We have chosen to work with designers who take pride in their creative processes, and want to share that experience with our community through designer led workshops. The concept of Workspace Collective goes beyond the fashion pieces that we will sell and create, it is about a mode of being and questioning and evoking change. We are using fashion as a catalyst within the design community to help inspire others to enhance the value of their life by providing all the elements and guidance necessary to flourish beyond each individuals’ aspirations.
Xoli Ngcoza // Handknit by Xoli
Xoli Ngcoza was born in South Africa and moved to the United States in 2004. Currently based in Connecticut, she is a Certified Nurse Assistant, doula, DJ, hiker and knitter.
Xoli learned to knit in 2008 as a way to connect with her patient, who was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. After discovering a stash of yarn and knitting materials in the client's home, Xoli asked her for lessons, as she hadn't practiced since primary school in South Africa. Her client's mind went smoothly into it, and they spent their days knitting together. She gifted Xoli her first set of knitting needles, and she has been knitting ever since.
Lynsey Ayala // Bread X Butta
Lynsey Ayala began making clothing when she was just a kid, hell bent on designing garments for Barbie and herself to match. She learned how to hand sew from her grandmother and she had always loved to paint. Lynsey would paint flowers or "cool" prints onto her newly made pieces. In high school, she continued to design and hand paint friend's sneakers, jackets and jeans. Fashion as a vehicle for hand painted fine art has always pushed her to create and reinvent.
After graduating college for Fine Art & Art History, Lynsey began to make a shift in her art making processes. By becoming an assistant to a master marbler in San Francisco, she was introduced to an antiquated form of art making that she quickly fell in love with. After apprenticing for a few years, Lynsey moved back to the East Coast and with her master marbler's blessing, she began BreadxButta.
Billy Neville // Wood Work
His initiation into the craft of wood burning has manifested organically over the last year and a half. Having access to a wood burning tool, along with an element of curiosity and familiarity of working with his hands, Billy Neville created his first wood burnt piece, which was a chunk of wood, engraved with the words "Dustin loves Shannon" - a wedding gift for a friends wedding day.
Stemming from there, the idea of making coasters seemed like a logical step for Billy, and the opportunity to access lots of wood and the right tools was presented. As time and different projects came up, he began routing out home decor pieces and began to enjoy the meditative aspect of tuning into being one with the art of making. This all has led to more tools and newer ideas, and provided him with the skills to furnish Workspace Collective with hanging racks, display tables and unique shop fixtures.
As Billy continues to be intrigued by new ideas and concepts, and accessing his own collection of tools, he is excited to see what will come next. After recently hosting a wood burning class, Billy noticed that watching people learn the art was exciting. To watch people with no knowledge of the art, he was able to see them sincerely enjoy something he himself enjoys.
Doreen Breen // Soul Threads
Doreen Breen, owner and designer for Soul Theads works with natural and recycled fabrics
to create wearable art pieces. She chooses to be eco-friendly, thoughtful and mindful of the disposability of our society. Believing there is a conscious connection between people and the clothing they choose to wear, Doreen works to bring clothing and accessories that inspire and empower the wearer.
Doreen's technique's include: Nuno felting, Dyeing, Discharging, Hand Embroidery, Applique/Quilting, Weaving, Knitting/Crochet, Embellishing with vintage and ethnic paneling and trim.
These techniques are primarily used to repurpose and redesign coats and jackets.
Her line of "Soul Coats" are designed to tell the story of your soul in wearable art - each coat is designed based on your life, your passion, your soul....as interpreted by Doreen.
You may contact Doreen at any time at 860-294-1156 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Crystal Keeler // Meadowlark Handcrafted
With a background in 3D Animation and maker of many things, Crystal Keeler of Meadowlark Handcrafted is always creating new projects for herself. She has a deep passion for the art of creating, and the science of making, meanwhile champing at being a beautiful mother and wife. She began making her soaps in the summer of 2016 after returning from a family vacation, and knew she was on to something special. A crafty hands on person by nature, her soaping skills are constantly moving to the next level.
