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Photo Series: Artifact's Omaha Studio & Team

by Chris Hughes |

The Artifact team was recently captured in our native environment by Omaha Photographer Dan Brouillette for a Google project we recently participated in. 

Artifact's Omaha Studio - Cutting Wax Canvas For Aprons Cutting a stack of wax canvas aprons with an industrial Eastman Straight Knife. In Artifact's first year of operation (2010), I sewed on a commercial sewing machine in my laundry room, and rolled out canvas on the dining room floor to cut with shears. You've come a long way, baby! 

Artifact's Omaha Studio - Alec Die Cutting Leather Apron Parts

Alec using our Lucris swing-arm press to die cut leather parts. This press is a wonderful workout. A lengthy session and you feel the burn in your shoulders and legs. Anyone have a hydraulic "clicker" press for sale?

Founder Chris Hughes Sewing Aprons In Artifact's Omaha Studio

At the helm of a Juki LH-3578A needle feed / double needle sewing machine. I used to nerd out over antique sewing equipment but my crush waned after countless hours spent fixing and maintaining them. New machines break down too, just not as often.  

Artifact's Omaha Studio Sewing Aprons

A nice image of Tirzah, Ruby, Luis, Alyson, Chloé, and Erica at work. I'm hunched over, looking like a studio troll which is fairly accurate.  

Overhead View Of Artifact's Omaha Sewing Studio.

Our last building was cheap rent. With this perk came compromises like beige office carpet, popcorn textured low ceilings, and fluorescent lights everywhere. In 2016, I jumped at the chance to purchase our current building. For months I worked like a madman transforming our studio into Artifact’s aesthetic. I modeled the sewing workstations from a turn of the century photo of a dress factory. I tore down walls to open up the space. I nearly fell to my death one night installing the wire cage on our ceiling fan. All worth it. 

Alec Hand Hammers Copper Apron Rivets In Artifact's Studio.

Alec securing leather straps on a wax canvas apron with hand hammered copper rivets. So much hand work goes into every Artifact product. I've accrued my 10,000 hours in leatherworking at this old maple top bench. 

Handmade Aprons Displayed In Artifact's Omaha Retail Store

Artifact aprons hanging from an antique drying rack in our retail shop. Our building was built in 1887. Our retail space was originally a show room for cast iron stoves. The basement was their tin shop. This old building has seen many lives.