Andrea Springer is a Detroit-based studio furniture artist. She has developed a hybrid career as an artist, designer, and educator. From an early age Andrea painted and made sculptural objects, both functional and non-functional, whenever she was not at gymnastics practice. At the beginning of her career she decided to apply her creative impulse and innate understanding of the human form to the study of architecture. While she enjoyed the process of creating spacial and formal relationships with the human body and psyche she missed the actual physical interaction that a smaller scale object could offer. As an architectural undergraduate student at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio she began her love affair with making—every architectural project involved creating a model of the developed idea and her senior year she enrolled in a furniture design/build class utilizing the department's woodshop. Later as a professional architect, she acutely missed working based off of personal creative intent/artistic themes and physically making that which was in her imagination. A desire for a new challenge lead her to become the Industrial Arts Teacher at a public high school in metro Detroit. While Andrea enjoyed how teaching facilitated the process of discovery in others, and was in that way a mirror of the artistic process itself, she yearned to express herself through sculptural form. In particular, she yearned to create sculptural objects with an actual or implied function in order to invite the development of a relationship with the objects—feeling that the lack of function in a sculpture, or other work of art, inadvertently created an invisible boundary around the object, halting the approach and physical interaction of the viewer. In order to pursue this dream, she moved to Providence, Rhode Island to immerse herself in the making of studio furniture. In 2007 she earned an MFA in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Andrea also taught for the Art History Department while at RISD. After graduation Andrea returned to Detroit and has been creating work in her studio located in the Russell Industrial Center, an old factory designed by Albert Kahn in 1915 (www.ricdetroit.org). She is also teaching at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit as an adjunct faculty member.
Please visit www.AndreaSpringerStudio.com for more information.
What is Studio Furniture?
Studio furniture is a branch of studio art, referring to the art that is created by an artist in his or her art studio setting. Studio furniture objects embody creative intent, a unique design, elements of functionality (either implicit or explicit), craftsmanship, and an intimate understanding of material in their creation. The studio furniture object, as a work of sculptural fine art, is exhibited in art galleries and museums (vs. furniture showrooms—a common misunderstanding due to the use of the word furniture in the name).
For further reading:
Contemporary Studio Case Furniture: The Inside Story, the Elvehjem Museum of Art, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002.
Furniture Studio: The Heart of the Functional Arts, edited by John Kelsey and Rick Mastelli, The Furniture Society, 1999.
Studio Furniture of the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum, by Oscar P. Fitzgerald, Fox Chapel Publishing, 2007.
Creative Work Statement
I have always been drawn to creating form and space that directly relates to the human body. Growing up I trained seriously as a gymnast. The heightened awareness of my body in space and in relationship to surrounding objects became second nature. These senses, highly tuned and developed over time, have influenced my artistic direction in ways that I am still discovering and learning to understand.
In this context, I have been creating mostly functional objects based on an anticipated interaction with the body and the psyche. An object that is compelling, and which promises an intimate physical encounter, becomes irresistible. One of the themes I often explore is the psychological result of an experience at odds with expectation. The goal is to arouse the curiosity of the participant, to lead to a more intimate experience, and to result in the development of a relationship or feeling of familiar attachment to the object.
Collectively, my body of work is an exploration of the age-old desire to understand one's sense of self in place. I make three-dimensional objects to interpret and translate into physical form elements of experience which would otherwise remain intangible—thoughts, ideas, emotions. I strive to create art that is approachable and intimate, pieces to be touched and interacted with.