Apiece Apart Woman: Marta Buda

Apiece Apart Marta Buda
 

Textile designer and weaver Marta Buda lives in Wellington, New Zealand, with her partner Doug and their seven-year-old daughter Anouk. Marta’s sought after hand-woven bags have found themselves homes across the world, including Japan, Malibu, Byron Bay, and our very own Apiece Apart store. 

Marta lives by the philosophy of doing well by the people and the environment, and that quality needn’t come at a cost. Recognizing that pleasure has a moral dimension, and committed to making items that serve each hand that makes them, Marta has recently launched Best Wishes - an online store that serves as an example for a system of moral values. Best Wishes collaborates with Marta’s favourite local artisans, focusing on beautiful and necessary wares for the home and educational children’s objects that speak to design-savvy parents. 

By internalizing her social concerns and making them personal, Marta has embarked on a public project that leads by example, paving the way for retailers to honor their sources and makers, and by doing so, creating a new way of exchanging and providing that is transparent and inspiring. 

 
Photos by Mary Gaudin, interview by Yasmine Ganley

Apiece Apart Marta Buda

What are your earliest memories of being drawn to textiles? 
I can't pinpoint a moment that drew me to textiles but I always had an innate attraction to certain fabrics, textures, and patterns in clothing. I remember being particularly fussy about clothes from a young age and would always seek out the least available items. I do vividly remember a blouse my Swiss step-grandparents bought me back from Switzerland when I was still in primary school. It was a light blue cotton fabric with white edelweiss flowers woven into it in stripes; the blouse was shaped in a folk style with long sleeves and a string to tie at an open placket around the neck. It sparked a reverence for traditional and folk fabrics that I still have now.

Apiece Apart Marta Buda

You became a mother when you were quite young — can you share more about your experience of early motherhood? 
By the time I was pregnant, I already had two young nephews and numerous close friends with children of different ages, so although my pregnancy was a surprise it wasn't my age that was what overwhelmed me. I had a degree to finish, which I did while I was pregnant and then I just slipped into being a mother. With time I have realized that the hardest part was that I didn't have an established job or career to return to. When Anouk was born we had a lot of support from our family and many friends...It's too hard to list all the people that carried us through that early period but I can say that I am grateful for every kind gesture we received.

Apiece Apart Marta Buda

What phrase of words have most resonated with you recently? 
Strutting about,
A smirk on your face,
Have you forgotten
The ten months spent
In a foetal crouch?
Cremation turns you to ashes,
Burial into a feast
For an army of worms.
Your athlete’s body’s only clay,
A leaky pot,
A jug with nine holes.
As bees store up honey,
You gathered wealth.
But after you’re dead,
This is what’s said,
‘Take away the corpse.
It stinks.’
Poem by the 15th century Indian poet Kabir translated by Arvind Krishna Mehrota.

In this (to quote you) "capitalist season," what is one thing you know for certain?
My friends have this Tom Waits quote in their bathroom which sums this up more succinctly than I can: "We are buried beneath the weight of information, which is being confused with knowledge; quantity is being confused with abundance and wealth with happiness. We are monkeys with money and guns."
 

Apiece Apart Marta Buda

You recently started a project with your husband called Best Wishes. Can you tell us about some of the special collaborations you have experienced through this project so far?
I have had this moral dilemma about having a shop and creating more things in an already saturated world, so we agreed that if were to make our own products we will only collaborate with people and manufacturers that are independent and operate with a philanthropic philosophy. We have two makers that we have worked with so far on custom products, one of these is a charitable trust in India called Women Weave [Editor's note: Apiece Apart also collaborated with Women Weave this season on our Kikuyu Kaftan and Namba Shawl]. They work towards overcoming the vulnerability of women who weave on handlooms and offer a dignified income for their makers. We have designed towels which they have hand-woven using organic cotton with borders that are colored using natural dyes for our store.

Apiece Apart Marta Buda

How do you refocus yourself when you're feeling unmotivated or stuck? 
It is important to remember that sometimes you have to get the ugly out first and that to start is the hardest part, but once you start you can usually break through your mental barriers. I am certainly not one of those people that assigns a day and time to work and then goes and does all their work in that time. I love being distracted by life and would prefer to have dinner with friends and work late into the night to make up for it. Usually, these distractions are the time you need to stew on a problem so you can feel motivated enough to solve it.
 
Is there a skill or practice that you have always wanted to learn?
There are so many skills I want to know. I would love to be able to sew, people always assume textiles means I can sew, which is not the case at all. I dream about gardening and floristry or to go back to University and studying fine arts. I dream of being a baker... all of these things and more. I can't imagine feeling satisfied with knowledge: there is too much in the world to learn.

Apiece Apart Woman Marta Buda