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in conversation with: Emilia Stern

by Millicent Hofung |

Where are you based?
I am based in the Hudson Valley, NY but will be spending this winter in Los Angeles. 
 
How would you describe yourself, in a sentence?
I am an artist that balances creating with being active and spending time outdoors.
 
 
A plant, tree or flower you love to give as a gift (or have in your home)? Why?
I enjoy foraging outside for flower and plant arrangements. I love wild flowers and interesting looking branches and leafy plants. It’s a fun, creative and helps you to always appreciate what’s blooming and in season. 
 
Where do you look for inspiration?
Inspiration comes to me in numerous ways. I am an observer of color, pattern, and texture in my everyday life and enjoy translating these small details into my work. As a fiber artist, I am continuously inspired by the materials that I work with - their various textures, colors, the endless ways in which they can be manipulated, and the connection to nature from using natural fibers. My process is as experimental as it is intentional and I love letting my materials inform my design process. 
 
 
What does sustainability or conscious living mean to you?
I think we all have a responsibility to be as mindful as we can while living in ways that help the environment. There are so many different directions this can be taken and everyone has their own way of doing what they can. 
In my everyday life and in my work, I enjoy getting creative with ways that I can reuse or up-cycle and I always try to buy local and/or from small businesses when possible. There are a lot of opportunities to do that as a fiber artist, especially with the amount of textile waste that the fashion industry creates. My experience with making fiber art began by reusing pieces of fabric that were headed for the trash in college, so it’s just something I’ve carried with me as I continue to make art. Not only is it a way to reuse already existing materials and create less waste, but I also enjoy the creative challenge of learning about different materials as I use them. 
 
What is one of your go-to nature escape(s)?
I find different kinds of comfort in all types of nature but I find the most sense of calm when I’m near a body of water. There’s nothing I love more than sitting in the sun by the ocean, river, or stream. It relaxes me and clears my head from any anxieties and centers me from whatever else is going on in the world.
 
What advice would you give to someone starting in their artistic journey?
Try to enjoy and learn from the process as much as possible. Have patience and do your best to not get discouraged. Art is so personal and it can be really hard to deal with rejections or comparisons. An important part of my process is taking the time to make things just for myself and only sharing the work I want to, and when I’m ready to. It can be really hard but incredibly rewarding. Always continue to learn and appreciate that every new life experience will manifest itself in your work. 
 
 
Find Emilia’s work at https://www.ehstern.com/ 
All photos by Margrit Wenzel