SPRING swoon

Handwoven goodness for all seasons, especially spring. And too soon summer. Simple silhouettes for ease of movement and beauty in comfort. For women + men. In fact, all AUGUST ETTA pieces are designed to be gender neutral. 

I am thrilled to share my first collection of handwoven cotton tunics and caftans for AUGUST ETTA. Each woven textile has been uniquely designed in honor of august woman and men who have enriched my life, and I know many others.

Each AE piece is woven on a traditional standing pedal loom by the lovely Mendez Family in the Oaxaca Valley. This labor intensive process requires hours of dedication from start to finish resulting in a literal expression of skilled artistry + tremendous love. Read their artisan profile here. It is a great honor for me to work in collaboration with this family of master weavers. 

Enjoy all the nuance and magic of these handmade treasures. And thank you for your interest and support of handmade, skilled artistry! 

Yours sincerely,

Katrina Jane

Día de Muertos en Oaxaca | Vivid Impressions

To spend the holiday period of Día de Muertos in Oaxaca is a sensory experience of grand proportions–an abundance of visual, edible and audible impressions. Vibrant colors, sounds and aromas imbue the city and surrounding communities with a magical energy. Cempasúchil (marigolds) and a rainbow of other flowers decorate the panteóns and alters of private homes. Various fruits and nisperos (loquats) create baroque displays as offerings to the departed. The cultural customs involved in the preparation and welcoming of passed loved ones during this time exposed me to an entirely new perspective in honoring the death of my loved ones, and in facing my own mortality. 

On November 1st, the first day of the holiday period, I joined Fundación En Vía on one of their special tours to document a family of supported women in the community of San Miguel Del Valle. It was a honor to join mother and daughter, Claudia and Christina, to the Panténon General to adorn the tombs of their passed loved ones with flowers and fruits. We then joined them in their home to see the cornucopia of offerings in their elaborate altar display, and share homemade pan de muerto y chocolate. And I have to comment–it was the best hot chocolate I have ever enjoyed. Claudia roasts her own cacao beans on an open fire comal before grinding the beans, which gives the chocolate an incredible smoky flavor. She mixes in cinnamon and panella (regional sugar cane, amber in color) to sweeten the chocolate before it cools in small discs. The chocolate discs are then melted in boiling water, and whisked with a molinillo until frothy for the most delicious cup of hot coco–truly, it was superb!! 

Copal filled the air at the strike of noon to welcome the departed spirits back into Claudia's home. Shortly thereafter a few mandarines fell from the altar, which Claudia expressed was a sign the departed guests had arrived. They would stay until November 3rd when their visit would conclude until next year. Enjoy a handful of the many impressions from this enlivening celebration in remembrance and honor of the departed. I encourage everyone to experience Día de Muertos in this magical state if you haven't had the joy already. It is a great season to be in Oaxaca. 

Moved by Curiosity | Iceland by Bike

For those reading who follow AUGUST ETTA on Instagram, I'm sure you have noticed my recent posts from Iceland. Allow me to explain: I have wanted to see and know the world since I was young. My grandmother, an adventure seeker herself, instilled in me this curious desire. I would eagerly await the treasures she would bring home to Texas from afar: photographs, stories, and handcrafted artistry. Thus, 'moved by curiosity' has come to define much of my life. This desire to experience, observe and understand called me back to Iceland where I recently completed a personal journey in one of the most profound and mystical landscapes on the planet (in my humble opinion).

The journey began on my 33rd birthday in Reykjavík. I cycled solo around the entire country over thirty-three days in a clockwise direction. Thirty-three days later I finished the ride on the birthday of a dear friend, Elizabeth, who lost a long battle with cancer in January. My journey had a specific intention: honor passed loved ones while gaining a greater understanding of the universal ultimates I (we) face: life and death/light and dark. Iceland enabled me to confront these juxtapositions in an environment without distraction, in a centering geography of vast space and silence. My breath was the trunk of my being throughout. Each inhalation and exhalation rooted me to the physical and psychological endurance necessary to move forward each day.

