A Manhattan Beach–Based Artist Creates Inventive Wooden Wares and Gifts from Her Own Backyard
The little things.
When it comes to her job, Stacy Wong, founder of eponymous studio in Manhattan Beach, has a few trusted sources. “Sandpaper and work gloves are my best friends,” says the artist and maker. “Along with a drill press, palm, and belt and disc sanders.”
The native of Warren, Michigan, initially ventured into the home goods world by spending her free time designing and crafting handmade gifts as a hobby and selling them on Etsy. “I began on a very part-time basis,” says Stacy. “Working creatively gave me greater flexibility to support my family and their needs. It allowed me to be more present in the moment and attend my boys’ high school and extracurricular activities without feeling guilty.”
Following a prolific career in corporate human resources, the self-taught maker officially launched her business in 2014. A typical day begins early with a boot camp class or spin session at the gym, followed by painting, sanding, printing and assembling handmade wares from her home studio in the backyard.
For each of her pieces—ranging from geometric and swirly-patterned wall vases made of solid birch to cards depicting wildflowers and succulents printed on acid-free paper sourced from sustainable forests—she carefully contemplates the color palette and design.
“My love of color is reflected in each of the patterns and designs I create,” says Stacy. “This year my patterns and colors have been influenced by mid-century design and one of my Mom’s vintage French pottery pieces I was gifted recently.”
For Stacy, whose items can be found online and in boutiques nationally and locally including Christie and Bone at the Beach, the process and selection of materials is just as important as the end result.
“I choose to work in wood because it’s solid, substantial and sustainable,” she says. “It’s the right medium for creating long-lasting, modern decor and gifts. Wood can be manipulated and modified [sanded, edged, refined] with both hand and machine tools. But in the end, it’s still wood. I also like to think of the work I put into each of my products as beautifying and enhancing the initial unfinished wood piece.”
In addition to making art, Stacy began teaching local and virtual workshops in 2015 for organizations including Young at Art and Art at Your Fingertips. She used a variety of mediums including embroidery, macramé, paper marbling, bookbinding and flower making.
“I started teaching making workshops as a way to give back and share with the community,” she says. “I wanted to provide an outlet for meaningful connections within the community as well as with other creatives. It was my hope that by experiencing a workshop, people would walk away with a new appreciation for art, making and creativity.”
Rather than following trends, Stacy focuses on creating designs for new pieces that can’t be found anywhere else. “My product offering is continually changing and evolving, and I make a conscious effort to create goods that are not currently found in the marketplace,” she explains. “Perhaps my design process is a little selfish, because I create what I would like to have in my own home or personally give as a gift. I love making the world a better place by creating beautiful things.”