Let's talk shop with our adventurous, organized, introverted woodworker Monika Pfistner.
"The interesting shapes and unpredictability of the natural material I work with inspires me. Nature contains a certain kind of beauty that is really hard to find in other aspects life. I love the way nature is always dynamic and changing, yet so constant at the same time, not changing with the trends of the day. I hope I can capture some of that in my work."
What's challenging about being a woman artist?
Being a female in a male-dominated craft, I have been bracing myself for setbacks and discouragement, but honestly I have received a lot of encouragement thus far. I struggle with trusting that others will see the same value in my work as I do, so it can be hard to put my work out there with confidence.
Describe your design process.
More often than not, the wood just speaks for itself. I know that sounds ridiculous, but it’s true! The grain pattern, knots, cracks, and overall size of the piece I’m working with determine the direction I go.
Do you have a fav place you've traveled?
Anywhere in the mountains. Last year we had the opportunity to visit the Bavarian Alps. I love being in the mountains because of the great expansiveness, the potential for adventure and exploration, and the chance to step away from normal, busy life.
What’s your fav current product or design?
I have been playing around with more geometric looking boards lately, and I’m really excited with how they’re turning out. I have also been making jewelry, which has been a fun way to use the knots and cracks that normally go to waste.
What is the best part of your day?
Anytime I can be outdoors. I have high hopes that summer this year will be synonymous with “outdoor workshop".
How do you balance life and work?
Well, I work for myself so I make my own schedule. It’s the best part of being an entrepreneur! Really though, I think it is so important to carve out time for the things you love.
Describe the creative community in portland, me.
The creative community in Portland has been super welcoming. It has been so encouraging to move here and feel connected to other makers so quickly. There has been a very direct influence on my work as I have been able to collaborate with some other artists and share ideas. They have actively encouraged me in the work I am doing now.
Which artists inspire you?
My brother, Meg Gleason of Moglea, and Anna Gregory, a woodworker. These are three people whose work I really admire, and who don’t seem caught up in the latest artistic trends. Their work feels like true creativity that wasn’t borrowed from Instagram, and I think we all need a little more of that in our lives. I am also always thinking of floral design, which is another pursuit that I love. I am reminded of flowers when I work with wood because neither one responds well when you try to force it into the vision you had from the beginning. In both cases, I find it much easier to let it come together naturally, because the media has a personality of its own.
Any advice for young artists?
Don’t let your art be swayed or dictated by social media. It’s so easy to become discouraged by all the trends and other creatives out there. Give yourself space from the online world to let your creative process happen naturally.