From Obsession To Reward: Eny Lee Parker

If one believes in the relationship between medium and message, Brooklyn ceramist and designer Eny Lee Parker’s affinity for the use of clay speaks volumes about the belief in the malleability of creativity and the optimism inherent in every beginning. “When I found clay, something just clicked,” says Parker. “When I started, I was just fine with that … but I improved quickly. Now it’s so therapeutic and when I have time to work with clay it feels like taking a break from work. “

The designer’s collaboration with the earthen raw material began back in 2016 during a stay at Savannah College for Art and Design – first as curiosity, then quickly to an obsession that would soon define her own unique career path – the embodiment of faith: “Sometimes there is all -In no choice, but an obsession. “

The young designer would quickly grab the attention of the design media by conjuring up a collection of ceramic furniture and objects found somewhere between the distant realms of the utopian ecological architecture of the late Italian architect Paolo Soleri and the imaginary, pliable landscape of a Gumby- Animation lamp with coral-like protrusions topped by globe lights, glass tables with hand-thrown terracotta floors, found a series inspired in the 19th century by cellular drawings – all works marked by the subtle traces of the designer’s fingerprints on their surface.

“I’m from an interior design business, and usually you’re dealing with a pretty linear space,” she says. “Floor meets wall, wall meets ceiling, ceiling meets wall again, and wall circles back to the floor. It’s a box. I like to think that I make organic and curvy pieces so that our bodies can relate to something in this room. “

Parker’s affinity for organic forms is reinforced by the tendency to refine pieces with an earthen, neutral palette – the combination that apparently challenges the term furniture must be designed strictly according to the requirements of the production. Instead, the designer’s work appears to be guided by the same intuitive process that drives the architecture of termites or the construction of sand castles, resulting in shapes that feel more naturally formed than powerfully composed.

Today, Parker admits that her comfort with sound put her at a crossroads, and the annoying itch of stagnation drives her to new media and collaborations. “I started playing around with glass and plaster of paris. And because I don’t know much about these materials yet, I feel like I’ve experimented more … nothing in final form, but giving me the opportunity to see how they can be manipulated. “

Although Parker is committed to design in order to achieve its own quality and satisfaction, the desire is always tempered by a sense of responsibility as a company with employees. “I think one of my strengths as a young artist and designer is that I am not married to my job or being stubborn,” says Parker, describing what a creative person wants when it comes to running a business.

Photo: Emmy Su

Desiring new challenges, Parker also recently ventured to partner with print designer Spencer Malinski to design carpets, a partnership made easier by their relationship as best friends and roommates. “During the quarantine we lost our minds a bit – we could only cook so much. [Spencer] is an incredibly talented print designer in the fashion industry and I wanted to bring her into the furniture / interior world so we started this carpet project! I’m fortunate to have really talented people around me, so this collaboration can take place naturally. “

Photo: Emmy Su

Speaking of quarantine, Parker shares how she struggled to find productive outlets during the quarantine, her creative circles, and Clay Play – the best use of oven-baked clay ever possible on an episode of DMTV Milkshake:

Eventually Parker found an employee who is even closer to home: her own mother. The couple worked together during the pandemic to jointly design a collection of ceramic earrings that the daughter could use to give her mother the opportunity to follow her own passions. “After years of non-stop working hard to raise myself, my mom felt a little lost, so I brought my mom into the business,” said Parker. “She worked in the Fashion District in Los Angeles, which, if you know your way, is known for fast fashion. I wanted to introduce them to slow motion – a more creative, fulfilling side to making a product. “

The resulting Artist Line collection of interlocking ceramic rings still retains the tactile characteristics of their maker, and may also silently reveal the deep bond between mother and daughter. “My mother and I immigrated to the United States when we were 13. She worked several jobs raising me, paying taxes, and sending me to college without credit. Now here I am, running a business, contributing to the local New York economy, growing up and what not. So the Artist Line has become a point of sale for them. “

Despite all of these projects that are constantly slacking off and flowing, and as a personality who identifies as a person who “makes a mess for a living and then cleans it up,” Parker seems determined, both as a creative and as an individual continue to do everything. “I know I have to grow a lot. If I’m not entirely satisfied with a piece, it’s okay. It’s a long journey, and everyone has different views and tastes, ”notes Parker.

“Mine is constantly changing and I learned to accept that early on.”

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