On View at ACC: Erin Smith

On View at ACC: Erin Smith

Erin's work is on view in a joint display with Lindsay Locatelli until July 2017.

Published on Friday, June 9, 2017.
Erin Smith Chiz Whiz and Untitled

Erin Smith, Chiz Whiz (top) and untitled (black polka-dot)

Courtesy of the artist

Currently on view at the American Craft Council office are neon, ceramic lamps by artist Erin Smith as part of a joint display with jewelry artist Lindsay Locatelli.

Erin Smith has a BFA in product design from the Parsons School of Art and Design in New York. She worked in Berlin and designed product at Target before opening an online boutique with two friends and selling goods from makers locally and nationally. That, she says, "was the impetus to starting her own business, selling ceramics and jewelry." 

We asked her to share more about her process, her inspiration, and how she came to craft.

Erin Smith Power 2 the Purple

Erin Smith, Power 2 the Purple, 2016, 16 x 11 x 6 in.

Courtesy of the artist

What do you make? What do you want to make?
I make functional objects and non-functional objects. I make objects to help me make other objects. I've dabbled in many mediums. I try to keep my practice exciting by learning new materials and crafts; most recently I've been working in neon. Figuring out how to put neon together with my ceramics has been a very satisfying endeavor. When I think about what I want to make, I'd like to continue on the path I am on.  I can't imagine the future of my work, because it seems to be a continuous evolution. My past and current work informs my future work, so only by getting my hands dirty do I realize what my next project will be.

Who and what inspires you?
It's impossible for me to understand where inspiration comes from. Sometimes I think it's this cloudy haze that makes its appearance and touches on an entire subculture of friends. Sometimes an idea will come to me while I'm lying in the bathtub, or an unexpected material combination, or shape will catch my eye. I love to go to thrift stores and peruse the shelves of junk, stacking one item on top of another and taking a photo for inspiration.  

How did you first become engaged with craft?
My parents were very encouraging when it came to exposing me to art and craft, with art materials all over the house. I think my brother and I destroyed a fair amount of couches by painting, glueing, and building on the arm rests. Some of my first (and best) memories are of going to my mother's graphic design office at the Minnesota Zoo and playing with all of the art materials laying around.

Erin Smith Noods on Noods

Erin Smith, Noods on Noods, 2017, 13 x 14 x 10"

Courtesy of the artist

Describe your dream studio…
My dream studio would be a bright white space, high ceilings, and maybe a garage door that opens out to a patio, or the woods. I would have free Wi-Fi that the neighboring coffee shop would let me use as well as provide me with an endless supply of tea. It would be way cleaner than my current studio, and maybe I'd have a little studio cat weaving between my legs as I walk around.

What does craft mean to you?
I think craft is something that you work very hard to perfect. I think it's an ever-evolving process. It's taking a material and working it until it has your signature mark on it, and it's maybe something that isn't visible for years and years (and years?).

Library bonus question: What’s your favorite/most-read art or craft book in your personal collection? 
I couldn't narrow it down to one book. My parents have an incredible collection of art and craft books. I'll grab a few from their collection when I'm feeling stuck. They have a lot of '70s books on potters that are great to flip through.