Question: How did you choose the topic for your research?
Answer: When I began, I had just finished a contemporary art class. I wanted to explore furniture as art for my class paper, but the professor insisted I write about traditional fine arts, like painting and sculpture. Sculpture is the closest fine art to furniture, so I examined how modern sculptors tell stories through dimensional imagery and how we psychologically perceive that communication from the artist. Artists connect us to objects of art through a shared experience, and that common experience often involves a story.
This helped me consider how people interact with objects and artifacts they use in daily life, and how these items might do more than simply offer utilitarian function and visual aesthetics. While fine art primarily serves an aesthetic function, furniture must also be functional. I wondered, “What if furniture motivated us to explore our heritage and learn from allegorical lessons of the past? Could furniture transcend its customary utilitarian and decorative aesthetic roles to help tell stories as well?”
This question became the basis for my studies of Norse mythology, of Viking craft, and of the psychology of artifacts, and from there the thesis took on a life of its own. I studied The Eddas for tales of the Norse gods, and then explored Viking culture, examined Viking art, and reviewed Norse woodworking in my search for creating allegorical furniture. Additionally, I discovered how decoration has been used in the past to relate stories through furniture, so I decided to tell epic Norse sagas through my designs.