Career paths are not always straightforward, and creative careers even less so. So it is inspiring to learn how others have successfully paired their personal interests and talents with the need to earn a living. The BGC Craft, Art & Design Oral History Project is an online resource of interviews with a range of craftspeople and designers: studio potters, architects, rug hookers, industrial designers, and more.
Here are three that caught my interest:
Ignacio Ciocchini is an Industrial Designer working in New York City; his designs include the award-winning CityBench. In this interview he touches on design considerations for public urban spaces, and also talks about the challenges of integrating design teams into a corporate structure, an enduring issue I remember well from my days working at a design consultancy.
Stephanie Allen-Krauss is a fourth-generation Rug Hooker from Vermont. This interview covers her personal history in the craft along with technique, the selection and preparation of fabrics and dyes, and the business in general. I have a soft spot for textile arts, and am really tempted to enroll in the Green Mountain Rug School. Read the personal story behind the Bottom Star Big Dipper rug here.
Finally, Philippe Apeloig is a Graphic Designer based in Paris who is known for his typography. But he was no match for author Philip Roth, who requested that his portrait be the basis for a new poster commissioned for the Fête du Livre. That tale and its creative result tell the story of how Apeloig approaches design and interprets subject matter in visually rich ways, successfully blending his trademark style with client requirements.
With 13 interviews posted so far, the project is a valuable resource for future scholarship. But non-scholars be warned: these oral histories are presented as written transcripts and do take some time to read. Fortunately the interviews were digitally recorded so more plentiful video clips may be added in the future. All of the interviews are available on the BGC Craft, Art & Design Oral History Project website.