Q&A with Erin Althea of Love & Quarry
Ever since starting Via Los Angeles, I have wanted to include a curated collection of unique and fun statement pieces for the home. It goes without saying but fashion is much easier to find than locally produced home goods that aren't a dime a dozen.
So when I was introduced to Erin Althea and her project, Love & Quarry, by my cousin, Sam Kallis, I was thrilled. I absolutely LOVE getting tips and suggestions on new local artists and designers. Plus, Sam has excellent taste.
Erin and I actually met for the first time on the day I took these photos in her studio. It's big and has bits of inspiration everywhere. Her creativity and ingenuity seems to be overflowing. Mountains of hollow concrete bookends and paperweights are stacked and look like someone was playing a game of Jenga with Lincoln Logs. I love her bookends and paperweights because they are modern and colorful. Despite being primarily made from concrete, that touch of bright resin reminds me of candy or sea glass.
Next week, we will be launching a collection of her resin earrings. Today, I present to you, Erin Althea and Love & Quarry...
How did you start Love and Quarry?
When I moved back to LA in 2013 (From Oakland), I serendipitously had an opportunity to make paperweights for each room of The Line Hotel in Koreatown. I quickly got to work figuring out the best materials and forms to accompany the hotel's Brutalist-style design. The creative director and I decided that concrete and resin would be the best solution. The entire experience was so positive that I decided to launch Love & Quarry, starting with my own line of concrete/resin bookends, paperweights and jewelry.
Tell us a little bit about your background before starting the company.
I grew up with a mother who was obsessed with making stained-glass windows and objects, as well as many sewing projects. My first memories of life are of following her around and watching her turn coils of lead and sheets of raw glass into beautiful sculptural objects. Very early on, I fell in love with drawing, painting, and assembling my own sculptures from found materials. Due to crippling shyness , I had very few friends and was driven to create my own world where I only could exist. After graduating from high school, I worked as a wardrobe and prop stylist for several years before going back to school to study illustration. After college, I worked with clients such as Levi Strauss & Co and McSweeneys. I am currently designing props and FX at Dreamworks, on an animated TV show called “HOME” (forthcoming).
What is the process behind creating your pieces?
The pieces are originally sculpted in either clay, wood or foam before they are molded in hard rubber. The cement is poured into the molds and cured for a few days. For the bookends and paperweights, the concrete is then prepared for the resin. I pigment the resin and pour it into the “void” part of the piece. After curing, they are sanded, waxed, and buffed.
What are some of the inspirations behind your designs?
Returning back to LA after a couple of years gave me a renewed appreciation for my native home town. I started seeing the landscape differently and was charmed by the sprawling metropolis of palm trees, Brutalist architecture, and ocean waves. I wanted to create objects and accessories that felt very specific to the culture of Los Angeles.
Do you have a favorite piece?
The small cube bookends. I designed them with tediously suspended modern swimming pools in mind.
Do you have a place in LA that you go to for inspiration?
The art museums! The Norton Simon (in Pasadena) is one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve been there hundreds of times and even once tried to get a job there as a security guard so I could spend most of my time there. Also, The LACMA is endlessly inspiring. When I saw the James Turrell exhibit, I felt my world expand and change. His work is hugely inspirational.
What music are you currently listening to?
Female garage-rock bands such as Mika Miko, The Dum Dum Girls, SISU, The Vivian Girls, and Plasticines. I also can’t get enough of Ty Segall.
What is your favorite place in LA?
Right now, my favorite place to be is in my studio in Lincoln Park. But occasionally, you can find me rollerskating at Moonlight Rollerway in Glendale or dancing at the Short Stop in Echo Park. Also, I just discovered Neon Arcade in Pasadena... so much fun. I guess that is four places!
You can explore Love & Quarry and the rest of our home goods by clicking here. Next week we will launch Love & Quarry's resin earrings.