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Talking with Jewelry Designers Emily Rogstad and Bryan Parnham

Talking with Jewelry Designers Emily Rogstad and Bryan Parnham - The Bright Angle


The Design Residency program was established to give emerging designers and makers an opportunity to expand and refine their practice in a production setting. We often bring in artists who work in non-clay mediums to see how they can contribute to handmade porcelain design. We had a conversation with recent Design Residents, Emily Rogstad and Bryan Parnham, to learn more about their processes and experiences here at The Bright Angle. We are excited to share their collections with you!


Emily Rogstad

What made you decide to become an artist?

My father is a woodworker, so I grew up seeing what it’s like to make your living making things and I loved it. I knew from a young age that I enjoyed working with my hands, and started beading and doing small local craft shows in around age 10. When I took my first metals class in highschool I was hooked, and even though I thought about other careers, becoming a jeweler felt almost inevitable.

Do you work with other media?

Yes! I’m educated as a jeweler. In the work that I usually make I mostly use silver and different colored plastics. I also occasionally work with wood, fabric, and I keep a regular drawing practice.

What are some inspirations or influences in your practice?

Repetition, repetition, repetition. Most of my work involves making multiples of a shape or technique. I like to draw the structures around me, interpreting a shape again and again, like a game of telephone, until there is just a hint of where it came from. Layering multiple shapes and materials shifts perspective.


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What brought you to The Bright Angle? What was your interest in this residency program?

I was so excited when Nick asked me if I was interested in doing the residency at the Bright Angle. Clay is not in my wheelhouse whatsoever, so I was looking forward to trying something new! I think that some of the best strokes of inspiration come when you don’t have any expectations.

Can you share the best piece of advice you have gotten as an artist?

The absolute best piece of advice my undergrad professor imparted was: Work makes work. You’ve got to really put in the time, and put in the work if you want to make good work.

How do you want someone to feel while using your work?

I want my work to make someone feel bold and playful and thoughtful. That’s my goal at least, I think I’m still working towards it.

What was your favorite find in Asheville during your residency?

Frostbite Ice Cream has the best soft serve ever! You should probably go get some.

What’s your favorite part of the process?

In my personal studio I spend a lot of time making hundreds of simple shapes out of silver wire. Once I have a nice pile of them on my bench I get to play. Stacking, layering, building up all the individuals into a new whole. There is a meditative quality to this process for me. It’s both super relaxing and makes my brain buzz with ideas.

What’s your favorite part of the movie Ghost?

I’ve only seen Ghost, once, as a tiny child, and the only part that stuck in my mind is that sexy clay scene - of course!

How do you view your role in the ceramics field?

A consumer! I love collecting work from different ceramicists and artists, and having cupboards full of handmade work.

Where do you want to travel?

Really anywhere would be great, but I have always wanted to go to Norway & Finland. They’re the home countries of my great-grandparents before they moved to Vermont, and I have distant relatives there still.

What keeps you going?

Besides my own personal drive to make, my parents. They have supported me in so many ways as I navigate this non-traditional career path and I really want to make them proud.

Favorite book in the world - go!

I am such a nerd for the Harry Potter series…. But I also like lots of other novels; We, the Drowned, The Handmaid’s Tale, American Gods, The Dark Tower Series, The Count of Monte Cristo. Audiobooks are 90% what I listen to in the studio so I get through a lot of books.

Bryan Parnham

The Bright Angle: Tell me more about what you made during your residency. What did you make? Why did you make it? What was your process?

Parnham: Going into this residency I knew that I wanted to translate the vocabulary of my silversmithing into porcelain. I had wanted to explore these textures in other materials. The Bright Angle was a good way to play around with this idea.

I made a number of slip cast cups that sport geometric, textured patterns. Those patterns were originally etched into metal plates. In The Bright Angle studio, we cast plaster onto them to make modular parts that would constitute the mold.

Do you have a favorite memory from your residency?

Nick and I got to goof around alot. It’s the kind of goofing around that produces creative solutions and new ideas neither of us might have thought of otherwise.

You mentioned metal plates. What do you normally make with that?

Yup! Most of what I make is jewelry.

handmade designer jewelry metal silver silversmith precious

What made you decide to become an artist?

Woof, loaded question. It's sort of just what happened. I think I'm still in the process of becoming one.

So you don't feel totally there yet. What is the best advice you've gotten on this journey? And what are your influences?

Baldessari said talent is cheap. I like that. As for my influences, all my work has roots in geometry. Ol’ dusty geometry of Euclid of Alexandria.

How do you want someone to feel while using your work?


So you were in Asheville for a while during the residency. What was your favorite find during your stay?

The lovely folks at The Bright Angle of course!

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What’s your favorite part of the process? Is there a step that you think is the most self-revealing?

The initial idea. I also like the surprise you get if something comes out different that you planned. But the most revealing part of my process would be the smoke breaks!

Do you feel as though you play a specific role in the ceramics field?

House Guest. Or Spectator.

Okay so how about some fun questions. Where do you want to travel?

New Zealand and Australia.

What keeps you going?

Coffee and the good people around me.