in the studio with
text by Anna Kocharian, photos by Michael Wiltbank
In a sun-drenched Brooklyn studio, Brit Kleinman, AVO’s founder,
carefully unrolls a hand-printed cowhide rug. It's electric blue. And beautiful. “The beauty of leather is that the color evolves over time,” Kleinman explains, pointing to a rich brown piece on the top of a shelf. With a degree in Industrial Design from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a five-year stint as the Head Bag Designer for Jack Spade, Kleinman began experimenting with various dyes and materials before starting AVO in 2014. We caught up with Kleinman in her recently converted warehouse studio space in Brooklyn, where she shares her inspiration and what she loves about her craft.
It was fueled by a number of factors, mainly my passion
for getting back to an art that involved a handmade
element. The fact that a single piece can reflect a culture, inspired me to explore the impact of design through patterns and various aesthetics.
The lack of control. Going into a project with an
idea of what you’d like the end product to be,
while being flexible enough to allow the artistic
process to direct you.
I love that I get to go into a studio and create
something every day. I'm even grateful for those small day to day details of running my own business, which enables me to put something out into the world.
Culture. Specifically through the art of travel and discovery.
I can’t pick just one! It's a toss up between all of the little
things I’ve found or gathered along my travels.
For me, a home is a place where one unwinds and
relaxes. It’s where you can appreciate the things you
have–and be comfortable with not having too much.
When I’m traveling or learning about cultures.
I took a trip to Guatemala a few years ago, and
worked with artisans to create products they could
sell at local markets.
I come from a family of artists, my mom is a textile
artist, and I definitely look up to her. I also have an
art mentor, David Limrite, who has always been that little
bird in my head motivating me.