I logged over 1200 km, roughly 750 miles in mountainous terrain. The journey was not easy. I never could have imagined the physical demands the geography would require. I had an idea, of course, but was quickly reminded an idea is very different than putting a concept into action. A mantra came to me within the first week, one I repeated daily: the roads will guide, my faith will take me. They did, and my faith never wavered.  I mostly used a paper map, Cycling Iceland 2016, for direction and reference. I carried all my gear in my bike panniers and on my back: camera equipment, food, clothing, etc. Side note: I'm likely the only woman who sets out to cycle around Iceland with an electric toothbrush, my favorite French perfume, and lipstick. Alas, I have my eccentricities. Most of all, I had, and will forever have, enormous determination and curiosity. 

Striking impressions were internalized and documented. Countless acts of kindness were received from strangers. Memories were embedded like the ash layers defining ancient glaciers, which undoubtedly left permanent marks on my personal history. Everyday I physically and psychologically moved forward, everyday awakened to spiritual truths. I look forward to sharing more from this project on my personal website in the future: katrinajaneperry.com

In the meantime, the momentum I adhered to during my time in Iceland I carry with me today in developing AUGUST ETTA. I realize the importance of balancing/honoring all aspects of myself now more than ever in my life. The brevity of life reinforces an urgency to live with this awareness. Engaging with nature, spending time with loved ones, serving my community, and using my artistic practice to create opportunities for greater observation requires patience and balance. I will continue to work with intention and in faith good things shall be revealed in due time.

Thank you for your interest in AUGUST ETTA. There are loads of good things to come from my work with artisans in Oaxaca and Austin–in time. And to support this philosophy, a favored quote by Lao-tzu, "Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished." And in my humble opinion, there is no greater example to lead by than Mother Nature's.

With gratitude, Katrina Jane

A (very small) glimpse into my thirty-three day journey cycling solo around Iceland, more on my personal website soon: katrinajaneperry.com

Women of Fundación En Vía & WOVEN

photos: Katrina Jane Perry

Isabel Santiago García and her daughter Juana García Santiago live in the community of San Miguel del Valle nestled in the foothills of the Sierras. They are a family of generational weavers and tamale makers. Both of their businesses are operated with the support of Fundación En Vía thorough microloans, responsible tourism, and education. 

I learned of Fundación En Vía three years ago on my first visit to Oaxaca. At the time I was taking a Spanish course at Instituto Cultural Oaxaca where the En Vía offices are located. Upon learning of their work in the surrounding communities, and having the opportunity to see firsthand what they were doing to support women, I signed up for their next tour without hesitation. On this particular day (each tour visits different communities), we visited five women-owned businesses ranging from weavers to chicken farmers in the communities of Día Ordaz and Teotitlan del Valle. I was beyond inspired by what I witnessed and the women I met–the skilled artistry and their dedication to running successful businesses. Knowing my tour fee was going back into the microfinance loan program in order to help build and grow the businesses we visited was an added bonus.

I am honored to work with three of the artisans I met on my very first En Vía tour on collaborations for AUGUST ETTA today. My support for this organization continues through these cherished relationships, and through WOVEN: the AUGUST ETTA commitment to weaving a social tapestry across borders by giving 5% of all AUGUST ETTA sales back En Vía, a non-profit organization located in Oaxaca, Mexico committed to supporting social and community development through microfinance, responsible tourism, and education.

It is also a great honor to volunteer my time when I am in Oaxaca to visually documenting the work En Via is doing to positively impact lives and build healthy communities. Sharing the success stories of hard-working, ambitious women is one of my greatest joys. I encourage anyone traveling to Oaxaca City to take an En Vía tour and learn more about how you can support this incredible effort to empower women in the Oaxaca Valley. Learn more about En Vía here

It's a family affair.

Emiliano, center, Delfina, and their youngest son, Gabino, in the courtyard of their family home in the Oaxaca Valley. 

Emiliano, center, Delfina, and their youngest son, Gabino, in the courtyard of their family home in the Oaxaca Valley. 

