2019/20 Distinguished Artist Series Artist
When interacting with artist Annie Evelyn's furniture, expect the unexpected. Joy and laughter are central to her aesthetic, steering her towards unorthodox materials and designs. You might encounter a wavy wooden chair topped with glass vials to hold individual fresh flowers. Or, a pair of motorized coin-operated tables that cause objects to skitter off and crash. Seats made of concrete or aluminum, seemingly rigid materials, are cleverly tessellated to provide flexible seating that conforms comfortably to the body. Evelyn's work is lightened by humor but grounded in impeccable craftsmanship, making for a joyous and satisfying interaction with each piece.
From 2014-2017 Evelyn was an artist in residence at the Penland School of Craft in North Carolina and in 2016 was awarded The John D. Mineck Furniture Fellowship. During her first year, she was featured on the front cover of American Craft Magazine and included in an article titled Elements of Surprise featuring "Fifteen fresh pieces by furniture innovators from coast to coast."
She received both her BFA and MFA from Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). Evelyn has taught at RISD, Parsons - The New School, Anderson Ranch, Haystack Mountain School, Penland School of Craft, and others. Her work has been featured on the cover of American Craft Magazine and published in Laura Housely’s book, The Independent Design Guide. She has been awarded Windgate Furniture residencies at the Indiana University of Pennsylvania (2011), the University of Wisconsin-Madison (2018), and San Diego State University (upcoming-2020).
In 2017, Evelyn had a solo exhibition titled Annie Evelyn: Multiple Impressions at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft (HCCC) (pictured at top) that was covered by JRA member and writer Diane Charnov in the 2017 Winter issue of theJRA Craft Quarterly along with her collaboration with partner Shae Bishop.
HCCC Curator, Kathryn Hall, explains her appreciation for Evelyn and her work:
“At first, I was struck by the beauty of Annie’s patterned upholstery. Whether she is working with the smooth contours of river rocks, spotlighting the natural grooves embedded within tree bark, or fashioning geometric compositions from aluminum, her use of unexpected materials stirs one’s curiosity about the construction of her pieces. After getting to know Annie and visiting her studio, I began to see the parallels between her work and her charming humor and caring personality. While her ingenuity and attention to detail shine through her pieces, her furniture is not meant to be appreciated as delicate eye candy, but rather it begs to be sat upon and enjoyed.”
Evelyn continues to explore new ideas, often working on multiple projects simultaneously and sometimes collaborating with other artists. She was a finalist for the Burke Prize for contemporary craft in 2018, where her work was included in an exhibition at the Museum of Art and Design (MAD). Currently, Evelyn is the Wornick Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Furniture Department of California College of the Arts.
She recently took part in our Distinguished Artist Series featuring a Saturday Workshop and Sunday Lecture. Highlights were captured in our short video.