Amy's style is minimal and sophisticated, yet warm and inviting. The spaces that she creates have a touch of the japanese aesthetic that I love so much. As I read her process, I realized that we have some karmic connections. I too created homes for Barbie and Ken. I have definitely experienced that frozen feeling at the onset of a project. And, I am enamored with Eva Zeisel's work and life story.
Amy's Creative Process :
As a solitary child in the 1970s my creative process was pure instinct. Dance was choreographed adjacent to a console record player. Drawing, painting and silk screening happened in our basement rec room. And homes were designed for PJ, Ken and Skipper on the ping pong table long abandoned by my older siblings. The lack of media and electronic devices during that time meant I was free to flow in my own non-verbal world all day for days at a time.
As a student of architecture we had a brilliant young studio professor who taught us about concept and parti (a diagrammatic sketch). We learned that a clear conceptual premise could inform every design decision we would make on a project. My friends and I became fully immersed in the process and were excited by notions of grandeur as we imagined future careers. I did beautiful work, but my professor and I knew that the process of coming up with a conceptual premise from within myself caused me to freeze up and ‘go blank’. I experienced creative block for the first time and my young professor questioned if a career in design was right for me. I knew it was but couldn’t articulate why, so I continued along the path with secret self-doubt.
As a young professional working in a large architecture firm I realized how much school doesn’t teach you, and that there are many layers to the practice of architecture and interior design, and that there is a place for people with all different creative strengths conceptual or otherwise. I played to my mathematical side during this time and learned all the technical ins and outs of creating, documenting and building space. Large projects require complex finish placement plans and specification binders. My linear, organized mind felt safe doing these tasks and my ego was satiated because I was really good at them. Over time it became clear that something was missing though… So I left the practice of large scale commercial architecture to start a single person residential design practice.
As a sole proprietor, I’m back in my basement playing house. It is a much nicer basement with beautiful lighting and a view of our lush garden. My Barbies have been replaced by smart, thoughtful clients and the work is done with teams of inspiring people. But each day I have time alone, without media and external distraction, to create in a flowing non-verbal way. Sometimes I’m immersed in the ease of lineal accounting. Often times I sit very still and follow whatever direction feels best. Conceptual premises flow through me easily now. My creative process has come full circle with one wonderful exception; age has brought awareness to join my unconscious which is even better.
Who's creative process do I want to learn about? Eva Zeisel. There are precious few female industrial designers much less ones who continue to design past 100 years old. To me, her work is perfection; it has all that we love about modernism while being distinctly feminine.
To see more of Amy's design work, check out her website.