Meet the Maker

Behind the Scenes w/ Hilde Leiaghat of Pom Pom Bedding

We're getting ready to welcome Hilde to both of our stores this week, where she will be talking a little more about her inspiration and aesthetic, the linens she chooses and the production process, as well as showing us how to make up a cozy bed and giving suggestions for your own home. But first, we wanted to learn a little more about the brand and her every day life, read on!

GARDENOLOGY: What would you say is the inspiration behind your designs?

HILDE: My inspiration comes from growing up in Belgium and having linen as an essential in my everyday life. After moving to California and developing an appreciation for a relaxed lifestyle and coastal look, I was able to create Pom Pom which has both a casual and elegant style.

I don’t have a specific design process but it usually starts from gathering collections of images that inspire me.  It could be an abstract image of colors, the lace on a dress or a building architecture; just a variety and mix of things that I not only encounter from my travels around the world and experiencing different cultures or lifestyles, but also from my daily life.

Story board    
    Inspired by the beautiful colors you find at the beach, new textures recently introduced in the line such as cotton sateen, waffle textured linen and hand crochets.   
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Story board Inspired by the beautiful colors you find at the beach, new textures recently introduced in the line such as cotton sateen, waffle textured linen and hand crochets.

GARDENOLOGY: What is your studio/office space like?

HILDE: I work and design in the open space of our ever changing showroom. This space allows me to play around with our samples, put them on the bed, and change things around. It is a place that encourages creativity and ideas. It’s really fun!

GARDENOLOGY: Was working together as a family something you expected would happen? Where do each of your roles and daily tasks differ?

HILDE: I am very fortunate to have both my sons work for Pom Pom at Home. I never expected this, but it has been such a blessing to be surrounded by my family. They are all tough critics but we all want the best for this company! My husband Reza and I are the creative force and do most of the traveling. Sam is VP of sales and Michael is our business development manager.

GARDENOLOGY: What do you do to relax?

HILDE: Since we are always busy in the city, I often try to escape for a weekend to Malibu beach or the Arrowhead Mountains. When staying home, we enjoy sharing a meal with good friends in our garden.

GARDENOLOGY: What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

HILDE: My father always told me, “Never do anything I wouldn’t do.” I’ve lived by this quote my entire life.  I was fortunate enough to have extremely hard working and loving parents.  My mother is my biggest inspiration because of her positive outlook on life.   All I wish to be is the same example for my sons.

Don't forget to RSVP to our event to meet Hilde, and receive 20% Off Pom Pom AND a free scarf when you spend $100. RSVP

Meet Local Artist: Aria Paperie

OK Orange County, now it's time to meet the local artist who will be paying our Newport Beach store a visit next Saturday. Amanda, of Aria paper, creates hand lettered quotes on canvas, paper, tote bags, mugs, you name it! Read on to see how she got into this craft and what inspires her, and don't forget to come by the Newport Beach store on Feb 13th from 11-2 to catch a glimpse of some live work!

GARDENOLOGY: Tell us how your got started in Calligraphy?

AMANDA- ARIA PAPERIE: This past summer, I saw an announcement for a brush-lettering workshop on one of the Instagram accounts I follow. As someone who has always been artistic and worked hard to have nice penmanship, I would admire beautiful lettering from a distance, with no idea where to start. So I decided to attend the workshop. After the class, I found myself doing more research, buying pens, trying out new techniques, and following all the “best in the business” on social media. I spent all my free time practicing, and found as many excuses as possible to write things. I quickly found hand-lettering and modern calligraphy to be something I was very passionate about, and was surprised at how I never seemed to grow tired of it. It has now been 8 months since I first sat down with a brush pen, and my passion for it grows each day.

GARDENOLOGY: What would you say is the inspiration behind your designs? What does the creative process typically look like for you?

AMANDA- ARIA PAPERIE: Well written quotes, succinct phrases, and eloquent words are inspiring to me. When starting a new design, I always start with a pencil and paper. I may have an idea of what I’d like to do, but often, I just start writing words or phrases I have in mind. Many pages and eraser marks later, I end up with my finished product. 

GARDENOLOGY: What’s your studio space like?

AMANDA- ARIA PAPERIE: I spent a lot of time creating an inviting and inspiring studio space. It is located in a small corner of my home where there is plenty of light, and storage for my expansive stash of pens and ink.  

GARDENOLOGY: Of everything you’ve made, what’s your favorite piece?

AMANDA- ARIA PAPERIE: My favorite thing I have made is a toss up between my hand-lettered tote bag that says “I’ll be at Target if you need me”, and a black campfire mug that says “It is well”. The phrase for the tote bag was inspired by the countless hours I spend at Target each week, which I know is true for many other women. The coffee mug was inspired by lyrics to one of my favorite songs, and is soothing to read while sipping my own morning cup of coffee.

