Good morning, craft fans! There are just TWO days until the Bazaar Bizarre, we hope you’re ready. Today we’re going to introduce you to another one of our awesome vendors, Emily Garfield.
Hi there! First things first: What’s your name, what’s your business name, where are you from, and where are you currently located/crafting?
Hello! My name is Emily Garfield, which is also what I use for my business name, since my identity and aesthetic is the main thing that unites all my creations. I’m originally from New York City, currently living just outside Boston in the artist/hipster haven of Somerville. I have a studio there in an amazing (and HUGE!) shared maker complex called Artisan’s Asylum. I’m sure I will branch out into something new soon, given the inspiring array of resources there, but for now I’m working on the same things there that I’ll be showing at Bazaar Bizarre Boston in December — map drawings of places I invent as I draw.
How did you get your start? Please tell us a little bit about how your business went from an idea to what is is today.
I began drawing maps as part of my senior show at the end of college. The exhibition was an investigation of cities and their forms, and the aerial views were another angle from which to explore speculative city design. The wall-size map I assembled was the most popular part of the exhibition, and so I kept exploring map imagery after I graduated and moved to Somerville.
What inspires you the most to create?
In college I was interested not only in fine art but also in the science behind aesthetics — I studied some aesthetic theory but focused on the science of how the brain responds to aesthetic beauty. So I’m inspired just as much by learning about visual perception and other areas of cognitive science as by the various artists in the greater Boston art community. I also do a lot of reading about urban development and the theories of how cities self-organize into communities, which is great fuel for my particular brand of creativity.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
I am generally most comfortable working with paper, even in sculpture. In addition to maps I’ve done large-scale paper popups and complicated paper vessels.
Do you have a favorite color palette?
Visitors might notice that I’m a pretty big fan of muted colors! I’ve been trying and getting better at using bright colors, but I’m most comfortable with subtle and desaturated palettes, particularly earth tones.
Who are some of your favorite indie artist/crafters and why do you love them?
I love all my Somerville art friends! I am fortunate to be friends with many artists whose aesthetics and drive inspire me, like Rachel Mello and Courtney Chelo. I’m also in awe of a lot of local Somerville artists, like Pier Gustafson of Brickbottom who draws imaginary maps with humor, and Nervous System — fellow exhibitors this year! — whose jewelry is based on the same cellular growth that in part inspires my maps.
Any exciting future plans or developments in the works for your business? (Nothing TOP-SECRET, of course!)
I have just started working on a series of experimental digital collages that take parts of maps I’ve drawn and combine them with textural photos and sketches from photos I’ve taken on my travels. The idea is to illustrate for viewers the way that my mind works while I’m drawing maps. It’s not only about tracing an aerial view, it’s about synthesizing my experiences and memories into a new place. My goal is always to create something that would inspire the person who hangs it in their house, but with this composite project I’m trying to illustrate the personal nature of these images as well.
What are some other things you like to do when you are not busy making awesome stuff?
Up til last spring I’ve always had to fit art pursuits around a day job, but I am currently lucky to have a chance to fill my life with art. Aside from studio time, my calendar is pretty much full of interesting art receptions, lectures and events. I’m lucky to live in an area with a particularly vibrant young artist community, so there’s no shortage of artsy things to do!
What are the top 3 reasons someone shopping at the BBB 2012 should be sure to stop by your table?
I’ve never seen anyone doing the same kind of work; everyone knows someone who loves maps; also, I usually have pretzels.
What is your favorite background noise to listen to while working?
I am by far most productive when I’m combining my repetitive drawing with something that engages my brain aurally. I love podcasts, particularly long-form news, art or science podcasts (such as Studio 360 and Radiolab), and I also listen to a lot of audiobooks. I’ve been going through Oliver Sacks’ work on audiobook lately, and it fits very well with my interests.
Where do you (craft) work?
I’ve recently started renting space at Artisan’s Asylum in Somerville, which is a huge makerspace with some very cutting-edge resources. I spend most of the time there drawing at a large drawing board donated to me by another member and listening to audiobooks. But because there’s such a large community and I’m pretty chatty, I spend a lot of time talking to people as well! I also have a small studio setup at home, which I use mostly for jewelry, cards and other projects that are too finicky to bring to the studio.
Thanks, Emily. See you on Sunday! Readers, if you’re curious and want to learn more about Emily’s work, please check out this in-depth interview.