Artisan Wednesday | Q+A with Chris L. Halstrøm

To gather a deeper and more intimate connection with the artists and artisans we work with, we asked each to answer a series of questions. We will be showcasing each Q+A in correlation with our familial content. Enjoy! 

x Shop Zung

 

Without giving away your location, describe where you are right now. What are the things you see, smell, or hear around you? 

I am listening to Nina Ramsby & Martin Hederos. Lots of bicycles and cars are driving by my windows, while I am starting a new embroidery.

A Noguchi lamp and a jug sits on the window sill and outside goes a biker among the streets somewhere in Europe

Taste, touch, smell, sound, sight — which of the five senses do you rely on the most? Why? 

I don´​t think I could choose one over the other now when I have all five senses at my capacity. They are linked and I am terrified to lose any of them.


We want to know more about your creative process, walk us through it. How do you begin your projects? Do you anchor it with an image, a material, color, feeling? How do you come to a stopping point and know your work is complete, if you ever think so?

I think every project is different. It really depends on which kind of situation I am making something for, but something similar for every project is that I write a lot in the beginning of and during the process to determine what kind of atmosphere I am aiming for. I often work with these three words in my process; neutrality, familiarity and coziness, trying to find some kind of balance through them. Through the writing I analyze my arguments for every decision I make, so making decisions is not that scary for me. But I find it very helpful to have lots of time for a project. Being able to put it away and come back to it is essential.  

Color swatches on a white board
Four pairs of scissors and colorful rocks collected

What are you most inspired by right now?

The concept of time and permanence. 


How would you describe your work? How do other people describe your work?

This is hard to answer. I am not sure what to say actually. Other people might recognize or read a thread through my work, but I am not very preoccupied with labeling my work myself. But a mix between the words “boring” and “cozy” comes to mind when I think of my work.

Steel Knives designed by Chris Halstrom with refined simple form
Close up of the hinges in a soft/chair with oak frames and grey upholstered seats

What is your favorite object or piece of furniture you designed? What about one from a different designer?  

I think it is hard to differentiate between all the different things I have made. Often my favorite project is the one I am working on. But I am very happy with my Vent stool. I had a great process with that piece and I am happy that the manufacturing involves the socioeconomic company Blindes Arbejde (Work of the Blind). One of my favorite pieces by another designer is the Stool 60 by Alvar Aalto. It is a perfect example of sculpture and functionality coming together in my eyes.

 

Vent Stool 

 

Think of an object in your home that has the most significance to you. Could you share with us what it is and the memory behind it?

My home has a lot of things that are not very significant to me and that I could easily live without. But I also love stuff, I love surrounding myself with all kinds of things and objects that for me are beautiful, useful or memorable. I never think about if things match. If it is something I like it will match automatically. My books are very important to me and I would be very sad to lose them.


We live in a society where so much of our identity is surrounded by the things we consume whether that be the things we buy, the food we eat, or the content we see, along with the fast paced nature of it. How do you approach mindful living and sustainability in the context of your work and in your everyday life?

I have recently taken to a new direction in my work life. I must admit that the design business at the moment is hard for me to fully accept. Such a small part of it actually engages with serious and interesting ideas, the rest is just what I call “candy design”, it looks tasty but when you eat too much your stomach hurts. I am tired of the massive overload of new stuff and I am taking a break to be able to find my way back to what I feel is interesting with designing furniture and how I can make a relevant contribution in this field. For the past three years my embroidered artwork is what I have been focusing on mainly and I am very happy with the response I have received from them. 


What do you envision for yourself in five years?

I never thought ahead very much, but probably I will be living full time in my house in the forest in Småland, Sweden.


What do you want people to take away from your work? What is the legacy you imagine for yourself? 

I hope people will use my furniture and enjoy their age with all that includes; stains on the dining table, passing on pieces to kids, mending a worn out pillow...


Are you looking forward to anything in the next few months? Any new exciting projects or plans?

I was recently appointed as a member of the Committee for Craft and Design Funding in the Danish Arts Foundation for the next four years. So I am looking forward to working with how Danish craft and design can evolve in Denmark and abroad. I am also preparing for a solo exhibition in Bath, UK in September 2022 with my embroidered works. They take forever to make, so I know what to do for the next year.

Three embroidered works by Chris Halstrom hung on a wall

 

Photo courtesy of Chris L. Halstrøm