artist / designer / maker | @ymouser
you might say that artist Yvonne Mouser’s preferred medium is time. the passage of time, our perception of time, the way everyday objects and ideas are impacted by time. a fitting lens for 2021, given the surreal way time is unfolding right now — and encouraging us to reconsider our relationship with, well, everything. here, Yvonne on life right now.
where do you live?
“i have a live/work loft in West Oakland with my cat, Miso. i moved here a couple years ago when i needed to find a new studio. i was fortunate to get this industrial space where i can combine my apartment, workshop and warehouse into one seamless and adaptable situation.”
WHAT DO YOU DO - PROFESSIONALLY, PERSONALLY, PASSIONATELY?
“i am an artist, designer and builder. i dream up and make things like furniture, everyday objects, jewelry and sculpture. my practice expands out from a base in wood craft and furniture design exploring various materials and functions. my work is often utilitarian, acting at once as an implement for storytelling and for engaging environments. i am fascinated by our perception of natural phenomena and time, which i sometimes explore through work that suggests growth, or decay, or a sequence of temporal states or moments. i also love to collaborate and these ongoing creative projects continue to pull me into exciting new territories.”
how do you approach your work?
“i start with a concept, material, process, or functional need, and through research and sketching, hone in on a core intention. each new object-making effort is an exercise in restraint, where i focus on the purity of an idea and the most direct construction methods in an attempt to achieve simplicity in the final outcome. i am interested in the layering of functionality or structure for transforming familiar objects, yielding adaptations of vernacular forms. in my practice, designs evolve through hands-on experimentation, where processes often lead to new forms and materials motivate method.”
something you’ve learned “on the job”?
“if you could call “on the job” listening to science shows while i work… i recently learned about the light speed delay. that the time it takes for light to travel makes what we see now actually in the past. in some cases, like me seeing you in person, it’s just nanoseconds. the moon is a little more than a second ago and the sun more than eight minutes in the past. the more distant, the further in the past and so the stars we see in the sky can be a few years to millennia in the past.”
can you tell us about one piece you created
that is especially meaningful to you?
“in Untitled (Table and Chair) i constructed then set the piece on fire. the table was made in layers, that when burnt expose a delaminating and delicate charred end, and when paired with the charred seat at the table’s head, they evoke the feeling of a dramatic and transformative moment caught in time.”
we are living in crazy — but important, for so many reasons — times. what is life like right now for you?
“amidst the chaos and uncertainty of the last year, i have been fortunate to continue with work and find joy in creativity. i’ve been lucky to have wonderful people close to me that have helped create a sense of normalcy, and, at times, celebration, despite the social restrictions. it’s been a difficult year in many ways but I feel a new sense of optimism right now.”
what feels different about this year?
“well, we’re all still stuck in this alternate reality, that in many ways feels like living the whisper of the life from before the pandemic. in other ways, the restrained movement that slowed life down has allowed for refocusing on what is important. i’m still working a lot because it’s what i love to do, but in healthier and more balanced proportions.”
what are you looking forward to most this year?
“i’m hoping to travel and see more of my friends. i really look forward to the day we can gather with lots of people again to watch a performance, dance, and celebrate.”
what is the single best thing you watched so far this year?
“the film, The Sound of Metal.”
piece of époque on current rotation?
“the essential pullover. it strikes a perfect balance between style and comfort.”
three random items you can’t live without?
“sunshine, noise cancelling AirPods, 4-inch combination square.”
all around life hack you swear by?
not-so guilty pleasure?
“podcasts and audiobooks while i work.”