featuring: Erin Considine
photographer: Valeda Beach Stull
interview: Alexa Wilding

Margaretville, NY
July 2021

Where are you from and where do you currently reside?
Born in St. Louis, raised in Maryland. Currently located in Margaretville, NY.

Please describe who you are and what you do?
I am a metalsmith and fiber artist. In the past I have worked with mediums in conjunction, but in the last few years they have been separate practices.

What are you working on, interested in at the moment?
Working with iron, wood, and interior spaces. 

When do you feel most whole?  
When I’m able to have a long meandering dinner with friends, making jokes and enjoying each other’s company. It’s a precious thing.

How do you find your center when you've spiraled out?
Rising early and getting out for a walk with my dog, Vinni, preferably in the forest. 

Describe a time you came full circle, closed the circle, began again.
I guess you could say my career is a series of circles. I started working for an artist, I stopped, I started a brand, stopped, and now I work for an artist again. I’m very lucky to have been able to make a living creating things, whether it was for credit or not. Having credit for my work used to mean more to me than it does now. Letting that go has been liberating, it has allowed me to approach the things I do now with a detachment from the market and allowed more play. I might return to creating things under my own moniker, but now I have a greater understanding of what that actually entails.

Is there an interest or desire you’ve been circling around but have yet to explore?
I would love to learn how to process local bast fibers. A friend showed me how to process milkweed, but there’s many other fibrous plants native to this area to investigate.

Which of Nature’s cycles – the moon, seasons, harvest – do you feel most aligned with and why?
Living upstate has allowed me to dig into each season in a real way that I had longed for in the city. Access to hiking and cross country ski trails that used to be hours away are now outside my doorstep. So it’s hard to choose just one cycle, it’s a continuous cycle that is just phenomenal to behold and really participate in.

Describe the circles you move in, and what community looks like to you?
Over the last year, like many people, my social circles shifted, but in that process have become wider and more varied. My life in Brooklyn over thirteen years was heavily focused around people that were in fashion, textiles, jewelry, music, and other creative industries. While I lived in the same neighborhood that whole time, there was a lot of transience and change happening so I never felt tethered to the neighborhood.

With our relocation upstate, friends suddenly spread out all over the country, and social circles being relegated to the digital sphere, I found myself seeking a way to engage with the new place I was living in a meaningful way, besides the weekly trips to the grocery store. So I began volunteering at the Margaretville Hospital Auxiliary Thrift Shop— it’s the town clubhouse, a non-profit run entirely by volunteers, all proceeds go to the local hospital. It’s been a truly soul fortifying experience, getting to know the other volunteers and customers, and using my creative and organizational energy towards something that is completely separate from work and my own agenda.

What does sustainability mean to you in your work and life?
There are a lot of answers running through my head, this is a bit of a big, overwhelming question. My initial thought does not necessarily have to do with consumerism. Sustainability at this moment for me revolves around the domestic sphere, and being rooted in a place, engaging with that place and the network of it. Sometimes that means foraging for mushrooms and giving them to my neighbors, composting, or growing tomatoes in our all too short glorious summer. Hopefully that will continue to develop into the future.

What is your favorite circular form or symbol, and why is it meaningful to you and your work?
Lately, the labyrinth/maze form has been a theme. There is a maze here in our area on private land, out of reach to me, but it held a place in my imagination with the wall of the maze peeking up over the brush during winter, and only visible from above via satellite images. Coincidentally, one of the first mushrooms I was able to identify, Daedaleopsis Confragosa (named after the maze builder of myth, Daedalus), is quite prolific in the Catskills. I love coincidences like this and the interplay between the natural and built world. In my work, I identify with the way the labyrinth is both circular and linear, like bringing sensuous hand forged curves in combination with the rigidity of metal.

Describe a daily task in the studio – a chore, a process or technique – that never fails to amaze you.
Drawing wire from scrap. It’s possibly one of my favorite methods of reusing material and it’s immensely satisfying. The process entails melting down scrap or casting grain and pouring it into an ingot, which is then cooled, filed down, and then run through a rolling mill, between two steel rollers with ridges (think, pasta maker) to the desired thickness.

Erin is 5.7” tall and wears the MOON COAT in classic
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