Here at JSS, Stockpiler is one of our absolute favorite places to find unique goods for our client's homes. We feel as though it's extremely important to support artists and makers in any capacity, from helping our client's to find their pieces, to spreading the word about their incredible work.
A few weeks ago, we sat down with Chris Dibble of Stockpiler to hear about his latest pop-up event, The Modern Craft of Fiber Art at Kat+Maouche, opening on Thursday night.
JS: What is Stockpiler?
CD: It's a community connector, a traveling showcase of curated work from artists and makers.
JS: Where did the idea for Stockpiler come from?
CD: I was planning a move from LA to Portland a few years ago, and everyone kept telling me how much Portlanders and Oregonians hated Californians. When I finally moved here, I didn't experience that at all - everyone was welcoming and lovely. There was this amazing, natural sense of community, especially at these artist and maker shows that I would attend. I loved what I saw, and it got me thinking about it got me thinking about the idea of introducing new work to the community. I had all of these ties to makers and artists in LA, and I wanted to bring their work up to Portland and vice versa. It was a way to not just sell their work, but rather introduce them to new venues that might want to sell their pieces. I saw it as a potential opportunity to create new wholesale accounts for these artists. It's incredibly difficult as a maker to make a living, so this is my way of being a patron and helping to fund these artists since I can't afford to buy all of the pieces that I fall in love with. I love community and the relationship that it has with each of us - it's incredibly important to cultivate it, particularly in today's day and age when it is so easy to feel disconnected from your local communities. I want to bring people a real sense of connection. I myself can get really caught up in Instagram and my phone, so I work really hard to have face time, particularly with artists, to help grow a community.
JS: What are the parameters for a maker to join Stockpiler?
CD: Originally it was just geographic - I would sell pieces from LA makers in Portland and pieces from PDX in Los Angeles. The pieces were from people that I had relationships with because I had met with them and then responded to their work and was drawn into a friendship. I felt like if I had a strong feeling towards their work, then others might too. My particular curation style is unique because I think I am drawn to pieces that maybe a lot of folks might not understand. It's not about 100% audience approval, but about finding a handful of people that respond to the works. It's all very intuitive, I see something that I am drawn to and then a natural relationship develops.
But Stockpiler is now growing out of its geographical parameters - my makers live all over Oregon and California as well as Colorado. It takes a little bit more time because I don't have direct connections with artists in other locations, but I'm using Instagram to connect with artists from all over. I tend to be drawn to more functional art, but all mediums are welcome. Originally, I focused entirely on fiber arts and ceramics, because they're what I knew, but as Stockpiler grows, we're looking for new mediums. I would like to curate photography and works on paper as we expand.
Ultimately, our goal is to peak the client's interest in an artist, whether they buy that piece on the wall or not, maybe they'll explore the artist's work themselves.
JS: How did the relationship with Kat+Maouche begin?
CD: Stockpiler is focused on presenting artist's pieces in a retail setting rather than a fine art gallery setting. I feel that it's inviting to the client, rather than intimidating. A retail environment allows for a lot more fun. So, I originally saw Kat+Maouche's rugs at Sunday Emporium. They caught my eye and I wanted to know everything about the owners and what they were doing. The textiles are what drew me in, but I started talking to Katen about the history of Beni Ourain carpets and it gave me a deeper understanding and appreciation because I learned about the history. They weren't just aesthetically pleasing, they had a story. I would stop by their shop randomly because I was interested in what they were doing, bringing incredible vintage rugs straight from Morocco, and we started to develop a relationship.
In the new year, I decided to take Stockpiler in a new direction, and I wanted to have a fiber focus, so Kat+Maouche is really the perfect place for the show. I wanted it to be in their shop because I think the show will be really well responded to in the context of their own fiber arts. The owners, Latif Bezzir and Katen Bush, have been so amazing to work with. I worked with Katen on figuring out the name of the show because I didn't want it to be too serious, but I also didn't want it to be too cutesy. I want to keep things straight-forward and transparent and realistic and inclusive.
JS: I think you are bringing art to the masses in your own way.
CD: I've worked in tons of high-end fine art galleries and craft fairs too, and I wanted to find a balance between fine art and something that's more crafty.
JS: It sounds like it's really about bringing art to more people in a different way.
Make sure to stop by Kat+Maouche (23 NW 4th Ave in Portland) on Thursday between 6 and 9 for the opening party or stop by Kat+Maouche during business hours to check out the installation.