Jasper - Firefly Handmade Artisan Profile
Haley Garyet is a woman of wanderlust, creativity and most importantly courage. She quit her graphic design job at an advertising agency without much of a plan, only with a simple desire to follow her creative pursuits wherever they may lead. Lucky for us her exploration took her to Morocco where she discovered textiles. The rest is history - she’s been crafting beautiful hand-made carryalls ever since. Jasper is her collection of fun and casual handbags that proudly proclaim “We want to hold your stuff”.
Not only are these ‘stuff’ holders built to carry all of your precious mementos, but it was important to Haley for the bags themselves to tell a story. All of the fabrics chosen for her wares have special meaning whether it’s by creating the materials herself or by collecting them abroad. This industrious designer further marries form and function by taking time to think about how her products will be used. An avid traveler herself, Haley wants to make sure your bag is strong and steady to stay the course. She includes hidden pockets, interesting blends of materials and top quality hardware to ensure your journey is functional as well as fun. We’re so excited to have Jasper at the Firefly Handmade Holiday Market that it’s already sparking a bit of debate - which bag will we choose?
How did you come upon the name Jasper?
When I was still working a day job I had to get creative as my spare time was limited. You’d find me and my husband, Michael, up late or devoting our weekends to making bags. Often we’d be creating work alongside one or two of our friends. We're lucky to know a lot of incredible artists, designers, writers and crafters who were all willing to help. I started jokingly referring to our communal work sessions as the Jasper Social Club, after the street we live on, Jasper Court. These hangouts, and those people, eventually inspired me to take the leap and start making bags full-time.
Why handbags? How did you discover this as your artistic medium?
I'm a big fan of ‘stuff’. I collect (okay, hoard) souvenirs from my travels, the perfect tools for a job or items that remind me of someone I love. I'm fascinated by people's relationship to their stuff and I'm obsessed with the idea that the contents of the bag you carry represent who you are on any given day. Depending on what’s in your bag you can take on the persona of a traveler, a mom, a businesswoman, an adventurer or even a student.
Are you self-taught? Did you go to school to learn how to make handbags?
I'm completely self-taught and I’m still learning! I'm a graphic designer by trade. While I've always worked in creative fields, sewing is a whole different animal. I'm not a perfectionist by nature and I'm used to jumping around a lot within a project. Sewing is a much more linear process and each step has to be finished perfectly before starting on the next. It's challenging but meditative, and there's nothing that feels better than holding a finished bag that was just fabric, cloth, and imagination only a few hours earlier.
What materials do you use in your work?
My first batch of cloth came from a trip I took to Morocco. That trip taught me a lot of lessons about how I wanted to live my life as I took my next step forward. My goal is to have a story for each piece of cloth I sew into my bags. Whether it's cotton from a recycled pillowcase that I hand-dyed with my friend Danielle, a vintage kimono selected by my friend Sarah who lives in Japan, or material I collect during my own travels, each bag is created with fabric that carries special memories.
How do you hope the audience will interact with your art?
I want to hit that balance between form and function, with a little surprise thrown in too. Whether it's making a functional yet pretty laptop bag, or sewing a zippered pocket into a scarf so you can hike bag-free, I want people to be surprised and thrilled by the way my products operate. And I want my bags to go places! So far my customers have taken them to London, Jordan, Morocco, Portugal, Spain, and Sydney.
We see you've recently started doing collaborations with reputable brands such as West Elm. Can you tell us more about these experiences?
Props to West Elm for their support of local artists. They host pop-ups featuring local makers and many of their stores carry local designers' products. My friend works at the West Elm in Boulder and helped me set up the event there. I'm learning slowly but steadily that people are more than willing to help out, you just can't be afraid to ask!
Why are you proud to be a Firefly Handmade Holiday Artisan?
Firefly and other local markets inspired me to start this company in the first place! I never would have had the guts to quit my day job and pursue my dream of making things by hand if I hadn't been emboldened by all the creative, brave, hardworking makers I see at Firefly. I feel proud to be selling alongside them.
Mark your calendars! Jasper joins us for the Firefly Handmade Holiday Market - Saturday, December 16 and Sunday, December 17 at the NEW Embassy Suites Hotel in Boulder, CO.