Thursday, November 10, 2011

Local Artist Spotlight: Amy Ambroult

I encounter a lot of interesting, talented people and since I’ve always found it fascinating to see where artists work and hear their stories, I thought you might too.  So let's meet Amy Ambroult from AG Ambroult, Elemental Handcrafted Designs.
She and I met several years ago at an art show in Cambridge, MA and for me, it was love at first sight.  I distinctly recall her warm smile, the inviting colors of her booth and being drawn to ‘the remembery capsule’ (below) a copper container she custom creates and personalizes to hold memory tokens.  I thought it was brilliant and beautiful.  And so very clever... 
Remembery Capsule - A little cylinder of memories
Like most artists, Amy has a lot on her plate and from what I can see, she manages the delicate juggling act with grace and humor.  Her home 20 miles south of Boston is swirling with music, woodworking projects, fine art, knitting, kids, homemade meals and baked goods, books and creativity, and while she's mastered many artistic mediums, her creative focus at the moment is traditional metalsmithing.  So let’s focus on that... and the elegant simplicity of her designs.  And her modern, unpretentious style.  And her awesomeness.
The Cabin Fever Show in Boston - February 2011
Oh! And did I mention that her work was recently featured in Boston Magazine and Yankee Magazine? And that there are more exciting things on the horizon??  Well, I can’t wait to hear about that and see what she comes up with next, but in the meantime, I asked her some questions about her work, studio space and life. Enjoy..

Between you and your husband, there’s a lot of talent in your household. What’s up with that?
Amy: well, that's part of the foundation of our relationship, I guess -- fostering each other's creativity, skills, talents... If it weren't for him, I might not be in this business. One day, I simply expressed how much I was enjoying my metals classes and bang! the next day he had built me a workbench and was encouraging me to invest in the necessary tools. And so I did.

I caught a glimpse of some of your paintings in your living room. Please talk about painting.
Amy: Painting was a love of mine long ago, but I never really spent enough time develop the necessary skills, or a "voice" in that medium. I would like to return to painting some day. Some day.

Amy's studio
You work in a tiny space. I’m curious why you selected pink as your color choice for the wall.
Amy: This "tiny space" is tucked in my basement between the stairs and the furnace. It is dark and... gray. I'm not particularly a pink-ish type person, but I had a can of that color sitting around (leftover from a child's easel makeover) and it was just the thing that room needed to give it some life.

Do you think your designs would be any different if you worked in a larger space?
Amy: Now THAT is an interesting question. I suppose they might be. When I think of how my mind is affected by open spaces and sunshine, I can only imagine that everything else might take on a new light, too. My dream studio is all planned out in my head and believe me, it includes high ceilings and lots of windows.

I know you’ve been asked this a million times. But I really want to know. what inspires you?
Amy: It's hard to say. For me, it's not limited to one set thing or idea, like "nature" or "light." I get inspired by random things that catch my eye, or the conversion of a few unrelated ideas, spurred by something my kids said, or a quote from a book, a memory of something from my past (even a feeling), or yes, an object from the natural world.
AG Ambroult's Moss Ring Display
How do you juggle marriage, motherhood and making things?
Amy: Easy. My house is always a mess. Something's gotta give, right? Everything else just kind of takes care of itself. In the summer, when the kids are home, I slow down in my studio to be with them. During the holidays, I don't see my family much on the weekends. It's a constant give-and-take, but it all evens out in the end. Huge pile of laundry in the living room and all.

What is your favorite tool and why?
Amy: My jeweler's saw, because I finally conquered it. For a long time it tortured me, those tiny, delicate blades snapping every few minutes. But over the years I have learned the nuances of working with it, and I actually find it somewhat meditative now. These days I only need to change a blade when it is worn out. Victory!

Oxidized Orbit Earrings
When working on new things, do you keep everything neat and organized in a design book or are you a disorganized disaster with scraps of paper all over the place (like me)?
Amy: Nooooo. Disaster area. Completely. Things in the sketch book, doodles on the board, notes on the backs of envelopes...

What's your favorite ‘word’?
Amy: Circuitous. (though I don't know that I have ever even used it. I just like the combination of sounds. Somebody said it the other day and I totally lost the conversation because I was pondering that word, and its curious sound.)

What’s next for AG Ambroult?
Amy: Looking forward to expanding my wholesale business, which is currently languishing. I am also dreaming up a new line of high-end pieces that will combine illustration with my silver wire work.

Copper Jewel Cocktail Ring

You can purchase Amy’s jewelry and other handcrafted goods online at her Etsy shop or in person at a Boston area art festival.  And if you’re looking to avoid the malls this holiday season (we encourage that...) and shop handmade (that too...), be sure to mark your calendars!! She and I will be neighbors at the Hingham Holiday Market on November 26 + 27. Both days 10am to 6pm.