The Dwell 24: K’era Morgan

K-apostrophe is a collection of made-to-order accessories by Los Angeles–based artist K’era Morgan.

K’era Morgan started out as a visual artist, but saw home furnishings as a way to make her creations more accessible to those who might not be able to buy original artwork. "I started with a collection of eight throw blankets, simple as that, because I have a natural affinity for home," the Los Angeles designer says. "And everybody has some sort of connection or memory with a blanket." 

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Her line, k-apostrophe, now also features tapestries, pillows, and prints, all showing off painterly splashes of subdued and comforting colors bounded by organic shapes and lines. 

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Although her patterns hold their own on a flat surface, they really come alive in three dimensions. "I want to see how a two-dimensional surface will change when I make it into an object that can also be folded or wrapped around," Morgan says. 

"When you lay your head down and a surface creases, what happens? There are some beautiful surprises that happen—and I like that."

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Read the Q&A with Morgan below.

Hometown: Los Angeles, California

Describe what you make in 140 characters. I'm an artist and design woven home decor products—pillows, blankets, and tapestries—that are based on my original artworks.

What's the last thing you designed? That is a hard one because I generally multiple design projects happening at the same time, but they all come to completion at different times. I just launched wallpapers in collaboration with the creative consulting firm Wall for Apricots. I recently completed a trio of custom, hand-painted lamp shades for a client and I will be launching new floor and lumbar pillows that are handwoven by an artisan collective in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Do you have a daily creative ritual? Meditation, then journaling/drawing. Mediation is a must for my overall wellbeing. Journaling at times takes the form of written words then other times it takes shape as line drawings in the same sketchbook. There are many days when the tasks of running a business takes me away from the creative aspect of what I do, so I try to dedicate a bit of time daily to doing something creative even if it's drawing for a few moments. It's essential to work that muscle regularly.

How do you procrastinate? The simple answer is, I clean. Since I have a home-based studio, procrastination usually takes the form of doing tasks related to maintaining a household. It's funny how I can rationalize doing housework during work hours instead of working on k-apostrophe. It's one of the reasons I'm forcing myself to consider finding a different studio space away from home although my garage studio is a great space and very convenient.

What everyday object would you like to redesign? Why? I recently explored how to apply my painting skills and aesthetic to lighting and I would like to continue that exploration. Although I'm not sure more lamps are needed, I'm drawn to the idea of colorful illumination. Lighting is essential and it's often treated as an afterthought. It affects our mood, how we live, how we work, etc. I would love to create something that is a beautiful reminder of how crucial light is in the form of a functional object d'art.

Who are your heroes (in design, in life, in both)? I'm a fan of many of the designers that I've discovered through the Black Artists + Designers Guild. Learning about the broad community of designers with whom I share a culture that have forged successful careers despite an industry that can be rather exclusive has been very motivational. Doing what they've done is heroic in my eyes.

What skill would you most like to learn? The art of upholstery. I've been enchanted with it for a long time and the idea of giving something old a new life is very appealing to me for sustainability reasons. Just like a fresh coat of paint can change a room, fashioning a new "skin" onto a sofa, for example, can reinvigorate it and thus change the environment in which it is kept. I think it also has to do with growing up in a household and within a culture where we had to be creative with what we had.

What is your most treasured possession? An opal stone that is strung on a necklace that my father gifted my mother for one of her birthdays. She passed it onto me before she transitioned. She and I are both Libras and opals our birthstone. It's shaped into a sphere bead which is almost impossible to do because opal is a soft stone. It wasn't until several years ago when opals started becoming trendy did people actually notice it and comment how beautiful it was.

What's your earliest memory of an encounter with design? Probably my fascination with the design of KangaRoo sneakers that featured a side zipper pocket. As a latch-key kid, I had to learn to keep up with my house key from a young age and believed this shoe was designed for me and other kids like me. It was a simple invention that made a huge impact on me.

What contemporary design trend do you despise? In general, I don't like trends. This is a result of times that I've felt the pressure as a creative just starting out to design something  in the vein of whatever was popular at that moment in order to achieve the awareness or success that I desired. I learned quickly that is a dangerous place to be in.  So,as a philosophy, I try to stick with what I like and reflect on what it is about a particular design or that calls my attention.

Finish this statement: All design should... have a purpose even if is purely decorative.

What's in your dream house? A lot of natural sunlight, a boat-load of original artwork created by friends and a dining table to seat 10 comfortably. A master bath that includes a fireplace and a tub next to huge windows that look out onto an amazing view. A vintage, curved Milo Baughman sofa and a sitting room with leather flooring.

How do you want design to be different after we emerge from the pandemic? I hope that as designers we will be able to engage more in the process of making and producing what we design—or at least finding sustainable, shorter supply chains. Collaborating with manufacturing partners is and can be a wonderful thing. It's essential for many of us and can be the lifeblood for manufacturers or keeping a craft tradition alive. But there is something to be said when as designers we are also artisans and craftspeople that have the skill to make what we dream up.

How can the design world be more inclusive? By owning the fact that the community has exclusive tendencies and understand or at least examine why or how that is. Then, move beyond the respective bubble. Do the work to connect, extend, and follow through.

What do you wish non-designers understood about the design industry?

You can learn more about Morgan by visiting her website or on Instagram.


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