Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi there! I’m Colleen, a designer and adventurer living in Atlanta, GA. I can be a little bit impatient and always need to be doing something with my hands. In my free time I like to travel, ride bikes, read books and go swimming. I graduated from Georgia Tech last summer, and right now I’m still trying to figure out exactly what it is I want to do with my life (there are so many possibilities!).
Apart from creating things, what do you do?
Recently I just finished up a volunteer project at a local charter school, helping students write and publish family stories. I’m also currently working on a public art project for the Atlanta Beltline, designing and building a bench that grows plants. It’s involving a lot of research into durable and temporary building methods and indigenous and drought resistant plants. I also enjoy exploring the nooks and crannies of my neighborhood by bike and finding those amazing places that are hard to find.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Am I Old Enough to Write a Memoir Yet? My whole life people I meet think that I’m about five years younger than I actually am — it’s alright, though, because I don’t feel like I’m old enough to be an adult yet.
What does handmade mean to you?
Handmade means taking the concentrated time and effort to make something that doesn’t exist. Even if you’re not literally using your hands in every step of the process, it’s really the initiative to take the time to make something that no one else has, or that you can get somewhere else, by yourself.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
Probably my mom. She’s always been really supportive of me and all of crazy ideas. She gave me my first SLR camera and would took me out of school early in middle school for clarinet lessons. When I was younger she worked for the county arts council (in Beaufort, SC) which exposed me to all different forms of art, from ballet to painting, music, theater, even sweetgrass basket weaving. My mom also loves to travel and always brought me along on adventures, even when I was a little kid, so I’ve gotten to see so many new places and different forms of creativity because of her.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
I studied industrial design in college, and honestly, throughout that entire time I didn’t know that I was a maker. I was surrounded by so many other people that are creative, and all of my time was consumed by making things, and I thought it was completely normal to have this desire to create. I’ve always carried a sketchbook or a camera around with me to capture events and ideas, and this revelation only hit me recently.
How would you describe your creative process?
Disjointed and nonlinear.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Charles and Ray Eames.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
Anything my friends make, especially food. It’s definitely one of the more ephemeral of handmade things, but I love nothing more than a really good home cooked meal. Especially if it involves fresh guacamole.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
It depends on the rut. Some creative ruts are easy to get out of — if it’s just a small problem I’m stuck on, it’s best to go on a walk or a bike ride. I can get a lot of inspiration and process things a lot better when I open my mind up to distractions and breath in some fresh air. Deeper creative ruts require more drastic action. I have to go on a day trip to somewhere nearby that I’ve never been before, or even go on a trip for a few days to somewhere new. That always strengthens my creative muscles a lot!
Where would you like to be in ten years?
In ten years, I’d like to be doing what I’m doing now, but on a bigger and more independent scale. I have this dream of opening up a design shop of sorts. The shop would be open for client work like book or web design, or even consultation on other projects, but would also sell physical handmade items like jewelry and clothing, and double as an exhibit space for young artists and designers. Also, I would love to have the ability to travel more!