Jerri’s experience and expertise are varied - her work is stunning and we’ve got a variety of her beautiful creations as well as a look into her creative process down below. We are so excited to share a little bit into Jerri’s beautifully designed world, and introduce you, if you aren’t already acquainted to this talented artist!
Hi Jerri, tell us a little bit about yourself and your background!
I am 27 years old, living and working in Denver, Colorado as a self-employed Furniture and Lighting Designer! I have lived all over the US as I have built my career in design, and for the past three years I had been designing furniture and lighting in Philadelphia for well known women’s lifestyle brand Anthropologie. In January 2018 I departed to launch my own design business and additionally an artisan-made collection in partnership with CK Thomas & Sons at ICFF in Manhattan this past May!
My background is actually in oil painting, which was truly my first love. In college I began as a studio art major, but quickly discovered Furniture Design while attending SCAD in Savannah, GA. After shifting my focus to my new-found passion, I graduated with a BFA in Furniture Design and was fully leaning into the residential side of the industry. I was drawn out of the studio art world into furniture because I felt furniture was sculpture on the human-scale that was completely interactive. I loved it! Design on the human scale, for me, feels more satisfying than more classical forms of self-expression through art that may hang on a wall.
Have you always been an artist and how did you decide to make this your career?
I have always been an artist and a creative in most aspects of my life. I would like to think I have a really multifaceted personality, but the truth of it is that I think all parts off what I am are creative in some respect. I love tactility and touch as an expression of compassion… painting was all I knew, and once I discovered Furniture Design was an avenue, I took it immediately. It felt natural to me before I had even really done any design work. Before I ever drew a piece of furniture or lighting I loved it. Once I began, there was no doubt in my mind that this was just a discovered part of my creative skill-set that I felt obligated to steward. Nine years later, I am still exploring it, and I feel like I am just getting started!
Describe your style as an artist. What medium do you use?
As a Designer, my medium is my design process: how I go about shaping a project, establishing the intent and then discovering the best design solution. I usually pull a lot of references whether they be imagery or physical material samples or simply an emotion I want a piece to capture. I then sketch... A LOT. My hand-sketches are my brush strokes in a sense, and each one moves me closer and closer to feeling that a design idea is fully formed. The next phase pf my medium is mostly digital for me… using cad software and three dimensional digital models to capture the proportion of the design idea. The final medium is the physical piece of furniture or lighting that is manufactured. There is nothing more gratifying that finally being able to sit on the sofa I designed or look up into the gorgeous form of a chandelier.
Where do you find inspiration?
I live with my eyes and hands open. I am always absorbing textures, proportions, the poetry of material combinations and how they speak to me and make me feel. I approach furniture in a very animated sense, considering how it can be made, how we interact with or live with it, and what is could do for us. It is a relationship that is constantly evolving, like any other. Thinking about design in this way is so inspiring to me because it pulls inanimate objects and even the abstract ideas of those objects in close to your humanity. Imagining the feeling a design will give you before it even exists is inspiring to me. I have a large, and ever growing, reference library of mostly historic and vintage design that I am constantly sifting through. Knowing the ebb and flow of historic design usually informs the present. I don’t replicate the past nor chase trends, but rather do what feels right for the times and for the design client I am working with.
For the INDIRA Collection that was launched in May my inspiration was a culmination of experiences I have had over three years on several different trips to India. The artisans of India and their extreme dedication to a skill and the humble presentation of their gifts touched me deeply. I feel compelled to be a liaison or a vessel of design for their specific talents to be realized through.
What’s a typical workday look like for you? Tell us about your process.
I start everyday with a pour-over and a homemade breakfast. I love slow mornings. Emails are always beckoning, but I try to start every day with a fresh to-do list… usually comprised of a lot of wonderful client work. List-making and organizing my thoughts first thing over a fresh cup of coffee is such a great way to build discipline into an inherently non-linear creative career.
For my design clients I really have a four stage working process: concept development, design sketches, manufacturing deliverables and then final the physical design samples. I begin a project by building an aesthetic framework through visual tone and mood boarding with my clients. Then I steer the collaboration with hand-sketches of each design. Materials, finishes, scale, end-use, are all being taken into account as I draw through several iterations. Once the design has been realized, I use a variety of software to render final sketches or models, consulting with my clients on final materiality and production considerations. Once designs are sent to manufacturing it is usually a two month wait until I see pictures or the samples themselves. At this point, I travel to factories or artisan shops to review the products. Sometimes products are reviewed digitally if I cannot be present. Tweaks are made, and a year later, after photography and marketing and prep, the products launch!
Who are some of your favorite artists? Musicians? People that inspire you?
I love Frank Stella, especially his black on black series of paintings. I think I will forever find power in the simplicity and rhythm of those works. I love Gregory Alan Isakov’s voice… He happens to be a Denver native and I am pretty sure I could listen to him sing forever while I sketch. Passionate people in general inspire me…people that love what they do and are overflowing with the joy of being aligned with their calling.
Where can we see your work?
You can find my work and more about me on my website at www.jerrihobdy.us. I keep my Instagram feed full with my latest product launches for the brands I collaborate with. I am so excited to say I just had several lighting and furniture designs launch for Anthropologie’s Spring 2019 Home Book that I will be sharing on my Instagram throughout the month of February.
What are the next steps in your career?
I am so proud to say I am booked with design projects for 2019. In addition to continuing to collaborate with brands to design unique furniture and lighting, I have big plans for a Denver-based design venture up my sleeve. I hope to be sharing that very soon with everyone! Keep your eyes on my Instagram and I will be breaking the news there.
Where can we see your art?
My newest collection, INDIRA, will be showing this May at ICFF in Manhattan and online at jerrihobdy.us and ckthomas.com. Select designer showrooms around the US will also be carrying a limited number of the bespoke collection. You can also follow along as I launch the collection over the next several weeks on Instagram @jerrihobdy!