Caroline Kaufman - Returning Artist


Caroline Kaufman - Returning Artist


Caroline Kaufman is a New York City-based textile designer. She graduated from Pratt Institute in 2014 with a BFA in Fashion Design. The designer is known for her experimental textiles, hand painted prints, use of color, and playful point of view.


Caroline carries a deep respect for storytelling and handcrafted art. She uses her painting practice to understand a limitless way of designing clothing and objects. Plants, animals, bikes, beetles, stripes, interiors, nostalgia, and dreams all provide inspiration for her craft. Her work finds a home in the space where art and design collide --the magic intersection of beauty and function.

Caroline's textiles and patterns have been used across fashion, homeware, accessories, stationery, murals, furniture, fabrics and many other dreamy surfaces. When she isn't in the studio she enjoys biking in the park, sitting in the sun, and cooking big slow savory meals.

On the boat, every part of life is art: waking up, eating an egg and toast on the dock, sweet conversations with other artists, sketching in the kitchen, and rowing out in the bay to say hello to the seals with one foot dragging in the water. These moments make up my time here at Varda Residency. I will continue to explore color through painting on paper and ‘painting’ with yarn. Daily life on the houseboat will seep into this practice, casting long-lasting inspiration and influence.


Harriet Lee-Merrion


Harriet Lee-Merrion


Harriet Lee-Merrion is a British illustrator. Her work is rendered in a wash of pastel colors and delicate black lines influenced by botanical engravings, surrealism and Japanese woodblock prints, often depicting dreamlike and surreal imagery.

Harriet has worked with international clients including Google, TED, The Guardian, Bloomsbury and The New York Times, while her work has also been exhibited internationally in New York, London and Berlin. She is the recipient of a 3x3 International Illustration Award for Editorial Illustration and in 2016 was awarded a Distinguished Artist Scholarship by VYT to take part in an artist residency in New York. Harriet has been represented by Heart agency since 2014, she lives and works in Bristol, in the South West of England and has been working as an illustrator since graduating from Falmouth Arts University in 2013.

While at Varda Artist Residency Harriet will be working on her first collection of illustrated poetry.


Social Media

 Instagram: @harrietleemerrion

 Twitter: @hleemerrion




Together & Sunspell (Interview)

‘Harriet creates meditative, poetic and deeply evocative visual narratives exploring the themes of identity and femininity.

It's Nice That

‘Harriet Lee-Merrion’s emotionally charged, complex and thoughtful work is

absolutely breathtaking.’

Socks Studio

‘Surreal happenings are superposed with visual descriptions of house interiors and

slices of invented cities echo oriental inspirations.

Access Art

'The Dreamy World Of The British Illustrator Harriet Lee-Merrion'


'Emotionally stimulating, intricate and thoughtful work of fantastically conscientious worlds.'


‘Illustrator Spotlight’





Aigerim Akenova - Returning Artist


Aigerim Akenova - Returning Artist


Aigerim Akenova is a contemporary designer working with fashion (AIKEN brand), textiles and concept design development (TEXSPIRE consultancy). Her recent works have focused on cultural identity. Her fashion brand AIKEN translates the nomadic spirit of discovery into uniquely refined designs that celebrate the infinite power of individuality and lifelong journey. Always bold, memorable, and intuitive, AIKEN expresses a keen technical appreciation toward textures, color, and form.

Aigerim lives and works in Astana, Kazakhstan, where she has recently accomplished a globally-scaled project for International Expo-2017 by creating and developing the core concept for the National Pavilion of Kazakhstan.

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Aigerim has graduated from Istituto Europeo di Design Moda Lab Milano for Fashion & Textile Design (2006-2009), has got an exchange student scholarship to study at FIDM, LA (2008) and has been chosen to showcase her thesis collection on the runway in Milan. She is a recipient of a grant from “Commune di Milano” for her MA degree at “New design” which she received in 2010 in Milan, Italy. 

Aigerim has made several runways at MBFW Almaty (RUNWAY SS17 / RUNWAY FW17/18) (Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week) and MBFW Astana with her brand AIKEN.

Aigerim has been featured in:  Kazakh TV - Women LeadersKazakh TV - Expo 2017 - National PavilionL’OFFICIELHarpers BAZAARBuro24/7 - “We run New York” special editorial projectBuro24/7 - AD campaign AIKENBuro24/7 - best FW17/18 collectionsBLVD MagazineTengri Magazine - in-flight magazine at AirAstana - national airlines of Kazakhstan and  Vogue Italia

During her residency at the VAR program, Aigerim plans to research sustainable solutions in textile & fashion and develop 1st seasonless womenswear collection by AIKEN, breaking the rules of the industry that encourage fast & unconscious fashion. In her concept design, she explores feminine identity and aims to empower women.

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