July 20, 2018

The Story of Kiss of the Wolf

by Kiss of the Wolf in Community, Information
“There is always more to explore, it’s a lifelong journey for which I am most grateful.”

Kiss of the Wolf was born in 1974, in the kitchen of Lori and Marshall Bacigalupi’s rural home. It was a few years after these two travelers met, fell in love and began their lives together. In 1976 they named it Kiss of the Wolf, a loose translation of Bacigalupi.

He was from California and she from New York. They met in the middle (Colorado) and found community in the college town of Norman, Oklahoma. There, they made their home and started their family. Marshall built a small loom and wove strips of fabric that Lori stitched onto clothing she designed. When a friend brought them Procion dye and a request for festive wedding clothing, it set their paths. The brilliant results broadened their artistic vision and their family business was born.

Creating clothing for their friends soon gave way to selling to the public. They traveled to craft shows and fairs across the country, honing their craft as they went. When they participated in an American Craft Exposition (ACE) show in the 80’s, they found their market. This new, discerning audience led them to realize their full potential. They traveled to American Craft Council shows in San Francisco, Baltimore, Atlanta and St. Paul. They did shows at the Smithsonian Institute and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and other prestigious juried shows. Kiss won numerous awards, including several Best of Shows.

As they built their business and their family, Lori and Marshall continued to learn. Marshall saw the quilting process as their signature. They added batik and direct dye application to their signature aesthetic. Their love of culture and the myriad possibilities of color on fabric led them around the world. They spent several months in Asia looking and learning. They studied batik in Indonesia, Shibori in Japan, weaving and natural dyeing in South America.

They found that nothing compared to silk for brilliant color and opulent textures. They also developed a deep appreciation for its practical nature. Breathable and absorbent, it is cool in summer and warm in winter. Its strength and resilience make wearable art a long-lasting investment. Last, but not least, silk is lightweight and compresses to take up very little room in a suitcase.

After Marshall’s death in 1996, the personal loss to Lori was immense.  With the help of her studio family and the American crafts community, Lori recovered.  Thank you community.

Lori continues to travel and learn. She is particularly interested in indigenous cultures.  2012 found her working with the Thai Tribal Crafts Fair Trade organization in Thailand, alongside five Hill Tribes: Lahu, Lisu, Akha, Karen and Hmong. It allowed her to both learn and contribute.

In 2015, Lori and James Young, her current life partner, visited Nepal. They were working with an NGO called Hands in Outreach and absorbing culture when the magnitude 7.8 earthquake hit. They emerged unscathed, deeply grateful and forever changed.

The shared vision that created Kiss of the Wolf continues to inspire it today. The members of Kiss Studio are a close-knit family who are masters of their respective crafts. Inspired by the women who wear it, Kiss style is practical, classic and luxurious. Like them, it travels well.