Tell us about yourself.
My name is Carson Converse. I’m from a small town in western Massachusetts but I’m currently living in Westchester County, New York. I studied sculpture and art history at Boston University, then, after serving coffee and schlepping furniture, I headed back to school for a masters in interior design from the New England School of Art and Design. I work full time as an interior designer and feel incredibly lucky because I am working on amazing projects with some wonderful and talented people. Even though I love architecture and interior design, I go crazy if I am not creating things with my hands.
Apart from creating, what do you do?
Eat, sleep, try to squeeze in a run. I could use more hours in a day.
What would be the title of your memoir? Why?
Maybe At Least We’ll Be Warm, which was my husband’s response when I switched my concentration from a fruitless job search to quilting. Worst case scenario, I would still have something tangible to show for my effort. I’m not afraid to take a risk if it involves doing something that I am passionate about. If you keep going it will eventually work itself out.
Where does your inspiration come from?
I’m always looking for ideas. I’m particularly drawn to fine art and architecture. Taking a road trip or seeing what other designers are doing is always inspiring. I also look at a lot of antique quilts, especially Amish quilts for ideas. I love tradition, and I often use very common quilt designs which have been made for years. I’ve always liked the cropped close up images better than the entire quilts, so I started playing with the scale and cropping to make them more modern.
What does handmade mean to you?
When something is handmade, the process and the craftsperson’s story becomes very important. For me this adds richness to an object in the same way that the history of an antique can add to its value.
Who has been most influential in your craft?
At the moment, it would be my husband, who was willing to live on a little less to give me time to create. I’m also really grateful to have had some really amazing professors who helped me learn to step back and critique my own work.
When did you know you were an artist/maker?
There was no aha moment. I was lucky enough to grow up in an environment surrounded by artists and craftspeople, so I was exposed to the creative process my whole life.
How would you describe your creative process?
Inspiration, beating my head against a wall, hopefully success. I’m a bit of a perfectionist and I drive myself crazy trying to get just the right outcome. Behind each successful design are several not so good ones. It can be very frustrating, but I know from experience that eventually it will come together. That moment when everything just works out is why I keep doing it.
If you could peek inside the studio of any artist, designer or craftsman (dead or alive), who would it be?
Alexander Calder. His work is so playful. It would be great to be surrounded by bits and pieces of his kinetic sculptures.
What handmade possession do you most cherish?
A table made by my dad. The top is a large chunk of a silver maple root. It’s a beautiful object that also happens to come from a tree that sparks warm memories from my childhood.
How do you get out of your creative ruts?
I just push through and trust that it will end. It usually also means exhaustion, a glass of wine and the appearance of a tornado going through my studio.
Where would you like to be in ten years?
I’d like to settle down a bit, have my own home with a shop. Not that I want to be in the same place in 10 years, but I am really happy with how things are going right now. After a roller coaster couple of years I am trying not to think too far ahead.