Welcome to our third artist interview. We are super happy that the talented Jeanie Lai agreed to divulge a bit more about her background and her line Moufelt, right here on our fledgling blog. Jeanie’s colorful and graphic felt goods have been a mainstay in the shop for a few years now and we use to carry her felt jewelry. So if you have been curious about the woman behind this inventive line, read on my friends…
And thanks for sharing Jeanie!
Tell us a little about your background and how you got to be where you are now.
I was born in Hong Kong and grew up on the east coast. I have a masters degree in architecture. When my husband and I first moved here from Baltimore Maryland about 6 years ago, I was totally inspired by the strong local craft and DIY culture. Although I’m already in a creative field, I missed making smaller more tangible things with my hands. I started my own design studio, MOUFELT in 2007. I starting by making jewelry with handmade felt for my friends and have since expanded into home accessories using industrial felt.
Tell us a little about your process and how you create your work.
I use computer software to create the home accessories designs. Most of my work is die-cut but the larger pieces are cut using an industrial waterjet machine. For the jewelry, it’s a lot of trial and error. I get an idea and I mock it up to see if it’s something I would want to wear.
What artists are you inspired by? Who do you admire?
I’m totally inspired by the work of Nervous System. Not just the beautiful jewelry they make but I’m in awe of their ability to design computer programs that generate amazing, complex and unconventional geometries. I also love the work of Atelier Manferdini in California. I’m inspired by their interdisciplinary design practices which bridge the gap between fashion, product design and architecture. Other designers I adore: Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec , the designers of Molo, felt artist Claudy Jongstra, Lotta Jansdotter, and of course Charles and Ray Eames. I could go on for a while….
Is there a country or area that you want to visit or live?
We love living in Portland but would love to live in NYC for a couple of years. I find so much inspiration when I visit. I would love to go to Japan at some point. We had an amazing trip to northern Spain a few years ago and would love to go back and see the southern part of the country.
Do you have any plans for future shows, bodies of work or long-term projects?
I work full time at a local architecture firm, so finding time for new projects is often a challenge. I am hoping to use wool felt for some of my interior projects. I would like to expand into bigger pieces, furniture and wall panels. I am working on some new trivet and coaster designs at the moment.
Any advice for young artists trying to find their way out there?
Do what you love (hopefully you’re also good at it) and work hard.