In a new bi-weekly column with Roddy Clarke, we shine the light on the emerging talents, designers and makers to watch from around the world
After a background in Fine Art, Chelsea Vivash returned to study furniture design and has now developed her practice to merge the two fields. Resulting in captivating marquetry work for both functional and sculptural designs, Vivash is turning heads with her artistic ability.
“I see the traditional technique of marquetry as a way of drawing down my ideas with wood,” she explains when revealing the story behind her craft. Based in East London, the UK artist has embarked on a number of collaborations and is excited to share her skillset going forward.
Using wood as a medium was something Vivash was drawn to as an art student when utilising wooden boards and broken furniture as her canvasses. Finding fascination in the way these objects were made, she then returned to study to learn this for herself. Setting up her own studio in 2017, she now handcrafts a variety of pieces such as wall mirrors and decorative panels, some in collaboration with other artists.
“I have built a network of fascinating and talented people who I admire,” she states when discussing her creative partnerships. “I think it’s only natural to want to share ideas with them. Collaborating is a way of combining creative minds to come up with something unusual, and often it’s even more exciting than something you can come up with by yourself.”
Through her work Vivash has also created with a conscious mindset. Using offcut veneers from larger scale manufacturing processes, she is keen to commit to helping the industry become more circular. “I feel that I am doing my small part in saving something that would otherwise be thrown away,” she says.
“Which is crazy because I find each small piece of veneer so beautiful. I struggle to get rid of even the tiniest fragments!” Using only the wood grain she is given; it means each piece is unique in its aesthetic and is part of the joy she finds within her design process.
While she is still expanding her own studio, Vivash is ardent to share her skillset with others who may be interested in the craft. “People often don’t realise how my work is made,” she continues while disclosing that she is currently designing a beginners marquetry course with Domestika. “I really enjoy seeing people’s reactions when they see how thin the wood veneers are!”
Alongside this venture into education, the studio will be showing a selection of work at Mad Atelier at the end of June with further installations coming up throughout the year. Speaking of her current work, Vivash says how she is working towards a collection of furniture for the end of the year. “The work I make keeps getting bigger and bigger,” she concludes. “Maybe I will create a whole room next!”
Images courtesy of Chelsea Vivash