Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx with The Black Spot Books and Peg and Awl

wednesday indie artist fixx interview

Today’s edition of the Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx is a real treat for you and for me. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing their work and their amazing booth display in person at last year’s Art Star Craft Bazaar, so when a reader suggested them for an interview, I thought the husband and wife team of Margaux and Walter Kent of The Black Spot Books and Peg and Awl would be perfect for the series. I was right. A fun, talented, interesting couple! There’s lots of eye candy too!

black spot book journal jewelry

What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?

Margaux: Hmmm, the name of our business is Peg and Awl and sometimes The Black Spot Books. Confusing, I know. We changed the name from TBS to incorporate all of the newness of P & A. We make all kinds of things. We started by just being makers of things, independently, and brought most of what we do together. In one way or another, everything is a part of each of us. Even Walter’s paintings and my photographs would be different without one another’s constant comments and proximity.

Walter: We started Peg and Awl after I got back from a year adventure in Iraq. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do and I was thinking of going back to work with my dad (he owns a small construction company) but Margaux had other plans. Ever since we met two and half years earlier, Margaux had asked me to make a bath caddy, and since I had been home, she continued to ask. When I came up from the shop, bath caddy in hand, she said that we had to start a company selling the things we make for our home. I was apprehensive at first but Margaux’s determination for success slowly won me over.

peg and awl tub caddy

black spot books journal jewelry

Margaux, why little books? Were you called to create them?

Little books came about from the stray pieces. Even scraps of scraps are hard for me to abandon, but in this case, the scrap’s scraps were some of the best pieces of leather, samples from everything I have done. This is how they began, now they are taking over. They are also a kind of funny response to the enormous tomes that I used to never be seen without. (After having our two boys carrying such beasts became somewhat of a challenge though).

I love to read about the materials that you both use in your creations. Like the old leather jackets as book covers or antique floor joists used to make desk caddies. Tell us a little about how you sources your materials? I’m sure it must be quite an adventure!

M: Ah, it is truly an adventure and without adventure I would be nothing. I wander about. All over. It was certainly easier when I was just I, but we have still managed to acquire some fine treasures as a family!

W: We are ever on the hunt for new materials, whether it be dumpster diving, scouring flea markets and yard sales, or tracking down old houses that are being torn down. Our searches for abandoned materials have led us to small Pennsylvania towns, villages along the Eastern US coast both north and south, and all the way to the streets of Paris. Even in Iraq, I was on the look out for materials to send home to Margaux.

peg and awl reclaimed wood desk caddy

Do you work collaboratively or work on your own projects separately?

M: We work apart and together. There is some part of each creation touched by both of us, no matter what. Walter is building a studio in our yard (nearly finished) from reclaimed wood. It looks like a little cabin in the woods. This, and a new schedule that we have forced upon ourselves (now that we have our Søren and Silas) will keep us apart longer in the day—a long distance relationship! I trust this will make our return to each other by night very exciting.

W: We work on everything together. Sometimes, we even debate on who came up with the idea of different products. In truth, none of this would be possible without my Margarie.

work studio made from reclaimed wood

Share some of your inspirations in your art and in life.

M: Oh my goodness. How shall I begin? I get so much out of words. And travel. When I am doing neither, I am so empty. When I am doing either, I bounce about with the energy of a million stars.

W: I long for the little seconds in life where everything seems to make sense, those fleeting moments when I feel a pulling in my chest, my limbs seem to feel as if they are not my own, a lump forms in my throat and an overpowering feeling swarms my entire being, this is why life is worth living, what makes it so amazing! These moments appear unannounced; while listening to a bit of music, when a painting that I have been laboring on for hours suddenly comes together, when I met Margaux, when smooshed in a helicopter straining my neck to look out the small window down at the lights speckling the vast desert, when riding a train in the middle of the night. These times, I try to somehow capture in my art.

{{photo by Laura Pedrick}}

What’s usually playing while you are creating?

M: Hmmm, boys! Søren and Silas. If you mean music, well this is tricky. Ever-changing, or silence even. After seeing Black Swan it was Tchaikovsky. Now there is some weird opera on. When calm, I love music in French so as not to be distracted by the words. Other times, I like to hop about when making things so I put on music more lively. I love Nick Cave. I have been listening to him a lot these days.

W: Fever Ray, Emily Haines, Deer Tick, British Sea Power, Pulp…

What artsy/craftsy stuff do you like to do for fun?

M: I just made gingerbread cookies with Søren around Christmastime, does this count? Everything. Our lives are not boring.

W: Recently, I have really been enjoying cooking. It is always an adventure when I pull out the ingredients from the cabinets and fridge to make maple teriyaki salmon or blueberry pancakes.

Share 3 things that you are crushing on right now from other indie artists/crafters/designers. Make sure to include links.

M: 1. I am blown away by this shoppe, Celapiu, I just picked a piece at random because EVERYTHING is wonderful. 2. Can I say this? I would LOVE a Peg and Awl kitchen.3. I want to go somewhere. I am not answering the question, I know. But this is what I am crushing on.

W: 1. This sweater by Little Houses. 2. This necklace by Blood Milk. 3. These boots by Cydwoq.

What blogs & mags do you read?

M: Organic Gardening. I am bad at magazines and blogs. For Christmas, we did get a subscription to National Geographic and NatGeo Traveller.

W: I love Mental Floss and Fine Woodworking.

Whats new or in the works for Black Spot Books and Peg & Awl?

M: Oh loads for Peg and Awl! As for The Black Spot, I am looking forward to some collaborations including one with JL Schnabel of Bloodmilk.

W: We have a couple ideas floating around for Valentine’s Day such, as an Apothecary Vase accompanied with a love note in a bottle, but I have been dreaming of making a chandelier, and a coat/hat rack, I have hats strewn all over our house.

apothecary vase with love notes from peg and awl

black spot books journal necklace

{{craft show display of Peg and Awl and The Black Spot Books}}


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