When one thinks of a tumbleweed, an image of a quiet, dusty road in Texas may come to mind. For Susan Hable though, it becomes a delicate form that beautifully branches across woven fabric like coral from the sea. Drawn by her, then translated onto fabric, this form shows what she and her sister Katharine of Hable Construction do best. They distill their past and turn it into their future.
It all began when they named their textile design company after the road building
business their grandfather founded in Texas in the early 20th century. Hable Construction, to many, now means vibrant fabrics and utilitarian products built to last, just like their grandfather's roads. Since 1998, the Hable sisters have combined the best of their talents, fusing backgrounds in art and in business. Based in New York, Hable Construction has become a refreshing voice in the United States’ textile industry – one that nods to the old, by utilizing screenprinting techniques and New England weavers, and also one that looks to the new, in their translation of every day inspirations into bright patterns and purposeful objects. Hable aims to work as often as possible with local craftsmen, printers, and seamstresses. The maker's hand is evident in all of Hable's designs, beginning with Susan's artwork. It may then be seen in a handsewn tote, or a leather handle made by a saddlery in their hometown in Texas, or even in a fabric covered horseshoe. This process creates a sense of community and camaraderie that reflects the girls' southern upbringing. Susan and Katharine are always on the lookout for the friend who can sew, the person who can source the horseshoes, or the mother who can quilt. You never know when you might need someone or something. You also might not know where you will find one. Another trait of their Hable aesthetic is the sense of the aged and worn, “the authentic”, often inspired by visits to flea markets with their mother or close friends. Treasures from these excursions inspire future product designs. Products that reflect the girls' belief that utilitarian objects could, and should, be beautiful. In the Hable world, a campstool multipurposes as a table, or a garden belt works double duty as a purse. These items have become the backbone for their Hable Construction retail store located in Manhattan's West Village. The space acts as a laboratory for new designs while helping to define the company's aesthetic: a little worn, a little whimsical, colourful, bold, and always unexpected. Here, Katharine and Susan integrate Hable