I recently interviewed husband & wife designers/artists, Eric Jean-Louis and Vivian Cheng, of Blend Creations for Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx. They are one of the contributing shops in the #indielbs: a weight loss challenge, in case you weren’t aware. 😉
Read more about Vivian, Eric & Blend Creations below.
1. What’s the name of your business, what do create and sell and how did you get your start?
Blend Creations. We (myself, Vivian Cheng and my husband, Eric Jean-Louis) design and manufacture modern stainless steel jewelry pieces that blend machined elements with handmade inlays. We started in the fall of 2005 and we got our start because we had the idea that we wanted to go into business for ourselves. We’re both trained as designers (I’ve got a degree in Industrial/product design and Eric is a graphic designer) and we though it’d be fun to collaborate on a few product designs. When we started, we really weren’t sure where Blend was going to go, but we thought we’d ‘try it out’ for at least one year and go from there.
2. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?
Between Eric and myself, we read a LOT of blogs. Amongst our most regular reads are Boing Boing, Young House Love, and fun things like F My Life. and Fail Blog. One blog I just discovered is 1000 Awesome Things and I’ve flipping through 10cent designer’s Flickr Set. (We recently moved to a 50s era bungalow and we both love the mid-century modern style). Shopping-wise, lately, because of the move, we’ve been frequenting the Home Depot waay too much (we have an old house!) and checking out vintage and thrift stores hoping to score some TLC-needing 60s era furniture. Haven’t found anything for our house that’s worth writing about, but Eric did find a vintage 60s era ViewMaster complete with Snoopy and Roadrunner slides for $2!
3. What have you recently been reading, watching and listening to?
Reading: I’m reading the teen-novel TTYL by Lauren Myracle on my bedside table (quick, cute read if you want to know what high school girls are like these days!).
Eric’s got: Starting Strength on his. We obviously have very different tastes in our recreational reading.Watching: Our regular rotation of programs is The Amazing Race and Dexter. I watch things like Grey’s Anatomy and ANTM on my own, but if you ask Eric anything about them, somehow he knows what’s going on.
Listening: The two most popular albums in the last month on our iTunes is Coldplay’s LeftRightLeftRightLeft and Michael Franti and Spearhead’s All Rebel Rockers.
4. What are your inspirations in your art and life?
In design, we get inspired by a wide variety of things. It could be something as simple as how a tree shadow is cast on brick, or textile patterns that we think would translate well to an inlay. In life, our biggest inspiration is wanting to live right by our son. It sounds cheesy, but it’s true. We’d like him to grow up and be proud of where he’s come from and enjoy his time with us.
5. What’s your creative process like?
We don’t really have a formalized creative process. If anything it’s about the two of us at the kitchen table or a coffee shop with a sketchbook and a lot of talking over ideas. When we have a little sketch made, then we go and make a few production drawings for machining. Or if it’s for inlay ideas, it’s about experimentation and what we think might work. Some things never leave the studio and other things (like our washi pendants) take off and become more popular than we ever expected.
6. What 3 things can’t you live without?
Coffee. Sugar. Our laser engraver! 😀
7. What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst?
The best thing about what we do is that we get to spend a lot of time together — for many spouses, they can’t fathom working with each other, but we can’t imagine it any other way. We also get to spend a lot more time with our son than most parents do. As a family unit, I think it’s important to really ‘get’ each other, especially when the child is so young. (Our son Jack is now 3).The worst thing is that it is very easy to procrastinate doing things that aren’t as enjoyable (like inventory or accounting) when you’re your own boss.
8.What’s new or in the works?
Our most recent design is the Torus necklace. (When we were in the prototyping stage, we called it the ‘donut’ but figured Torus sounds slightly more modern and sophisticated :)In the works, we’re in the process of manufacturing a customizable ‘family’ type necklace featuring smaller-toruses. You’ll be able to choose a birthstone for each torus and we’ll be testing the possibilities with customization with this necklace so that someone could hopefully put each family member’s name or birthdate, or whatever message would make it personal for them.