I’m excited to share with you the second of (what-I-hope-becomes) many installments of my beloved Work-pad features! Amber Perrodin, an Arkansas-based artist who I happened upon naturally on Etsy several months ago has an incredible eye for detail, developing complex + intricate interpretations of less-likely things… like structures, animals, and my beloved sailboats. I’m totally enamored with how she attributes her work closely back to her own sense of being, even citing her portfolio as being an extension of herself, autobiographically. That’s deep. Honestly, you’ll want to see her work via etsy and her portfolio site/blog. You won’t be let down. Beside the sailboat print I already own, these porcelain ornaments are probably my favorite of her products:
A little refresher if you didn’t catch the first work-pad post: I’m endlessly interested in people’s workspaces, their organizational methods, and things that they custom-make to make their job easier, more comfortable (usually yielding all-around envy). I’m not talkin’ cubicles, I’m talkin’ studios, converted garages, or carved out corners of kid-friendly living rooms. Everyone’s interpretation on an “office” is different, and it’s so interesting to learn how other people work and how they maintain a productive lifestyle. Amber let her followers into her own studio with a photo tour a few months back, and was happy to tell more of her story for the Workpad series. You can imagine how excited I was to be painted the picture in the below interview (pun totally intended).
Let the interview begin!
Is your studio in your home or out-of-home and why did you select that space?
My studio is located in my home. I live in a renovated 1950’s home that has some very interesting features, one of which is the studio space. Though it’s attached to the rest of the house, it feels separated enough that when I go to work I’m able to disconnect from the ruckus of “home life” long enough to accomplish something artistic. It’s so entirely convenient to escape into my studio and still be available to the rest of my family if I need to be.
Any favorite furniture? Any furniture you made yourself or rehabbed for functionality? (ex. I tend to make tables taller because I’m tall and spent too much time hunched over.)
I’d have to say that hands down, my favorite piece of furniture in my studio is my etching press table. My husband and I pride ourselves on being scavengers of what other people would call trash, and then recreating it into something functional and quite beautiful. Before the table was built we had recently removed part of our privacy fence. We saved the lumber from the fence in order to be used for future projects. Once I received my new etching press, we quickly realized that a new table was in order, but purchasing one was out of the question. So, my husband collected the wood from our scrap pile and designed a beautiful and functional table that most importantly supported the weight of the press. He was also able to make it to my specific height and comfort for an added bonus. Because my press is one of the key functions of my studio, the table that it sits upon is truly important.
(Editor interjection: SO COOL. This is right up my alley. I really love that you were able to custom build and recycle to make your day-to-day work more orderly and effective.)
Briefly describing the type of work you do, can you give me a little insight into how you store and display your materials (the raw materials, the art-in-process, the finished work)?
I always find this type of question hard to articulate. I do a lot. I paint, sew, print, draw, cut paper, sculpt, watercolor, garden, bake, and generally get my hands into anything I can find. Putting my creative energy into something positive and exciting is most important to me. I always have more than one project going at a time. I might start a drawing, then move to an etching, while another thing is drying I will try to rework something else or sew onto an artwork. It’s a constant creative balance that keeps me interested and inspired. Often one work feeds into another and when I’m successful, this cycle will inevitably continue without having to be forced. This method of creating has shaped the layout of my studio as it’s essential that I am able to move about and have separate stations.
My studio might seem quite scattered and unorganized, but it is in fact quite the opposite. Again, my husband built the sturdy shelf that’s mounted on a wall that houses all of my key supplies. On this shelf there is a large variety of things from an assortment of found bicycle reflectors all the way to bronze scraps for the occasional visit to the foundry. One key element of my shelf is the box of collections I keep on hand for inspiration. It has been added to and taken away from for over a year now. I go to this box when I’m not sure where to start on a project. Once a project has been started, it generally gets moved around the room a lot as I work on other things. An artwork is never quite “stored” anywhere until it’s complete. Once I feel that a work is finished, I will document it, and then put it with the rest of the completed works. This is generally in a large stack against a wall or in a storage binder (for smaller prints) to keep them safe.
Do you keep any items, books, tsotchkes in your space to inspire you?
Yes, indeed. I like to surround myself with an assortment of elements for continual inspiration. I have a growing collection of art books that I enjoy literally flipping through for ideas. I especially enjoy vintage books with kitschy photos or illustrations. For instance I have an Interior Decorating book from the 1940’s with very simple and elegant furniture drawings, designs, floor plans, and photographs that acted as my primary source of inspiration for nearly two years. It sounds ridiculous, but the body of work that I made during that time was one of my strongest yet. I also love to collect small bits from nature and set those around the studio. Right now I have a pine cone, an aspen branch, dried flowers, and an evergreen sprig. You can also find a small assortment of vintage photographs of people I don’t know pinned to my studio walls. My friend was collecting them from yard sales for quite some time and eventually gave me a handful. I find the mystery and unknown in them beautiful and inspiring.
(Editor’s interjection: I love this wall display; the multi-media presentation is so intriguing – and are those nutcrackers?)
Thanks again for contributing, Amber! Your workpad is an incredible and inspiring custom space; I loved learning more about your creative process!
All photos are credited back to Amber. Remember to check out her etsy site to see more of her work!