All systems man-made and natural share a common overall form and function. This systemic form is what binds us all together as inhabitants of this planet. The eco-systems that people have created in the form of cities is where I find inspiration. The city to me is each house that makes up each street, the streets that make up a neighborhood, and the neighborhood that becomes a larger whole. Each person plays a role in this production and it changes and transforms over time as people come together and talk and create. It is in the unexpected beauty of these conversations that I have come to discover my role and responsibility in this system. Lille Huset simply means “little house” and to me it is a philosophy about living small, elegant simplicity, and finding meaning in the everyday. It is a project I started in 2009 to create and design goods that each tell a story.
I remember the vast difference in the homes of my grandparents growing up, one side Italian and the other Norwegian. My [New York] Italian grandparents were passionate about life, art and food, creating warmth and meaning in everything we ate and created together. My [Chicago] Norwegian half, taught me about elegant simplicity and care in creating everyday useful things. In each home, there was love and creativity. On both sides, I came to appreciate different qualities of life and making and the worlds never crossed. I think that my work reveals my deep love and appreciation of both, and for me it is embedded in the meaning of home. The name of my studio and my “lille huset philosophy” came from my home in Chicago. Having returned to my roots after a generation away, I discovered that my Norwegian great grandparents were married in a house not far from where I was living, in the traditionally Norwegian neighborhood of Logan Square. It was in this little neighborhood that we bought and renovated our first “lille huset.” It was having my own home that brought me into negotiating how I would establish my life and values. My work as a designer/artist would grow from my connection to that community and beyond. It was in this community that I learned to connect with people through everyday interactions on the street and in the parks. My connection to the street and my place in a greater city is where I derive the stories that I tell through my goods.
All of the projects I have completed over the years have been a continuation of these themes. I use design as my medium of communication, exploring web, printing methods, textiles, surface design, product design, and space design. I am intrigued by the interactive nature of goods and spaces, and it is a vital element in all that I make, be it physical or virtual. All of my projects invite the user to participate in some way. It is through their participation and their hand in conjunction with mine that completes the cycle. I care very much about the tactile quality of all of the products, in the design details and in the choice of high quality, classic and simple physical materials. I appreciate the ephemeral qualities of our existence and it is very much a part of the material decisions I make. Each item tells a story of: a system, a cycle of life, a personal encounter worth remembering, or how we as humans interact with our everyday environment. I use material and design to seduce a potential audience member to touch and feel what I am presenting, opening up a dialogue about it. Online, I use design, photography and language to engage an unassuming audience with my work, through my e-commerce shop. I see my shop as my place of direct contact with my audience and it is a symbol of an independent art/design marketplace and my role in it as a maker. My shop, that I have had since 2008, has always been my vehicle of motivation and evolution. As my work evolves, so does my shop. Although much of my work is physical, it lives online and much of my time is spent analyzing and refining my digital craft to align with the physical and accurately represent me.