Today we’re sitting down with Debra Folz of Debra Folz Designs, learning a bit more about her studio, her work and what inspires her.
Please tell us a bit about the path that led you to where you are today.
I look to industrial materials to act as a canvas for domestic embelishment in a way to modernize a traditional craft, and also present it as an embedded and integral part of the object. I enjoy the blank nature of industrial sheet materials and investing the quality and quantity of time to create something that is one-of-a-kind. Other times it can be a desire to soften surfaces or explore geometries created by the combination of hard and soft materials. I am consistently working with ideas of hard versus soft, industrial versus domestic and traditional versus contemporary processes. I enjoy the tension of working between these ideas and finding the spaces between.
What makes you want to make things go “askew”? How does that change our perception of the object or the space?
That is such a great question that no one has ever asked me It’s only at the point that you’ve make several objects that you can look back and start to see connections you hadn’t anticipated. Drawing from work such as The Whole Story, Askew Shelves, and Askew Carpet, I am intrigued by the idea of an object appearing to have a relationship to a specific environment / surface. Because the pieces are interdependent from the space in some way, it makes them feel more integral to that space. I also enjoy the idea of reconsidering the way we approach objects and arrange our spaces.
Please tell us a bit about your studio in the South End. What’s the ‘hood like?
My studio is in a large artist building which has served as a great way to introduce my work though open studios and the SOWA Sundays in the summer. On a typical day I will chat with some of my wonderful neighbors, get a visit from the adorable cocker spaniel down the hall, and enjoy coffee and lunch at the Mohr McPherson Cafe downstairs. I am able to walk to the studio from home, and you can’t throw a rock without hitting a great place to meet a friend for an after work-cocktail/ dinner.
How does your space/neighborhood inspire your work? Where else do you look for inspiration?
Inspiration for me comes from many different places: Observing the way we use objects, experimenting with materials both old and new, incorporating textile and embroidery techniques, etc. However I especially enjoy opportunities to learn traditional manufacturing processes and imagining their adaptation to more modern objects.
Your business is taking off quickly! What’s next?
I’m currently working on developing a small gift line, expanding the first production collection recently exhibited at ICFF (available on Design Public) and working through some potential ideas for my next studio collection/ limited edition work. I enjoy working concurrently in these markets, as I find the ideas can bounce between and inform each other. Beyond [all] that, who knows … the unexpected opportunities that pop up can be the most exciting!
We’re looking forward to seeing what pops up! Thanks so much to Debra Folz for chatting with us today.