Even as a young child, Priscilla Cypiot was drawn to the colors and textures in her home. “My mom had a wonderful eye for design and decorating and those details held so much power for me.” Today, Priscilla’s work as a furniture maker is enlivened with those “small details” she lovesfrom sandcasted aluminum to rubber washers, beads, felt, cloth, and tile. “They add such an incredible layer to my work and they enhance my furniture in a way I can’t do with wood alone,” she says. “I’m always buying stuff because I just know I could use it in my work.”
“I am so grateful I ‘stumbled’ onto making furniture. It’s such a good fit for my skill set since I was a math major in college. Making furniture lets me be analytical and creative at the same time!” Priscilla says. “I appreciate the craftsmanship but it’s the pulling together of the design, texture, and color that excites me, the challenging blend of art, craft, utility and design. For me, a successful piece of furniture should balance all of these well.”
Peter likes using a variety of metals in his art to add color and he intricately and skillfully blends form and design. He’s equally interested by the plasticity of a material. “Copper allows me to manipulate it more readily. Steel, when forged, is very much like clay when hot, and when it’s cool it still has that look even though it’s very sturdy. I enjoy the different surfaces I can make with hammermarks and filemarks in the metals as well.”
Inspiration for his art truly comes from every aspect of Peter’s life. “It may be something I’ve seen that inspires me or something I’ve sketched. Or I may just be working my way through my shop and I see a piece of metal and a shape catches my eye and that’s the start of the next work.”
Historical reference is key to everything he does and you’ll see influences of the Art Nouveau, Art Deco, and early American designs in his furniture. But Terry takes those ideas and runs with themperhaps tongue in cheek or perhaps giving them a more elegant stylizationgiving each a bit of himself. “I’m interested in design but I’m really interested in exploring furniture as a form of expression. I want to take the architecture of a piece of furniture and make my lines unique to find that perfect line or curve.”
Terry’s continually exploring new ideasincorporating plant forms and the body, both human and animal, into his designs. His fascination with the nearby Columbia River Gorge is now leading him to discover how to incorporate the layers of light and shadow found there into his furniture.
Indeed, there is a certain rhythm in all his works. Bill lays out the various pieces of slate and glass, creating movement through the patterns in the slate and color variations. “No two designs are ever the same,” he says. Bill balances colors and visual weights as he works. The welding skills so essential to his work were learned in the first few days of a community college welding class. “I had what I needed so I dropped out. Other than that, I’m entirely self-taught.”
Visitors will soon be able to see more of Bill’s work; since moving to Bend early this year, he’s creating a small gallery as a part of his studio. Find out more by logging on to www.forgedelements.com or visiting his booth at the Best of Northwest spring and fall shows.
“My earlier work had straighter lines and simpler elements than what I’m doing today. I often see a nice shape when I’m out walking and take notes or I see a photo that my wife has taken. And sometimes, the wood just tells me what to do. But whatever I do, I always design for function. I want to make something that will last but also something that has beauty.”
See his furniture at the Earth, Fire and Fibre show at the Anchorage Museum of History and Art every two years, or by visiting www.blackstonedesign.com.