In the 18th century, an obscure group of dedicated Quakers began a new community. They called themselves the Shakers. Known best for their dedicated spirituality, another defining characteristic has slowly crept into public knowledge: the Shakers are profound designers. Their furnishings, dismiss elaborate additives and unnecessary decoration, and their non-materialistic lifestyles influence their use of minimal, lightweight material. A well-made product was itself an act of prayer, and form certainly followed function. Curious minds outside the Shaker circle have found the hidden gems of their design and latched onto their minimalist principles and elegant structure. Kelly DeWitt is one such mind that has drawn countless inspirations from the Shaker’s stripped down simplicity.
It was an unusually chilly day when we drove to meet Kelly at her home just outside of Austin, Texas. Fog hovered above the ground, while quiet country houses peaked through, barely revealing their hats. Cows munched on the freshly dewed grass, and my rural childhood living emerged like a new memory. Traces of Texas’ Hill Country loomed as we reached a farm-sized metal gate. It guarded a rustic but mannerly home overlooking the acres we’d only just traversed. Instantly there to greet us was a whitish labrador, bounding toward us to begin the tour – with factored in play time, to be sure.
Closely following this white blur of energy was Kelly, exclusive owner of KKDW and a profound welder, woodworker, and overall craftswoman. The blurs name, we learn, is Ellie.