Jen Stady

Owner/Designer at Laundry Studio

Personal Project

Interview by:

Whitney Mokler 

April 8, 2020

W: Historically have you found yourself feeling the most creatively fulfilled by the work you do professionally or outside of that?

 

J: Yeah, definitely! I love my time at Laundry Studio, that's why I keep doing it. Initially when I started out as a designer I didn't really know how to find my own complete creative fulfillment. It can be hard to figure out because you think there is a way it's supposed to look and that is not always the case! I used to think - Okay, I have to decide if I’m an artist or a designer and why can't I decide? I went back and forth on that for a while, feeling unfulfilled in each. I have learned that I thrive on aspects of both and have had to learn how to make those choices in order to have a truly customized version for myself that feels right. I think Laundry reflects that. As a business owner, while I dont always like everything that I have to do, my entire psyche responds really well to the variety and the push/pull between art and design. 

W: When you realized that you were not being creatively fulfilled early in your career what types of things did you participate in to fill that void?

J: I went back to graduate school and studied art. I wanted to understand and create contemporary art. I think I just needed more education in general before I started working. I wanted to see the world and expand my horizons. Once I did that, I think I was much more satisfied doing design work and I felt that I brought more to the table, creatively. Like I said before, I was in a bit of a ping pong situation between design and art. I finally just collapsed that model and started to integrate them as much as I could. For me, being a studio artist was not as satisfying as working with design teams and solving problems creatively. So I focused more on the design while always integrating the concepts and techniques I had started to experiment with as an artist.

"For me, being a studio artist was not as satisfying as

working with design

teams and solving

problems creatively."

W: Currently, what types of design or art do you partake in to fuel your need for creative outlet?

 

J: It's almost like trying to catch a wave. The goal for me is to lose track of time. It doesn't really matter what I'm doing. I'm grateful for whenever and wherever it happens. Lately I’ve been knitting, crocheting, and gardening to get the creative juices flowing and be in that zone where I’m not thinking too much, but rather mentally meandering, without stress. Honestly, it's been hard to do in quarantine. That's why I've taken a break from drawing and focused on ways of being creative that are outside of the norm for me. Essentially I have been lowering my expectations. I mean I’m not a very good knitter but I’m always grateful to get the end of the row, you know?  The goal is to catch this wave of being in the present with what I'm working on and it doesn't matter what it is. I've also been thinking, “well, if it doesn't matter what it is, then it could be anything, like gardening or walking or cooking, right?” So everything is now part of the new “no stress” creative process and I like it that way. I find that I have new ideas that I like when I’m doing those other activities. I write each morning and use that as an opportunity to “catch” some of these ideas and explore them in a more analytical way.

W: What are 3 tips you have for finding creative inspiration/outlet when in isolation or a high stress environment?

    I like to look through old drawings and photos. I think everything looks a little bit different now due to the quarantine. Suddenly the past has a different significance. Things I might have discarded before have become interesting to me. It's not all about getting stuff done and moving on. I like to move fast, but I know that in doing so I miss things and I don't want to do that anymore. So I'm going back and looking at pictures I took years ago and havent seen since! It's like there is a whole world of ideas and imagery that I have skipped over. It almost feels like I am weaving together the past and present by noticing all of these things. I'm not advocating that it's good to dwell in the past, I just think that there is a lot of value and beauty that has been skipped over in the pursuit of always moving and finding something new and exciting. 

    The second thing is that I'm not thinking of new ideas that require me to go to the store and get new supplies or books. Not sure if it's a tip, but it's a new way of working for me and I kind of like it.  I  think I used that sometimes as a way of getting out of just doing projects with what I have. I almost used it as a way to pause, elongate, or over-complicate the process. Now I can just look up and say, "well I've got a whole afternoon and felt pens so what can I create with that?" 

    The third idea or tip goes back to the knitting. Rather than just jumping right into doing something that is creative and work-related, I will warm up by knitting or crocheting. It's active, but it's not scary. It requires focus and so my brain is working and engaged. From there I just kind of slipped quietly into work mode. The other thing that brings almost the same results is doodling while listening to a podcast or something.

"Things I might have discarded before have become interesting

to me."

W: If you could create any project right now with unlimited time, energy, and resources, what would it be?

J: Two things..

  • I'd like to make a line of fabric using paintings, drawings, and photographs. 

  • I'd like to talk one on one to every designer and artist out there who is feeling isolated by the quarantine and uncertain future.

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