West Coast Wares: Handmade Himmelis

The delicate forms of Handmade Sam*Made’s signature products are once subtle and impactful, a modernist spin on Finnish himmeli, traditionally used as Christmas tree ornaments. In the Handmade Sam*Made version, spiky angles meet tubular brushed metal for home decor that’s not quickly forgotten. We spoke to Seattle-based founder Samantha Leung to learn more about how her himmeli came into being.

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What inspired you to start making himmeli?

I love the idea of modernizing traditions. To take something that has been around for hundreds of years and to reinterpret that for our current world. That is why I make himmeli. Himmeli are a traditional Finnish ornament. My designs are a modern-minimalist take on their tradition.

I created this brand as an outlet for my creativity. I love the notion that something exists in the world because I exist. That is what drives me.

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What’s your background? Were you always a designer?

I’m originally from Chicago, and I went to Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa for a B.A. in Law Politics and Society. I have minors in Sociology, Politics, Law, and Art. My education and path from the age of seven was to become an attorney, but after spending a year teaching and traveling all over China, I knew that it wouldn’t be the place for me.

Ultimately, I’ve been a maker my entire life; from wood burning at the age of six to developing my own film at fourteen I like to say that my ability to create stems from my intense curiosity.

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Why did you keep manufacturing in the United States as opposed to overseas?

People, family, friends, and even other makers have all told me that I could easily get my products made abroad. I believe them, but I also believe in living a purposeful life, and living with positive intention. When it comes to what I make, I don’t believe in mass production in nameless factories.

I appreciate the handmade, the artist behind an object and the artistry and skill that goes into each piece, which is why I personally hand make each and every piece. I believe if you care about what you are making, that sentiment can be felt in the object.

To decorate your wall’s in Samantha’s handcrafted pieces, look no further. 

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