Happily Ever After

Independent Artisans Make Your Vision Their Mission

Perchal Fibers, Clayhouse, Eastlin Floral Design
Feb 23, 2018

Like many makers, Calla Aniski’s talent does not fit neatly into one specific genre.

As the woman behind Perchal Fibers, a multi-medium project she started in 2014, she said more than half of her business is dedicated to wedding design in a number of capacities, including full invitation suites, save-the-dates, thank you cards, menu cards, signage, custom wedding portrait illustrations, venue illustrations, table cards, place cards and custom projects. She also works with Ann Coen Photography, whose main focus is weddings.

In other contexts, Aniski’s magic touch might take the form of handcrafted event stationery and signage, luggage design and construction, textiles, fiber arts, illustration, watercolor, embroidery, weaving, social media marketing, photography, and even garment repair or leather-working.

She earned her degrees in marketing and business administration at Stockton University, completing her studies there in 2016. She left Edible Jersey magazine last year to work for Ann Coen, in her gallery. She was also appointed destination marketing manager at the LBI Chamber of Commerce.

Aniski grew up in Ship Bottom and currently has a studio workspace in Tuckerton.

As a little girl, Aniski’s parents encouraged intellectual and artistic pursuits. “My mom would tell me I could only watch TV if I read a book or did something creative first,” she explained. “After a while, I would get so sucked up in whatever project I had started that I would forget about the TV part.”

Eventually her passion for textiles and fiber arts outpaced the rest.

“When I got to middle school, I thought it was ‘cool’ to make my own clothes and wear them to school,” she recalled. “They were terrible! Why would I do that? Because I was a total nerd – both then and now. I’m still kind of proud of 12-year-old me for being myself at an age that is absolutely brutal for young girls.”

Today, Aniski is most drawn to natural fibers, such as cotton, linen, denim, wool, leather and silk, “because, to me, they are heirloom-worthy.”

She finds inspiration and guidance in traditional Scandinavian and Japanese design. Scandinavian design teaches her to stay functional when choosing styles and colors; Japanese design teaches her to stay intricate and attentive during the construction phase.

When working with a couple to bring their vision to life, Aniski said the first step is sitting down and getting to know them and their wedding details. Next is to determine the style and color scheme of the invitations and/or signage. After that, the couple receives preliminary drafts and sends back any changes they would like to make until the piece is exactly as they want it. “I don’t mind making changes to my work, because I always want clients to absolutely love what they get,” Aniski said. “This type of flexibility brings a couple’s wedding vision to life.”

Aniski recently got engaged, so now her wheels are already turning as to what her own special day might look like. Though the planning process hasn’t officially begun yet (“We’re both just enjoying the engagement right now!”), she does know this much:

She will design her dress, working together with Erin Buterick of Clayhouse, whose specialty is wedding dress fabrics. If Aniski and the groom decide to go a more traditional route, she’ll design the invitations and decor. If instead they follow in her parents’ footsteps and elope, the invites may be postcards that say, “Surprise!”

Aniski said the greatest reward that comes from working with wedding couples is giving them a unique part of herself.

“I think the wedding industry can, at times, rush couples and squeeze their planning process into a cookie-cutter shape.” To make the process more personal, customized and collaborative, she recommends choosing small, local businesses, dedicated photographers and handmade vendors. By choosing to work with her, all of her clients end up with a one-of-a-kind work of art – “something that can be found nowhere else except at Perchal Fibers, created by these two hands.”

To contact Aniski, visit perchal.com, email perchalfibers@gmail.com, and follow her on Instagram @perchalfibers, @callama.

Clayhouse

In addition to running her handmade dry goods and custom seamstress shop, Clayhouse out of her home studio in Tuckerton, Erin Buterick is one-third of the entrepreneurial team known as the MakeShift Union, as well as co-owner of the newly opened Union Market at the Tuckerton Seaport.

With Clayhouse, she said “easily 95 percent” of her business is wedding-oriented.