Many of the artisans I am honored to work with on collaborations for August Etta come from multi-generational families in skilled artistry. Emiliano and Delfina will celebrate their 55th wedding anniversary in November. They have passed down traditions in skilled weaving to their children, many whom continue in the family business today. These traditions, dating back to the 1920’s, are evident in their innovative designs and the sophistication in their work. The quality is unparalleled; every textile that comes off the loom is finished with pride to perfection.

The photos below of Emiliano demonstrate the first act in a multi-step process necessary to arrive at a finished weaving. It is called the hurdidor, La ténica hurdida in Spanish. I was amazed watching this process: 30 independent spools of cotton are strategically wrapped around bamboo poles and intricately looped to spin and feed the thread on the wooden frame Emiliano concurrently turns with one hand. There can be up to 72 spools of cotton at one time, which I find mind-bending and fascinating! Once the process is completed, there will be nearly 200meters of usable cotton ready for the next step in preparation before the thread ever touches the loom. 

Witnessing this laborious process in consideration of an end product causes one to take pause and reconsider the value placed on handmade goods. I hope this (very brief explanation of only one step in the process) will shed new light on your understanding of the incredible work that goes into a handwoven textile. The time, the sensitivity, and the love the Mendez family invests in their work is apparent in the finished product, and demonstrates their steadfast dedication to their generational traditions in weaving. It is a great honor for me to work with this brilliant family of artisans on collaborations for August Etta. Lots to love–off the loom and available online soon!

Oaxaca, I have only gratitude.

photos: Katrina Jane Perry

Where to begin in describing my love of this magic land? My affinities abound. Upon each return I am welcomed with incredible generosity, and exposed to artistry unlike anywhere I have ever traveled. I exist here in a perpetual state of awe over the skill encountered numerous times a day. The kind-hearted people I meet here imbue a deep sense of gratitude and ignite my curious spirit. And so the collaborations for AUGUST ETTA thrive! 

Words cannot express the appreciation I have for the opportunity to work in Oaxaca with so many incredible artisans–individuals who want to see their traditions in generational artistry survive in a world of rapid commerce. AUGUST ETTA strives to weave a social tapestry across borders through conscious consumerism. AUGUST ETTA celebrates the time-sensitive traditions in creating with one's hands, and the importance in supporting local economies. AUGUST ETTA praises the timeless quality achieved in this vanishing custom, and the soulful nuance embodied in an object showing evidence of the human hand.  

Over the next few weeks, the website will reveal handmade goods for the home and body: la casa y el cuerpo . In support of women, community and creativity, I am excited to soon share the offerings I have carefully selected for their form, function, and, of course, their beauty and whimsy. Please stay in touch by subscribing to the AE NEWSLetter. You'll be the first to learn of new offerings, and receive the latest journal posts from Peppered. Thank you for your time and interest! 

Sunday Jamz

My lovely friend, Emily, is launching her deliciously witty line of homemade jam, EMZ JAMZ, this afternoon at Friends & Neighbors, 2614 Cesar Chavez, 4pm-7pm. She has kindly invited AUGUST ETTA and Studio B. (another wonderful Austin, Texas artisan!) to partake in what is sure to be a jammin' time. I will have a selection of my wood planks of Texas Red Oak and Texas Pecan for sale. The beauties are perfect for any kitchen in both their form and function. AUGUST ETTA wood planks are multifunctional: cut, serve, and observe. A plank of purpose - a sculptural addition sure to add intrigue to your kitchen. Come delight in some jam tasting, experience the whimsy of Studio B. offerings, and see AUGUST ETTA wood planks in all their woodgrain glory. Bring your vinyl and we'll spin your jamz. Hope to see you there! 

Feliz Domingo! 

Katrina Jane

Peppered, the AUGUST ETTA journal

Welcome to the AUGUST ETTA journal, Peppered: a seasoning of curiosities, musings, objects and interests. Found inspiration drawn from a spectrum of peoples, landscapes, Mother Nature, art, design, architecture, wholesome food, soulful music, and stories I feel are worth sharing. Enjoy! 

Comida a los Jardineros de los Viveros de Coyoacan, Mexico City, 1925. 

Comida a los Jardineros de los Viveros de Coyoacan, Mexico City, 1925.