Meet Our Monthly Maker: Anne Irving
TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF
Hi, my name is Anne Irving and I am an artist at NextFab. I attended the University of the Arts as a Craft and Materials Studies major for two years and fell in love with the program. My focus was on wood and metals, but I still had the opportunity to explore fibers and glass. When the pandemic hit, it became a challenge to virtually learn what I should have been studying hands-on, so I took some time off to work on my own art instead. I’ve really been enjoying this new journey and love making art that people can relate to. Uniqueness in art is important, but universality is what I aim for.
WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY WORKING ON?
Do you remember what it feels like to play with a dollhouse? The practice of playing with dolls as a child gives you lots of mental space and creativity. I wanted to replicate this therapeutic sensation for adults. I’ve been studying the details of old Victorian houses and recreating them in sheet metal on a small scale. Currently, I’m working on a little brass house that can be assembled and disassembled like a puzzle. This little tactile object and the act of building and rebuilding encourage the practice of spending time with yourself to repair a mental infrastructure.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
I like things that hold sentimental value, like trinkets for example. That emotional connection between humans and objects is what I seek to create. I remember the first time I sat down at the soldering bench after several months of not having access to a studio. I heated some small pieces of metal, watched the solder flow between them, and thought to myself, “This is what I’m supposed to be doing.”
WHAT’S NEXTFAB’S ROLE IN YOUR STORY?
Dropping out of school was a really hard choice to make, but finding new ways to learn at NextFab really brightened my experience. On the weekdays, I either work with Vanshee Builds in fabricating interiors for mobile living vans or spend my time in the woodshop. On Sundays, I get to play around in the jewelry shop. I’ve recently learned how to use the Orion Micro Arc Welder, which is such a fun piece of machinery. This is what I love about NextFab. From the moment I step into the makerspace until the moment I leave, I have so many opportunities to learn. It is such an amazing community and I’m really very grateful to have found it.
DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR ASPIRING MAKERS?
With the fast-paced world around you, it is hard to find time to be creative and to do the things you love. This has taught me to be intentional with my time. One of my favorite ways to be intentional is by writing a to-do list and start accomplishing tasks one by one!
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I am still in the process of figuring out where I am going next. In the meantime, I hope for things to go back to normal soon so I can resume my hands-on training at school. Right now, I’m just opening myself up to new opportunities and exploring everything I can. I’m very fortunate to still be able to learn new things at NextFab and keep developing skills despite the crisis.