What do you create?
I'm an artist & designer. Primarily I create whimsical watercolor paintings of animals, hand and fingerpuppets and I have a line of cards and prints based upon my artwork. But I don't limit my work and like to make lots of things and try new media all the time.
How did you come up with your company name?
My name came from an episode of Ira Glass' fabulous show "This American Life" on National Public radio. He was doing an interview with a sociologist who studied where children went during the day when they were alone back in the 1970's. That was back in the days when kids hung out alone and didn't have a million activities booked for them all the time (my childhood!). Anyway, what he discovered was that children all had secret places... kind of clubhouses, but they didn't have to be houses. They were places kids could go and be alone or with a group of friends and get away from the pressures of everyday life, be imaginative and creative and just play. One group of children had a special place in the woods they called "The Fern House". He described it as very beautiful... just sort of an outline of twigs and branches that created the agreed upon walls and windows, and then these beds of ferns that the children would create fresh every day with new ferns. So this idea intrigued me very much. I want my studio to always be a place where I can go, create, escape the pressures of everyday life and be inventive and play, so I adopted the name Fern House for my studio. Also, there are a lot of ferns around my studio as well.
When and why did you decide to start your business?
In the year 2000 my dad died and I wanted to make some changes and do more of what I wanted with my life. So one of the things I decided to do was put my artwork out there to sell and share with people. My boyfriend, who I started seeing in 2001 has also been important and encouraging of my art business, as he is a full time artist himself (his website is www.Philipfrey.com). In February of 2005 I started the website end of my business, which has been fun & I've learned so much!
Where do you get your inspiration for your projects?
Everywhere! I teach art 4 days a week to students in grades K-5 and they are always inspiring me. Also I love Paul Klee's work, and love vintage things from the 60's & 70's. Different & new media really inspire me as well-- fabric, felting and many colors of paint!
What is your main goal for this year?
To enjoy my work more and push less.
What advice would you give to someone starting a creative business?
Don't burn yourself out doing things that bring you nothing as far as marketing and the like. Pick a few venues and strategies and see how they go. Keep the ones that work and let go of those that don't . If you don't enjoy it, skip it! Remember, you have limited time and life is precious... enjoy it!
And just out of curiosity, what’s your favorite tool of your trade?
Gosh! Tough one. Lately I've been really into wet-felting. No, even more lately I've had a blast picking out fabric for the new puppets I'm creating for the spring 2006 season.
Fern House Studio
March 07, 2006
What do you create?