Gear for Artsy Beach Bums
August 9, 2017 by
In the spirit of summer lovin’, AZ wanted to share our current obsession which is a manifestation of a life lived near the beach in the form of artsy beach product brand Hamabla.
Founder and designer, Joelle Maynard, had a keen desire for a creative endeavor, and dissatisfaction with existing offerings in the beach goods market. After years in the corporate world, she had several part-time hobbies including interior & jewelry design and volunteering for creative philanthropists; but after a move to Malibu where seaside jaunts were a daily occurrence, she decided that beach products and home goods generally lacked luxurious offerings. Maynard quickly decided to change that and made her creative hobbies into a full-time endeavor with a focus on the place she always loved… the beach.
Hamabla was born out of a passion for well made, enduring pieces that stand up to seaside living without compromising style. The Hamabla line eschews trendy artful prints on chairs and bags, as well as fashion patterns in favor of classic silhouettes, all timeless pieces with distinctive art appeal. When thinking about durable fabrics for the home line, Maynard wanted to offer beautiful outdoor textiles, so she decided to design them with help from artist pal, Alex Mason, as her painterly aesthetic and nature-inspired pieces were a perfect fit for Hamabla.
Mason, with an MFA in painting from Pratt Institute, took pattern design classes at Otis College of Art & Design, learned the William Morris method and completed a residency at the Vermont Studio Center before going to graduate school. The pair have been friends for many years so when Maynard set out to develop custom designed fabrics for Hamabla, it was no surprise that collaboration with Mason was at the top of her list.
Mason is drawn to free forms found in nature rather than a geometric and hard edged aesthetic, which shows up prominently in her art. Never literal, her works reference nature rather than mimic it and reflect a spontaneous, imperfect beauty of drips, washes and splatters that give them true depth and soul. Her most popular patterns and color-ways for her fabric line, Ferrick Mason, are directly inspired by her art in the painting studio, and incorporate instinct for color and love of naturally-inspired, organic forms. “I see patterns in everything and try to use it in everything. I think patterns order our world, which makes art and design an extension of nature and a limitless inspiration,” says Mason.
The custom materials featured in Hamabla are inspired by the gorgeous colors of the sea, sunset pinks, blue ocean, and warm sand hues, so Mason’s aesthetic was perfect for the interpretation of ocean-inspired designs Maynard wanted to feature in her line. “A visit to Kentucky, a day at the horse track, some mint-juleps and a few hours in her Versailles design studio and we had the beginnings of the Hamabla Summer 2017 collection,” explains Maynard. “I am so excited that my first artistic collaboration for Hamabla was with Alex. Her works can be seen in the printed Zuma and Escondido patterns on our totes and on our soon-to-be-classic Amagansett outdoor fabrics on our umbrellas and chairs.”
The feeling is certainly mutual as Mason adds, “Not only do I love Joelle, but I love her style and really admire how Joelle is so quick to make a decision and move on. We work very effectively together. I was thrilled when she asked me to collaborate with her on textile designs for Hamabla beach. Joelle knows how to capture the laid back luxe Malibu beach culture.”
The ocean has been a powerful muse for generations, so it’s no surprise that artists seeking drama, beauty and inspiration would return again and again to the sea. “Growing up in a variety of seaside locales, I spent countless days marveling at the sheer magnificence of the ocean, sand, and sun in different seasons,” Maynard said. “I think artists have a love affair with the sea because it is constantly changing and it can be maddeningly hard to capture. It’s a challenge for artists to show their interpretation and also a constant source of material since beaches and oceans are always moving and changing with the clouds, the winds, the tides and the seasons.” When Maynard sought out to create products for the beach, she wanted to develop an aesthetic that honored this beauty, as opposed to competing with it.
As you can see, Maynard is inspired by the magnificence and splendor of the natural environment that is the sea, while also fascinated by old-world textile design and artisanal fabrics. “There is a rich body of artisans all over the world who still use the same methods today as they did generations ago. Whether it be Batik fabric dying, Turkish cotton weaving, hand-dyed African indigos or Shibori tie dyes, I am constantly inspired the ancient art of generations of fabric designers all over the world.”
Hamabla beach goods are created by an in-house team of artists and designers and by artisans in residence who collaborate on a rotating basis. Aside from her partnership with Mason, Maynard commissioned some friends and family for collaborations.
She tapped her cousin Patience Boston for blanket design, who is a young artist and all-around creative in many endeavors like music, art, and textiles. For the chairs and umbrellas, Maynard did a lot of research on artisans who could make things out of bamboo, which is unique to her beach umbrella and chair offerings. Maynard found a group of artisans in Vietnam who make each of the pieces by hand using sustainability as their primary manufacturing principle – which is certainly a win/win!
Growing up, Maynard had inspiration from her mother who is also an artist who focuses on abstracts. In the past, Maynard would look at her mother’s pieces and try to draw out real life shapes from her work, just as people look up at the clouds and see familiar images. Maybe her mother will be her next collaboration?!
In terms of growing Hamabla, Joelle Maynard tells me there is so much more they want to do to complete “a little bit of everything” for the beach mantra. Hats, swimsuits and beach jewelry are just of a few of the items the team is working on for future seasons.
Keep up with Hamabla on Instagram.