August 17, 2011
I take much of my inspiration from the past, and admire the clean lines of Shaker furniture and the simplicity and forms of Japanese ceramics. I have a very strong sense of line and volume and it is the nuances in proportion that makes a piece work. In furniture design, as in ceramics, small variations can make the difference between a strong form and a weak one.
Each of my pieces is quite different; I see images and play with shapes and ideas in my head and my style is ever-evolving. As I build, the design takes shape and I don’t always know where it will go until I’m done. Even when I do a piece in the same series, it’s not identical; I change it as I go, even if it’s only small details. In contrast, production furniture, not matter what the cost, is inert when it leaves the designers desk. It’s a drawing on a piece of paper which then never changes whether the final realized object is made by hand or machine.
For me the process is about honing your technique to allow you to give voice to your designs. It’s a circular process in that as you get better at designing that challenges your technique and as that improves it challenges your design sense. It’s about continually learning and being open; creativity is having a conversation, a dialogue with your materials. If your technique is good, it allows you to be a good listener. It’s like writers whose characters take on a life of their own and tell the author who they are and what they need.
The artistic process creates a relationship between the object and the observer; the maker and the user. It’s really a spiritual process; a link to the person who made the chair or the cup, who has literally inscribed themselves into the piece. It draws us back to the idea of the interconnectedness of all things. Art is a great part of what makes us human.