GARDENOLOGY: Since you are participating in our ‘Locals’ event, what are some of your faves in the Orange County area?

Tacos: Café Rio, Costa Mesa

Coffee: Chocxo, Costa Mesa and Irvine

Beach: Crescent Bay, Laguna

Brunch spot: Old Vine Cafe, Costa Mesa

Meet the Local Artist: Chanel of Dixie on Dallas

Next Saturday, we're keeping it local! In Encinitas, we will be sharing our space with San Diego calligraphy artist Dixie on Dallas, from 11-2. Stop by and say hi while she creates handwritten quotes and greeting cards, We caught up with Chanel, the creator behind the brand, to learn a little more about her creative process and of course, her fave local spots.

GARDENOLOGY: Tell us how you got started in Calligraphy?

CHANEL- DIXIE ON DALLAS: It was about a year and half ago when I took my first workshop, ever. It was the first time I had ever tried anything like this. I signed up for a workshop with Twinkle & Toast and Grace & Salt. Taryn from Twinkle & Toast was the calligrapher, while Grace & Salt hosted the workshop in their shop in Del Mar. It was such a fun class and even though my calligraphy was terrible in the beginning, I loved it. I continued to practice, follow the trends and explore new options. I’m still in the learning stages, but I love being a part of the community and industry.

GARDENOLOGY: What would you say is the inspiration behind your designs? What does the creative process typically look like for you?

CHANEL- DIXIE ON DALLAS: My inspiration is simple - it’s things that I like and things that I think other people like. I pull quotes that inspire me, my favorite country songs and sayings from people who I admire. Naturally, I get things from Pinterest and other sites that I follow and see what people are looking at. I make things that I think people want in their homes and sell them for reasonable prices so all can enjoy!

GARDENOLOGY: What’s your studio space like?

CHANEL- DIXIE ON DALLAS: My studio space is my childhood bedroom. I’m still living with my parents and my “studio” is some-what of a joke. It ranges from my closet, my sister’s bedroom, and even the garage. I have a full time job as well, so much of my process and orders are done on the weekend or late nights. Ideally, I would love one of those dark wood and white desks that you see girls posting on Instagram. I’m hoping to have my own space by the end of year where I can have more freedom and room for more creative adventures.

GARDENOLOGY: Of everything you've made, what's your favorite piece?

CHANEL- DIXIE ON DALLAS: My favorite is the windows. I have 2 done right now, but also have 4 other ones that are blank that I'm saving for custom orders. They are so beautiful and represent my style so well. Since the windows I get are vintage and antique, their rustic frames matched with the clean lines of calligraphy are so fun to make and create for people.

GARDENOLOGY: Since you are participating in our 'Local Love' event, what are some of your faves in the San Diego area?


Museum: Museum of Contemporary Art in La Jolla and the Natural History Museum in Balboa Park

Tacos: It’s more Mexican food in general, but El Azteca in La Mesa.

Coffee: The Champ from Dark Horse Coffee Roasters in North Park

Beach: Torrey Pines

Brunch spot: Snooze Eatery in Hillcrest

Meet the Maker: Alex Marshall Ceramics

Since holiday entertaining is on our mind this month, we caught up with the makers of one of our favorite dinnerware collections. We've been stocking Alex Marshall Ceramics at our Newport Beach location for a few seasons now, with each piece having it's own integrity- slight asymmetry while remaining clean and modern in form. So let's meet the creative duo behind Alex Marshall, who just so happen to be based in our favorite state of California.

Sundance Catalog

Sundance Catalog

GARDENOLOGY:  Was working together as a husband and wife team something you expected would happen?

ANDREW: Alex and I met in 2003 while she was visiting NYC on a sales trip and I was living there working in software development. After a year of flying cross country to see each other, we decided I should move to the bay area where Alex was living since my job was more portable. Having a computer science background and moving to the heart of the technology sector made it a pretty easy decision. We truly thought Alex would continue making her handmade ceramics on the specialty level as she had been doing and I would work in software development. The job I left in NY hired me on as a remote worker for 6 months which gave me time to settle in. After 6 months working on my own and helping Alex, we realized we could actually make a life together with the ceramics. We wrote a business plan, figured out how to navigate the wholesale market and here we are 13 years later producing handmade ceramics from a studio on our olive orchard in northern California.

GARDENOLOGY: Where do each of your roles and daily tasks differ within Alex Marshall?

