Once in awhile we come across a product collection that is so unique it make us curious about its origins. Chris Earl’s collection is one of these. An up-and-coming furniture maker and designer based in LA, Chris produces mugs, bowls, serving trays, and other homeware goods that bring a natural, modern aesthetic into any space. While we initially fell in love with his design-forward wooden and ceramic accessories, we soon learned his story and became inspired by his brand. Originally from Papua New Guinea, his work channels his diverse lineage and personal history. We reached out to learn more.
How did you learn to start making furniture and tableware?
I really began by simply doing. I started off in schooling by focusing on studio art. Furniture, design, and tableware were just a natural progression for me as I realized that these utilitarian crafts were very in line with my hands-on bent. That said, I was very lucky to have had the chance to apprentice with a master craftsman, Steven Ritson. I credit him with much of my knowledge in terms of actual furniture building and for instilling in me a realization that this is something I could do well.
What is the process for making an individual piece?
My approach to designing and building tends to be very intuitive. I will make loose sketches and put a lot of shower-time or pre-sleeping thought into how a piece should be executed aesthetically and practically. Once in the shop, the process always involves a good amount of free hand layout, visual imaginings, and holding pieces together to envision the final result.
What is the most challenging piece to make and why?
Chairs are by far the most challenging piece of furniture to make. There are so many angles, joints, and structural considerations to contend with. A chair must be both inviting physically and intriguing aesthetically. Ludwig Mies van der Rohe said, “A chair is a very difficult object. A skyscraper is almost easier…” I’ve never designed a skyscraper, but I tend to agree.
Where do you get your inspiration from for new pieces?
It sounds a bit cliché, but I get inspiration from the everyday elements around me. Inspiration can come from one facet of commercial design, another detail of furniture that I admire, some organic structure that I’ve seen in nature, or even a dress or embellishment that I’ve seen on a runway.
See Chris Earl’s full collection on Zola here.
Images via Chris Earl