Meet Martha W McQuade, a woman of many trades and the latest Makers Alongside collection talent. Her natural aptitude has graced us with an incredible piece – a hand-loomed sweater that is architecturally unique and beautifully crafted.
It is difficult to establish the exact age at which Martha began her craft. Growing up under her mother’s inventive influence, she was bestowed with several skills such as knitting and sewing at an early age. These types of hands-on artistries guided her interest in being trained as an architect. After completing the graduate program in the School of Architecture at the University of Minnesota, she worked for several architecture offices but became impatient with the slow pace of the building process. “I missed making things with my hands. At this time I started knitting and sewing again and experimenting with materials in a direct, immediate way.” It didn’t take long before people began to notice and pursue her work, so her clothing and textile business took off.
Currently, Martha teaches architecture courses at her alma mater in addition to designing and creating landscapes, buildings, furniture, clothing and textiles out of her Minneapolis studio. No matter what she is designing, Martha’s overall design focus is on the form and pattern that “are derived through a study of material properties and the process of making.” This approach is noticeable in her work and requires constant but welcomed exploration of materials and processes. From this exploration, Martha finds a boundless amount of inspiration. “It’s a problem at times – there is so much out there that is interesting and there just isn’t enough time to act on all the ideas that I have.”
We weren’t surprised to hear that Martha’s favorite HDH piece is one created for Mille, a jumpsuit that reminds her of something a coverall that a mechanic might wear. And who knows, it’s entirely possible that she someday may add ‘mechanic’ to her ever-growing list of skills.
Photos by Paul Vincent.