Meet the Artist
About This Artist
Ellie Richards is a furniture maker and sculptor who looks to the tradition of both woodworking and the readymade to create eclectic assemblage, installation, and objects exploring intersections of labor, leisure, community, and culture. Through teaching, grants, and residencies she has traveled extensively to investigate the role improvisation and play have on the artistic process which fuels her evolving bodies of work that encourage of daily use and interaction.
Q&A With This Artist
A: I use an equal mix of hand tools, power tools, and machines to make custom commissioned furniture; sculptures out of old brooms; carved, geometric table-top totems; and vessels for floral arrangements. My work often includes found objects, reclaimed materials, painterly surfaces and carved elements.
A: My grandfather and great-grandfather both had backgrounds in forestry sciences and maintained their own home wood shops where they honed their own sense of craft in wood. I grew up using the furniture they made but not learning woodworking skills from them. However, many of the hand tools I use daily were passed down to me and from this I find a great source of reverence in what I do and how it connects to my past.
A: There is always a story behind the material I choose to work with, most of it is considered reclaimed - I am constantly scouting for sawyers, lumberyards, and tree removal company's in an effort to draw in new stories and relationships to place in the materials I am using.
A: Illustrated children's books are a huge well of inspiration when it comes to developing new abstract forms and universal messages (Shel Silverstein's Giving Tree, Where the Wild Things Are, Matthew's Dream by Leo Lionni to name a few). Tommy Simpson's 1968 book titled Fantasy Furniture is one I always sit with when I'm looking for refreshed ideas. Finding vintage DIY/home improvement books and tool ads also gives me lots of fodder to work with!
A: Making work within the fields of sculpture and furniture has expanded my perspective on how a person’s interaction with both natural and built spaces can be a potent indicator of societal and cultural identities.. Absorbing these characteristics allows sculptural objects to extend a common language that paves the way for a shared experience. I believe this leads to strong connections and greater empathy among us.
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