Featured ARTist: Patti Carpenter

What a treat to enter Patti Carpenter’s apartment, jam-packed with textiles, pillows, sculptures, vases, bags, and candles that bear her distinctive designs, produced by indigenous artisans from all over the world. Patti is a creative force whose talent has swept through 51 countries so far.  Her simple, yet powerful textiles have even caught the eye of Oprah Winfrey. Her Carpenter + Company home décor and personal accessories were featured on Oprah’s  top ten list and an article  was written on her work that gives back to the communities and artisans.

Patti’s unbelievable knack for color, and her simple and evocative shapes and patterns have challenged indigenous artisans to reach beyond their grasp and expand their sales locally, regionally or internationally.

As a child growing up in the 50’s and 60’s in Washington DC, Patti’s  “art eye” was cultivated by her artist dad and writer mom. She was exposed to arts, culture and the rumblings of the civil rights activities around her, and was taught that if you are educated, there isn’t anything you can’t do. As a teen, Patti participated in Workshops for Careers in the Arts that fused art, theater and dance, which inspired here to become  involved in sets and costume design for theater. From then on she was hooked. At 16 Patti already knew what she wanted to do.  She pictured herself on a rock, under a tree, working with artisans from all over the world.

During a visit to NYC, she discovered FIT and consequently received degrees in Fashion Design and Illustration. Straight out of college, she was swept up by the top names in the industry: Ralph Lauren, Andrew Marc, Oscar de la Renta, Gloria Vanderbilt, Adrienne Vittadini, and Bill Blass to name a few.

Twenty-seven years later, itching to finally get under that tree, Patti branched out on her own. She joined a designer round table and was hired to work with the craft sector in developing countries. At age 45, she took a life-changing trip to Mali. This began her international experience designing products with indigenous artisans throughout the world.

She started working for companies that sent her to Kenya, Nicaragua, Vietnam, Tunisia, Haiti, South Africa, Egypt, Peru, Guatemala, Bolivia and Bangladesh. Working closely with weavers, potters, fabric dyers, and other artisans, she turned them on to her awesome sense of pattern and color to create prototypes for clothing, home décor and personal accessory products. Her designs have since been replicated and sold throughout the world.

Patti has now launched Carpenter + Company, featuring her handmade textile designs and Rare Resources, to market her products directly to larger outlets. Her Tuareg-designed small leather boxes, Guatemalan textile purses and bags, tabletop, pillows, candles, as well as African and South American jewelry, vases, placemats, throws, and personal accessories are affordable and unique. With Patti and her artisan partners’ work, there is something for everyone and we will be honored to have this merchandise represented at the ARTery!

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