earnings kick in, or, in my case, a studio where I can make my product. For that, I am eternally grateful to my grandma.”

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