For many people, creating art is a solo experience, focused on individual expression. But for Shannon Pultz, the woman behind luxury textile brand Blak Rust, her artistic experience is anything but singular.
Trained as a fine artist, in the 1990’s Shannon began collaborating with Art Club 2000 in New York City. This much-lauded group of artists worked together for a decade creating art and large group installations, in all mediums, with a focus on political and social commentary.
Following her time in New York City, Shannon moved to Italy and became interested in the confluence of fine art and fashion. There she noticed that while there is a predominance of women in art schools, in museums the reverse is true but with one exception–textiles.
A self-defined painter, Shannon began to experiment with silk painting and dying, the results of which reminded her so much of many of the artists that she loves, including Helen Frankenthaler, Jacquelyn Humphries, and Joan Mitchell.
While in Italy she began to focus on color palettes inspired by the beautiful ochre color that covers so many Roman buildings, as well as the intense and varied blues of its seas and skies.
Today, the results of Shannon’s inspiration can be found in exquisite pieces for home or for your wardrobe. Her knowledge of contemporary art and the shibori silk painting method is the foundation of her modern, timeless fabrics that are fashioned into silk stoles, scarves, wallcoverings, and upholstery fabrics.
The folding, twisting, binding, dying, and painting necessary to create her mesmerizing patterns all happen in her Allegheny West studio with the help a very special collaborator – her mother, Holly Pultz, an accomplished oil painter.
“It’s kind of like cooking. We are in the kitchen together, experimenting,” says Shannon. “It’s more fun to see the reveal at the end with someone else present.”
The textiles for her home goods are then delivered to another partner, East End Cooperative Ministries. This non-profit organization has a program helmed by Hannah Moon who teaches local women production skills in a variety of areas, including sewing. Participants in this program transform Shannon’s painted fabrics into pillows and placemats, with pocket squares in the works.
Shannon’s pillows are currently found at PG&H, one of Downtown’s newest retail destinations. PG&H has joined a growing number of Downtown retailers focused on locally produced items that include Moop, love Pittsburgh, and Steel City, among others. PG&H is unique in its focus which is solely on locally produced home goods.
Not only a retail outpost, PG&H serves as an inspiration showroom inviting architects, designers, restauranteurs, and others to consider how to integrate locally made, high-quality, beautiful products into their projects.
The space is located right below Mellon Square at 536 Smithfield Street, and serves to reinvigorate a well-traveled corridor with a showroom unlike any other in the downtown area. In addition to home goods by Blak Rust and more than 40 other local producers, the space is also home to the second location of Oakland’s much loved, and also locally produced, Redhawk Coffee.
“Being included in a shop like PG&H is very validating to know that the work that I am doing, as well as the community of makers is valuable. This group effort helps to lift one another up.”
In addition to PG&H, Shannon’s fashion accessories can also be found Downtown at Larrimor’s where she collaborates seasonally with the owners. This allows for a new collection that compliments the trends of each season.
To learn more about Blak Rust and Shannon’s work, please visit BlakRust.com.