Introducing ScrantonMade Artist Valerie Kiser of Valerie Kiser Design

Saturday, September 8, 2012
We are thrilled to introduce ScrantonMade artist Valerie Kiser of Valerie Kiser Design; a company that specializes in unique design for sustainable apparel, home decor, wall art, accessories and print media. 

Hi Valerie!

You seem to have a lot going on! Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background and the projects you are currently involved with...
At the end of August I started teaching a Fibers and Related Media course at Marywood University. Valerie Kiser Design is launching a new collection of t-shirt art in a few weeks. The most obvious project is The Pop Up Studio! We have planned ten events for this year alone and are a week away from hosting our 8th community art event, The White Party. The Pop Up Studio also plans to work with UNC (United Neighborhood Center) developing interactive art installations with high school students in Lackawanna County. Three of four Pop Up members sit on the UNC Youth Auxillary Board. Two of us sit on The Iron Furnace Task Force, a committee with a mission to restore The Iron Furnaces into something similar to the ArtQuest Steel Stacks in Bethlehem, PA.

Photo Credit: Chala Jan

I see that you have a degree in Fiber Arts. What inspired you to study fiber art and what does fiber art entail?
I graduated in 2000 from Savannah College of Art and Design with a BFA in Fibers. I enrolled into SCAD as a painting major but my freshman year I saw work coming out of the Fibers Department and I really resonated with the materials and methodologies. By the end of that first year, I had taken Intro to Fibers and declared my major. In that program, I was exposed to amazing technology as well as the basic fiber fundamentals like screen-printing, repeat pattern design, dyeing, weaving, sewing, 3D fibers, felting and papermaking. I was able to explore options in fine art, studio production, entrepreneurship and commercial textile design. I choose to graduate with a Fine Art Portfolio but ironically I started screen-printing some of my original designs on ready-to-wear fashions to make some quick money. It was well received and I’m ready to launch my newest collection almost 13 years later. 

When and why did you start your own business?
I officially became Valerie Kiser Design in 2010. I needed something here in Scranton that I could get behind, believe in, and be proud of and was tired of hearing people say things like “that will never happen in NEPA” so I started my own company. It was the best career decision I have ever made.

What have been some of the struggles?
There is a long list of things that didn’t work out for me. But looking back on my past I would say that cliche phrase “everything happens for a reason.” I think you have to problem solve through your failures and in the end you come out more skilled and confident in what you were doing in the first place.

Photo Credit: Chala Jan

Tell us a bit about why you hold the standards of your designs being made and printed in the USA...

Putting my designs on USA made products has been something I have been passionate about since 2000. Back before I was able to buy wholesale, I was buying products at Walmart and everything I purchased there was made in the USA. Now pretty much everything in Walmart and every other store in America is made in China.

Around 2003 I was able to open my first wholesale account with a popular American apparel company. As they gained their own success and high product demands, their costs increased and selections were limited for wholesale customers like me.

Today, it can be more challenging to find the product I am looking for with the color and style I want. Luckily, I am able to use a few different companies that offer USA-made, fashionable, high quality and affordable pieces. The next best thing to USA-made for me would be certified organic or some eco-fiber. For me, ethical practices in manufacturing and production are important and priority. If I ever use a product not made in the States it will be labeled as such. 

What is The Pop Up Studio? When’s the next event and where?
The Pop Up Studio hosts different themed events that “pop-up” in a new place, date and time. The collaborators are myself, my husband David Bosley, Ruth Koelewyn, and Mike Muller.

Our mission is to engage the public in unique participatory, spatial, and formal works creating singular sensory experiences based on the qualities of the venue and the milieu of the surrounding neighborhood. We also hope to highlight and bring together the opportunities, resources, and people pushing Lackawanna County forward. And to create an imaginative space where people can challenge their conceptions of art in playful and experimental ways.

Photo Credit: Chala Jan

Who and what is your inspiration?
Other creative people, interior design and textiles; fashion, cityscapes; and the amazing shapes, patterns, textures and color combinations you can find in nature.

What is your dream for your business?  If you could see anyone wearing one of your designs, who would it be?
I would love to see something of mine printed in a national publication someday. Nothing is more rewarding than seeing someone on the street wearing my design. 

Photo Credit: Chala Jan

Photo Credit: Chala Jan

Any events coming up?
The Pop Up Studio will host our next event, The White Party, at the Century Club of Scranton, Sept 15 from 7-10PM. Next month, we will be co-hosting an event with The Anthracite Heritage Museum called The Bonfire at The Iron Furnaces on Oct 20 from 8-11PM. Our last event for 2012 will be a Pop Up Studio Murder Mystery Fundraiser sometime in Nov or Dec.

Valerie Kiser Design will be at The Waverly Comm’s Artisan’s Marketplace, November 17-18th.    

We invite all ages to get involved in our projects. If you are curious about The Pop Up Studio visit our website

Follow Valerie:
Twitter: @vkiser
Pinterest: v/kiser

More on Valerie:
The Pop Up Studio

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