THERE’S A LOT BEING CREATED IN A WAREHOUSE STUDIO IN THE FOOTHILLS OF THE HEIGHTS, JUST NORTH OF I-10 ON SHEPHERD. HERE, YOU’LL FIND ARTIST JAMES BRUMMETT PAINTING, WELDING, SCULPTING, BUILDING FURNITURE IN METAL AND WOOD, DYEING FABRICS, DRAWING….WITH A FEW FELLOW ART- ISTS, PHOTOGRAPHERS, WOODWORKERS AND FURNITURE MAKERS ROTATING IN AND OUT AS PROJECTS AND OPPORTUNITIES PRESENT THEMSELVES. WHAT YOU MIGHT NOT SEE BEING CREATED: POSITIVE HEALING VIBES.
That’s also the name of the company Brummett and his wife, ALEXANDRA KALDIS BRUMMETT, began after her breast cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment and recovery. Their collaborative Positive Healing Vibes line of products includes painted evil eyes, scarves, wraps and caftans, which she sells at her River Oaks store, Sultana’s Daughter, as well as online and through pop-ups.
Rewind to 2015. Brummett had been selected for the Texas Design Now show at the Contemporary Art Museum. To complement the furniture he was showing, he created custom-dyed cushions for the benches he had designed. When Alexandra saw the cushions (the duo were already dating at the time), she was intrigued.
“I asked him if he could dye some fabric for me so I could make a fabulous caftan to wear to the show opening,” she says. “I really wanted to match the furniture and have an outfit that went
with the whole look. And I knew people would take notice – and they did. When they see something that’s really different and out there, they’re all, ‘I have to have one!’” The pair made one for another Houston artist and then the project went on hold. They didn’t have the ability to start production, and James had his studio work and Alexandra had her store to run.
But her health crisis changed things. “Our priorities changed,” she says, “and proj- ects that we always wanted to do came into the forefront. So we pushed through, and decided to work on the caftan line with a mutual friend in New York who’s a tailor, and who’s named Taylor.”
Explains James, who worked in New York for many years and went to art school at NYU, “We have an ongoing long-distance relationship with this guy. He buys the fabric, sends it to me to dye, and then we send it back to cut and sew to Alexandra’s designs.”
The caftans come in one size. “The whole goal is to create something I’d love to wear myself,” says Alexandra. “I’m a fan of anything shapeless and colorful and larger than life. Plus, it feels good to wear it. You’re wearing a painting!”