Karin Mansberg // BlockPrinted Art
Karin Mansberg is a self-taught fabric designer. After the graduation from the Western Connecticut State University’s MFA Illustration program in 2013, she started designing hand printed fabric under the label BLOCKprintedArt. Karin likes to design tote bags, scarves, and home accessories with her hand printed fabric. She often uses up-cycled denim and other materials such as zippers, cords and buttons. Besides designing fabric, Karin also likes to make relief prints and illustrate stories. Her prints and drawings explore connections between observed, remembered, and imagined. She prints on fabric and paper, alternating controlled, designed marks with spontaneous processes of such as monotype, collage, and drawing with blindly picked selection of pencils. Karin studied Art History and Criticism in the Estonian Academy of Art in Tallinn, Estonia (1996-99), which was a time she indulged in theoretical understanding of art. However, she has realized she enjoys hands-on experiences in art and likes teaching block printing to both children and adults.
Nikki Stewart // Of The Land
Nikki Stewart is a women's wear designer recently relocated from LA to Connecticut. She received her BFA in Fashion Design from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2012 and founded her clothing and accessory brand, Of The Land in 2016. Of The Land is a sustainable line of fashion in its materials and use, as well as it's inspiration. Nikki takes an idea or a feeling and turns it into something tactile, and hopefully the viewer or wearer receives their own unique experience. Zero-waste is a large part of her process in that she uses every aspect of the material until the pieces are too small to cut or sew. Those pieces are collected and will then be used to make recycled paper. This is part of the sustainable life cycle of her practice. Part of her love of nature comes from her upbringing. It is hard to live by the ocean and the mountains and not allow them to influence art. Growing up, Nikki would go camping with her family and nature became a part of who she is now.
Nikki's areas of expertise lie in textiles, from fabric manipulation to textile design. This includes dying, felting, crocheting, knitting, weaving, embroidery, repeat prints, placement prints, and marbling. She has a strong interest in activewear as well as one of a kind special occasion wear. Nikki loves creating custom pieces for individual clients that range from contemporary costumes to bridal wear. She will do her best to work within any budget to create something unique and unforgettable for her clients.
Vanessa Strubbe // DÚ-HO
Vanessa Strubbe was born and raised in Puerto Rico, moving to Connecticut to pursue her studies in Industrial Design through the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design at the University of Bridgeport. Here she focused her artwork on ceramics, woodwork, upcycling vintage jewelry, silkscreen design, analog photography, and xylography, and has participated in 17 exhibitions since 2009.
Vanessa then began DÚ-HO with Ed Rivera in 2015. Her design process begins by taking inspiration from tiles, patterns, and colors. Often, the vision comes from pieces of her grandmother's furniture. Designs then manifest after drawing quick sketches, or just from starting to work with the material from scratch.
For Vanessa, design is about creating new experiences for the customer. Her ceramic jewelry pieces are some of the best sellers at Workspace Collective, and we love seeing her stylish, one-of-a-kind pieces accent our customer's wardrobes.
Brian McCarley // Simply Antonio
Brian Antonio was born in Danbury, Connecticut and attended New Hope Christian Academy. After he graduated in 2002 he joined the U.S. Navy where he served for 8 years until 2010 as an Aviation Electronics and Computer Systems Technician, Naval Auxiliary Security and Navy Funeral Honor guard Team Leader. During his service, he visited countless countries around the world and had many great experiences which greatly influenced his artwork.
It wasn't until the summer of 2011 that Brian took his first two art classes and realized his calling for a newly-found love of art that has helped save his life, and is determined to show others how art can change their lives. Brian is currently employed as a teacher's assistant at Western Connecticut State University under the great Jurg Lanzrein, and has had artwork featured in over 22 art shows in the last 6 years. Upon completion of his undergraduate degree, he plans to attend graduate school where he will pursue a Masters of Fine Arts so that he can help spread the healing power of art to children and adults all over the world.