Anne Bossert is a mixed media artist specializing in custom furniture design. By combining her talents in woodworking and fiber arts, she creates functional and playful pieces that bring levity to everyday experiences.
Tell us a bit about yourself! How did you get started in woodworking and fiber arts?
My mom taught me how to sew my own clothes when I was about 10 years old. That was my introduction to the world of textiles, as well as the concept of making things to suit my specific tastes. That mindset led me to taking a furniture making class when I determined that a custom cabinet would be a better storage solution for CDs than a plastic milk crate. Come to think of it, I was working in a yarn store during the time I took that woodworking class. So I was developing my knitting and weaving skills at the same time I was learning to work with wood.
Fast forward a few years and I found a job in a sign shop fabricating signs. This led to an even greater understanding of tools and making. Apparently, my destiny was established at that point, as DIY is a philosophy that now permeates the way I think and exist in the world.
What is it about furniture design that calls to you as an artist?
I really like functional art. I am all for the careful curation of the objects with which we surround ourselves, as opposed to the mindless accumulation of stuff. We live our lives through things, so why not have those things be interesting and beautiful? I like being one of the people who make mundane objects unexpectedly delightful. Oh, and power tools are cool, too!
Given your combination of materials, your work has a wonderfully tactile quality to it. Is there a specific sensation you hope to elicit from those who interact with your furniture?
I’m trying to challenge people’s expectations of how furniture should look. Wood doesn’t have to be brown. Color doesn’t have to be relegated to your kids’ rooms. The mood I’m hoping to create is the opposite of boring, so that would be... interesting!
Sometimes reality isn’t what you think it is. I like to craft the unexpected and create moments of delight.
I like to surprise people and mess with their perceptions about what they are seeing. I will dye and weave stripes into my textiles that are the same width as the stripes of the laminations in the plywood I use. When the striped fabric is incorporated into a piece made of striped plywood, and both are dyed the same color, most people have no idea they are looking at two different elements. It often blows their minds when I point out those details.
With such an imaginative style, how do you communicate your design intent to customers?
Because I do a lot of commissioned pieces, I need to ensure that my customers have a solid understanding of what they will be getting. Good communication is the key to a happy customer. So whenever I’m making something that includes my hand dyed, handwoven fabric, I will make a custom material in SketchUp. To do this, I will simply scan a sample of my fabric and “paint” it into my SketchUp model for maximum realism. Go team!
Can you tell us more about your design process?
I actually have a new design process I’ve developed in the last couple of years that I find to be very exciting. Since the first time I cut an angle into plywood and saw all the different stripes that were hiding inside, I have been saving the offcuts and scraps from projects. I now like to start with a composition of offcuts as doors or drawer fronts and then design a piece of furniture to go behind it. So I will lay out the offcut assemblage, measure it, photograph it, put it into SketchUp, size the image to scale, and sketch the furniture design to go with it. A few examples of this new style can be seen in my Skygazer Cabinet and Marigold Credenza pieces.
Do you have any advice for aspiring artists?
Be tenacious, but remember to take breaks. I know a lot of artists who have chronic repetitive stress injuries. The pain is real.
Anne is pretty impressive. Explore her work.