Chances are you've spied his necklaces in the store. Recently Niles Armstrong of Worn Path (from Portland, OR) answered a few questions about his necklaces, life, and what inspires him.
When/Where/Why did you start Worn Path?
I started Worn Path in Portland, OR about a year ago. I had made necklaces for myself that people seemed to be interested in. My co-worker asked me to make her a necklace. I did and that spawned more requests. I continue to mostly focus on special orders and a few stores. This is more of a hobby than anything.
What particularly about your work are you most proud of?
Keeping prices low even when I feel like people might pay more. I am not trying to make a living off of this and I just want most anyone to be able to have one of my necklaces if they want it. My personal values are anti-capitalist and I hope to live that out as much as I can in my artistic projects. And if someone makes something rad, I love trades over money exchange.
What inspires you most?
Nature... Forests, deserts, oceans, islands, mountains, outer space, farmlands. Revolutionaries. Nature defenders. Truth seekers and truth tellers. Acting with integrity. Skateboarding.
What was your first job?
I took and filled orders at a bakery in Birmingham, Alabama when I was just about to turn 16. Birthday cakes, cookies, etc. I took the orders and boxed them up. I worked everyday after school and on Saturdays so I could pay for my car insurance.
Hermann Hesse changed my life when I was 25.
I will just say Leonard Cohen's first three albums never get old. So dense. I think they are perfect.
Coffee or Tea?
The PNW has me spoiled. Plain black coffee always, if it is how I like it. Otherwise, I'd go for tea. I kind of dislike how particular living up here can make you about your coffee.
I really liked some shows I saw in San Francisco at Yerba Buena and also at Needles and Pens in the past.
Preferred Magazine/Quarterly or Book?
Be Here Now by Ram Dass is fun to thumb through. Any retrospective on skateboarding and skate graphics are great to look at. Books on handmade houses like Shelter and Handmade Houses: a guide to the woodbutcher's art. The People's History of the United States of America is really important. These are all books that you can revisit from time to time and get something from them.
Where would you like to see Worn Path in 5 years?
If I am having fun with it and staying true to my goals, moving right along. If it is not fun or inspiring for me, dead and gone.
(whoa, an unplanned rhyme!)