Buterick started her work as a seamstress in 2012, when she and business partner Jeannine Errico had a shop in Surf City called School of Vintage, where they sold (among other things) vintage wedding gowns.

“I started sewing at the age of 15,” Buterick said, “but I wanted to learn how to tackle alterations – an entirely different beast! So I began a two-year apprenticeship with a master seamstress.” Today she offers all sorts of fashion design and sewing services, but her specialty is restoring and reworking vintage gowns; she also does a lot of alterations to modern bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses. Her current project is a wedding dress that will be cut and dyed black so it can be worn as a cocktail dress, “so, my services pretty much run the gamut.”

Bridal gowns should be entrusted to someone experienced with formal or delicate fabrics and embellishments such as lace, beading, appliques, etc., as they tend to require more hand sewing and specialty cleaning methods, she explained.

In bringing a bride’s vision to life, Buterick said, pictures are worth thousands of words; visual aid in describing concepts can be immensely helpful. “I’ll usually ask about other aspects of their wedding, such as where they’re getting married, the time of year they are getting married and details such as color scheme and flowers.”

Buterick said she feels honored to partake in someone’s wedding day, no matter the capacity. “I want brides to feel their most beautiful, and it’s incredibly rewarding being able to help make that happen.”

To contact Buterick about wedding work, email clayhousegoods@gmail.com or direct message her on Instagram, @clay__house.

Eastlin Floral Design

Erin Eastburn is passionate about flowers – and she has the dry, scarred hands to prove it. She laughs as she admits “florist hands” come with the territory, given so much of the work involves water, pruning, and catching the occasional thorn.

The lifelong Tuckerton resident’s handiwork, ethic, and natural eye for artful arrangement all translate well to floral design.

After several years spent working at a local florist and learning all about the industry, about two years ago Eastburn set out to establish her own business, which she named Eastlin as a mash-up of her last name and her late father’s middle name, Franklin. “I always wanted to really go full-throttle,” she said.

When the Union Market opened at the Tuckerton Seaport in 2017, a little flower shop was a good fit. In the time since then, Eastburn has navigated the holidays and Valentine’s Day as a one-woman operation while establishing her trademark style – funky, asymmetrical, lush and wild. Other descriptors might include plume-y, multi-dimensional, even unkempt.

She said she strives to stand out and go for high visual impact, with more unusual varieties of flowers and greens, and earth-friendly products like brown paper and twine as alternatives to cellophane.

Now, clients are coming to her for her style and saying “I trust you,” which is where the real fun begins.

She especially loves weddings and other large-scale events, she said, which allow her to use her full artistic range and flex her creative muscles. For an arbor piece, for example, she will bring all the materials and build the installation on-site.

She also happens to love the clients, the brides, getting to know them and their vision in order to become part of their all-important occasion. Often she develops ongoing relationships, serving a couple’s flower needs for the various special moments in their lives.

With a new client, Eastlin will ask her to send along a Pinterest page or other photos that illustrate the wedding’s look and feel. They’ll talk about color preferences, personalities, any and everything pertinent to the theme and scope of the affair.

Since she, too, is engaged to be married in October, Eastburn can relate to the brides’ experiences in wedding planning. “We get good laughs out of things,” she said.

A lovely flower arrangement is a metaphor for life – beautiful, fleeting, meant to be appreciated before it’s gone. When Eastburn looks at a bouquet, she sees beyond the flowers. She sees a work of art, greater than the sum of its parts. She sees color, texture and feeling; each stem, each component, a choice.

In her own work, she treats flowers as more than mere decoration but as a live, interactive enhancement of the everyday, whether a simple pick-me-up or a bold statement. With her flower-y tattoos to complete the overall aesthetic, Eastburn hopes to blur the lines between art, floral design and personal style.

Stop in to her shop for a grab-and-go bouquet or a potted plant, or to inquire about custom orders. Follow @eastlinfloraldesign on Instagram or email eastlinfloraldesign@gmail.com for more information.

—Victoria Ford

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