Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Makers Part 18

The philosopher Gaston Bachelard talks about the miniature as a place for dreamers, where one can experience and express what is large in what is small. He views the miniature as a gate which opens up and explores another perspective of the known. The containing of worlds is, of course, the stuff of snow globes. My next maker, Camryn Forrest with her husband Reid, takes her ideas and preoccupations and gives them their own world in her beautiful and thought provoking snow globes. You can find her work on etsy in CamrynForrestDesigns and on her web site here.

Can you tell me a little about your background? 
I live in Denver, Colorado with my husband who is my collaborator. My college degree is in journalism, although I took enough art classes (drawing, painting, sculpture and photography) for a minor in art as well. Both of our grown-up kids are very creative and inventive in other mediums.

What do you make?
Waterglobes, snowglobes, curious inventions: we make tiny sculptures from found, repurposed and created items, which are installed inside one of a kind snow globes or water globes.

What attracted you to this particular medium? How did you get started?
I’ve always been drawn to tiny things and miniature worlds. When I was small, I made my own dollhouse furnishings and accessories, and I’ve collected every small thing I see: little chairs, bone china animals, souvenir buildings, model railroad figures.

How long have you been making?
I have been making miniatures for decades, but we jointly expanded into snow globes about five years ago.

How does your practice fit in with your everyday life? Do you have your own studio space and when do you work and where?
We have a two-car garage that no longer houses cars. It has been turned into one-third storage and two-thirds artist studio, with the studio carving out more space every month. There are several shelving units with multiple containers of components that we have found or might need someday: beads, buttons, wire, antique dials and clockworks, broken toys, dismantled machines and thrift-shop jewelry. We have an ecletic collection of tools, and a very long work table made from a conference room door. The studio evolved on its own, and has the eccentric touches such as an antique crystal chandelier shining ing next to modern bright industrial lighting.

What are the best and worst aspects about working with this medium?
Let’s see: the worst is that snow globes are fragile and people can be hesitant to touch them. And the chosen medium is very challenging since the sculptures are less than 2.75 inches tall. some things just can't be made that small. But that’s positive, because having the size limitation means we think differently, and we see small items and interesting shapes that we would not have considered using if size was no limit. And the best thing is that we’ve found nobody – NOBODY – can shake one of our snow globes and not smile. From the smallest child, to the roughest, toughest street dude, when you shake a globe and the sparkle happens, it’s beautiful. That's why I love doing shows, because you get to see people interact on a very personal level with your artwork.

Who or what inspires you?
I’d say we love epic stories, fantasy, science fiction, the 1950s, childhood cartoons, architecture, contrasts, whimsical archtypes, visual puns, sad stories, happy memories, mechanics, renaissance artists and inventors, steampunk, Nikola Tesla, Meis Van De Rohe, Frank Lloyd Wright, and grand gestures … you name it, it probably inspires us.

Do you get creative blocks? If so, how do you deal with it?
I keep journals and notebooks of ideas: sketches, phrases, poems, visual prompts and there are hundreds of ideas that have not yet become snow globes. However, for me as an individual, the block happens when I want to create something that seems beyond my technical skill. Right now, I’m working on snowglobe design with a staircase of different sized cubes and I want them to appear to float between each stair … it’s a technical problem that rolls around in my head. Sometimes when one or the other of us gets a great idea, but can’t make it happen, we’ll get together to solve it. I’d say that I often have more of the wild and crazy impossible-to-build ideas and my husband has more of the “here’s how that works” solutions.

What other mediums would you love to explore?
I’ve been apprenticing with a metal smith for several years and I’d like to improve my ability to work in metal, perhaps making custom metal bases for the snow globes. I’ve had people ask if I can make some of the tiny sculptures life-size in metal --- I’m years from that happening, but it does appeal to me.
Another aspect I'm working on is making sculptures out of sentimental costume jewelry for people. If there is someone you miss, and you have a piece of their old jewelry that is small enough to become a sculpture ... wouldn't it make a cool sparkle globe? I'm experiementing with this now, especially because some of the jewelry can be fragile so I need to work with the qualities it has.

What do you hope to do next with your practice?
Right now, we have a backlog of "snow storm" projects that are either just swimming in the brainjuices, or only partly realized on the studio table. When something turns out unpredictably, I might put it aside and look at it in a few weeks or a month to see if a solution has appeared magically. We need to buckle down and finish some of the interesting pieces that we’ve begun, because while it’s always fun to start new pieces, but we can run out of room if we don’t finish some other pieces first.

Thank you Camryn and Reid! Are you a maker, collector or artist? I would love to do a post on you!

1 comment:

  1. Great interview! Camryn has great vision and courage. She could just simply replicate her past winners, but she keeps pushing the, globe????