ANDREW: Since we’re a 2-person operation that manufactures exclusively in California our roles are definitely intertwined. However, the short easy answer is- Alex is responsible for everything going into the kilns and I’m responsible for everything coming out of the kilns. The more in-depth answer is more like- Alex and I decide together what new forms and glazes we’d like to develop, we sketch it out together and then Alex makes the initial sample, we discuss it, figure out improvements and Alex makes the next sample and so forth. It’s a very iterative process. On the other side since I make the catalogs, price lists and website, Alex will take the photography and we’ll work together on the layout. When you’re a partnership you have to find the balance between relying enough on your partner while making sure you don’t overly rely on your partner.

Sundance Catalog

Sundance Catalog

GARDENOLOGY: What would you say is the inspiration behind your designs?

ANDREW: Everything inspires our work and, with the advent of smartphones, it's become much easier to capture any inspiration. We photograph everything we like, regardless of how insignificant it may seem. We rip pages out of magazines because you never know when that inspiration will lead to a new design. We also keep every doodle we make, even if it's on a napkin drawn hastily in 30 seconds because you never know. An excellent source of inspiration is to listen to our clients since they're listening to their clients. Inspiration can happen anywhere at any time, it's up to us to grab that inspiration and put it to use.

For example, Alex has a background in painting and we have a few of her paintings hanging in our house. One day I said to Alex I’d love to do a glaze that matches the sentiment of one of her paintings. This led directly to our new glaze; sienna on matte white which matches the composition of one of Alex’s paintings. The inspiration had been there for 13 years; it just took a while for us to capture it.

GARDENOLOGY: What is your studio space like?

ANDREW: Our studio is a 1200 square foot steel building that’s located about 20 feet from our backyard and looks out onto our olive orchard. It has 4 production kilns, 1 test kiln and lots and lots of unglazed wares.

GARDENOLOGY: Is there anything special about your production process that sets you apart from the competition?

ANDREW: We have an 8KW solar array on the roof which offsets about 45% of our electrical usage. All of our ceramics are produced 100% in California. We don’t import anything in our process.

GARDENOLOGY: What is your favorite food or holiday to serve with Alex Marshall tabletop?

ANDREW: Every year we put on a huge holiday party, making all the traditional foods we grew up with. We serve appetizers on our larger platters with stacks of our bread and butter plates. Although we serve dinner buffet style we always set the table with our white dinnerware.  We love to use our tumblers for flowers cut from our property.

GARDENOLOGY: What is your favorite theme for a dinner party or fave way to set the mood for one?

ANDREW: About once a month we have “sushi night”. It’s always a fun way to entertain because everyone can gather around and watch and eat as food’s being made. We put out huge flat platters; one for sushi, one for tempura and one for dumplings or fried wontons. We use our round bread and butter plates for soy sauce and our smaller bowls for all the different sauces.  Music is very important to us. We always have music on when we’re entertaining, usual a mix of contemporary singer songwriter, relaxing electronica or classic R&B (Alex’s favorite).

View some of our bestsellers here and the complete range at Alex Marshall.

Meet the Maker: Monica of Montes Doggett

With the addition of this new collection of white ceramic tabletop and serving pieces, we thought we'd introduce you to the creative brain behind the brand. You may have seen the collection in House Beautiful or on the Food Network, with intentional imperfections on traditional shapes, giving it the character that creates memories cherished by the family for decades. So let's delve into Monica Porter's world. 

GARDENOLOGY: Where do you get your inspiration?

MONICA: A palette for good food is always an inspiration! When guests are coming to dinner, it can take me 30 minutes to get ready, 45 minutes to prepare the meal .. but it takes me 2 hours to set the table! Both my mother and mother-in-law (the Montes and the Doggett) shared a passion for the home and table, so I wanted to continue the tradition of creating memories at the table.

left : Pinterest | right: NE Home Mag

left : Pinterest | right: NE Home Mag

GARDENOLOGY: What's your favorite food to serve on Montes Doggett?

MONICA: A good traditional Mexican dish, since that's where my roots are. But something as simple as a sliced tomato also looks amazing on a white plate, or chicken noodle soup will find comfort in a simple bowl. I love the versatility of each piece so a serving bowl in the pantry can easily be a fruit bowl on a kitchen island, as well as an art piece on the bookshelf.

GARDENOLOGY: What is your production process like?

MONICA: Clay of the highest quality is ground, shaped and fired for durability and to make each piece lead-free and appliance safe. From hand throwing in the wheel, to construction with clay slabs- each piece is shaped to beautiful imperfection. Amazing and skilled artisans understand the simplicity of our designs, and are able to highlight the beauty and character of handmade pottery.


GARDENOLOGY: How do you like to display your product?

MONICA: Monochromatic, clean and simple displays or cabinets. I love being a part of the tradeshows and showrooms, from setup to breakdown, and meeting with new and repeat buyers. Getting one-on-one time allows me the opportunity to personally get feedback from my customers and their customers.

View the Montes Doggett Collection here, and stop in to prepare your Holiday tabletop!