Six years ago, K’era Morgan walked away from a successful career in public relations for the sake of her emotional health. She chose instead to pursue her love of art, which she had put to one side after finishing a BFA in 1998. It’s a decision that we wholeheartedly applaud because we’ve been able to enjoy the results. Her mixed-media prints, as well as the throw blankets, pillows and blanket coats she makes from them (under the brand name k-apostrophe) are uniquely beautiful, and we’re delighted to offer them in our Marketplace.
K’era is based in Los Angeles but draws inspiration from various global traditions. Growing up, she spent a lot of time in fabric stores with her mother and was intrigued by the color and vivid design of African wax cloth, Mexican papel picado (perforated paper) and Otomo embroidery. Her abstract collages play with color, textures and layers, and are woven together from paint and found fragments — from magazines, newspapers, old books, hand-painted paper and even vellum bags, with her own markings added.
“My creative process is an intuitive one,” she tells us. “I never have a clear-cut plan of what I’m going to paint or create when I walk into my studio. I don’t work from sketches but instead let my intuition guide me in the creative process. That includes every detail from the color palette I choose to the mediums I select, whether it’s acrylic or ink or watercolor. At times, my finished piece is purely a painting, or one that is a mixture of painting and collage. Although the end result is always somewhat of surprise, I can feel where things are going while I’m painting as I follow my inner compass to guide me.”
What we found really interesting is that K’era collaborates with one of the few remaining textile mills in the US to turn these designs into colorful fabric for k-apostrophe, throws, blankets and coats made of 100% hand-dyed cotton.
“Once I finish a piece and have a cohesive body of work, I usually select a few pieces that I’m curious to see in a fluid textile form and on a larger scale,” she tells us. “This is to say, my textiles are an iteration of my original works and I don’t paint or create with the intention of creating a new collection of blankets or pillows. It’s my curiosity about how scale and medium will affect the current or change my final pieces. From there, I digitize my work with the help of a professional digital printing house.”
Her work is then photographed or scanned, edited and reproduced into a woven piece. “The final outcome is never an exact replica,” she adds. “However the iteration is in general quite beautiful. And it’s always mind-blowing for customers to see the six threads up close that are essentially woven together to create the various tones and hues that are used in the original. The weaving adds another layer of texture in addition to picking up on my brush strokes or a very flat field of color.”
K’era is part of a resurgence in traditional crafts around the United States, and there’s a cultural significance for her, as an African-American woman, in producing her textiles in the same land where her ancestors picked cotton. “My great-great-grandparents were sharecroppers in Georgia and had to flee to the North after a run-in with the Ku Klux Klan on the land they farmed. It seems as though things have come full circle now that I’ve gone back to the south to manufacture my American-made textiles. Especially today when a lot of manufacturing is overseas. I do find it comforting to know that through my business I’m reinvesting in the local economy.”
With this global perspective, it’s not surprising to learn that K’era is an avid traveler and fan of BoutiqueHomes’ design-based collection. “My first introduction to BoutiqueHomes,” she remembers, “was a few years ago when planning an annual getaway with my husband and two other couples that are close friends of ours. In the past we had always gone camping, but as kids entered the mix we wanted a destination that we could drive to in Northern California and was comfortable for families but didn’t skimp on design details (which you don’t always find when searching on other rental property sites). One of my friends happened to stumble across BoutiqueHomes during our search and found some lovely properties for us – and I was hooked.”
When she discovered our Marketplace, she reached out to us. “It was clear that quality and craftmanship and uniqueness was something valued by BoutiqueHomes,” she says, “and it’s something that is of great importance to me in relation to my line of home decor items.” We’re so glad that she did! To explore k-apostrophe, visit our Marketplace here.