Today we’re excited to feature the work of ceramic artist and furniture designer Eny Lee Parker. Parker is currently pursuing her graduate degree in Furniture Design at the Savannah College of Art and Design while running a small collaborative design business. Check out more of her work here: http://www.enyleeparker.com/.
SAI: What is your design process like?
Eny Lee Parker: Depends on the project. Bigger objects such as furniture normally start with a short story in my head. I romanticize these relationships between user and object. Then lots of doodling in my moleskin, scale models and finally computer modeling for measurements. Ceramics on the other hand, is my zen, so I just throw on the wheel and see what happens. Unless it is for a specific purpose, I’ll sketch and throw.
SAI: Can you tell us about your Wabisabi mirror/table? How was that project informed by feminism?
Parker: Wabisabi is a Japanese perspective on life, that there is beauty in imperfection and transience.
I used this worldview as a personal guideline for this design. The mirror/table reflects the strong but dependent relationship [between] broken people. The mirror can’t stand without the table and the table can’t be stable without the mirror.
The reality is, it’s no longer just about the gorgeous photoshopped woman in magazines society pressures us to envy, but that perfectly symmetrical, independent woman with a full time job, at the gym, with kids and [a] Pinterest-like home.
I grew up with a single mother, my own personal Sarah Jessica Parker, who worked super hard to do it all. But she knew one thing, she was not perfect and she owned it beautifully.
I learned how important it is to be honest with ourselves about our struggles, embracing our perfect imperfections and accepting support from others.
That is the message behind my piece.
SAI: How does your personality come through in your design work? Is that something you purposefully try to integrate?
Parker: I’m not sure about my own personality, but I do tend to humanize objects. I think we all do that to things we hold near. We find memorabilia, name our cars, describe physical things in a way we would to a person.
SAI: What has been your biggest challenge as a designer so far?
Parker: Documenting my work in photographs. It’s definitely a challenge to find the right stage, photographer and be able to sync visions to tell the story. Nowadays, we are fortunate to share our work with the rest of the world just through a digital screen. So it’s crucial you get that part right!
SAI: Who or what inspires you?
Parker: Oh so much! And it changes every day. We are surrounded by artists, designers, friends, intellectuals, musicians, kids, etc. You can’t live a day without seeing something incredible! Obviously, we can thank Instagram, Pinterest and blogs for that, but luckily, my circle of friends are all well-rounded in the arts and just intelligent people in general.
At the moment though, I’m really enjoying modern sculptures by Scott Burton, Tony Smith, Michele Reginaldi, Dan Flavin, Thea Djordjadze, paintings by Frank Stella, Christopher Wool, Franz Kline, Willem de Kooning and Calvin Klein’s 2016 spring line.
SAI: What are you currently working on?
Parker: A project that studies idealistic versus pragmatic characteristics. I’m playing sculptor this time, so my collection’s purpose is the same as Scott Burton‘s work: “Do you sit on a Scott Burton bench, or simply just walk around it and look at it?” (from Sculpture Today by Judith Collins)
The collection integrates a screen divider, ceramic pieces and book holders – maybe some others, I never know.