We met Britta Ambauen at a fair in our town selling her beautiful jewelry. I loved her stuff instantly and knew she should be featured on our blog. There is currently a small box tucked away in our room with a necklace we bought from her, just waiting to be opened on my birthday. (Yes, I know what I’m getting and I am still excited. Maybe even more so. I really want to wear it.) 🙂 She is friendly and beautiful and after reading her answers I think I would like to hang out with her sometime. And you probably will too. 🙂
PQ: Describe your approach to your art. Britta: I feel the most successful works of art come from identifying a feeling or idea that is universal, then capturing it in a way that allows people to acknowledge something that is already within themselves. For example, many of Edward Hopper’s paintings connect me with the feeling of being alone and quiet and melancholy, but not in a dark way. He shows people who are solitary and therefore exposed and honest because there is nobody around to impress. Anyone can relate to that feeling. Art that pulls something simple from the vastness of human experience and makes it accessible is interesting to me. So, as an artist, I try to look for inspiration very close to home, close to hand, or from right inside my thoughts.
PQ: Why do you love art/design? Britta: I love art for about the same reasons I love eating.
PQ: What does it mean to you when you see people wearing your art? Britta: My little heart just flutters with flattery. It tells me that someone has connected with my piece of artwork and chosen it to express herself to the world.
PQ: Where are you most inspired? Britta: Floating on my back in big bodies of water where I can’t see the shore in my peripheral vision. Just buoyancy and endlessness.
PQ: What is your artistic good luck charm? Britta: My dog Bodie. She hangs out by my feet all day and doesn’t take anything too seriously. I can always snuggle up with her on her dirty, furry dog pillow if I need a little break from work.
PQ: What natural gift would you most like to possess that you don’t already? Britta: The ability to sing and play and instrument at the same time. I can’t do either one and it looks so DAMN fun when I see others doing it!
PQ: What is your motto? Britta: Keep it simple, Stupid.
PQ: What advice would you give to a young person who dreams about doing what you do? Britta: Get excited about the business of art. It can be just as creative and fun as making that art itself if you embrace it.
PQ: What is your biggest success? Britta: I am, right now, supporting myself as an ARTIST! I am so proud of that.
PQ: What is your biggest regret? Britta: All the times I’ve not said things I wanted to say to people for fear of hurting someone or embarrassing myself, or any number of excuses. I wish I spoke more freely.
PQ: What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Britta: Feeling “stuck” in one’s life and not having the courage or means to make a change.
PQ: What is your dream of happiness? Britta: I am most happy when I’m making things with my hands: dinner, furniture, clothes, paintings, jewelry, jam… I like to figure out how to do it a little differently and make it by hand. SO! It’s pretty much what I’m doing.
PQ: What is the one physical object you currently desire? Britta: A letter press.
PQ: What is one emotional thing you currently desire? Britta: Childlike jubilation.
PQ: Whose work, other than your own, are you most excited about right now? Britta: Jeff Rogers (my boyfriend). He’s almost done building me the most amazing jewelry bench ever created. It’s got a crazy heavy hardwood top, and two bays of handcrafted wooden drawers. Perfect balance of beautiful details and functional sturdiness.
PQ: What are you currently reading? Britta: Bon Appétit… I get a bit giddy when it arrives.
PQ: What are you currently listening to? Britta: Madeleine Peyroux. She lets me imagine I live in Paris and I’m going to walk to the boulangerie later on to carry home a fresh baguette.
PQ: Who is your favorite painter/artist? Britta: Chuck Close. I saw his giant portrait paintings at the Seattle Art Museum when I was about 12 or 13. It was the first time I remember seeing artwork that truly blew me away.
PQ: Who is your favorite musician? Britta: Aw geez. This question always feels like a test of “coolness.” I’ve never been one to know the hottest obscure bands and musicians. I love music, but I’m more of a Pandora girl… I like to turn it on, let it run, and get lost in my work.
PQ: Who is your favorite writer? Britta: Jeanette Winterson.
PQ: Who is your favorite poet? Britta: J. Michael Martinez.
PQ: Who are your favorite heroes/heroines in fiction? (t.v., movies, or books) Britta: Wesley and Princess Buttercup
PQ: Who are your favorite heroes/heroines in real life? Britta: My family.
PQ: What do you most value in your friends? Britta: I like friends who ask the questions I avoid.
PQ: What are your greatest strengths? Britta: Resourcefulness. I’m good at figuring out what it will take to get the job done and following through. Also, I’m physically strong. Want to arm wrestle?
PQ: To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Britta: I let myself get stressy and worried about things I can’t control.
PQ: What is your favorite virtue? Britta: Integrity.
PQ: What is your favorite vice? Britta: Recklessness… now and again it’s nice to not be so careful. Caution to the wind.
PQ: What, to your mind, would be the greatest of misfortunes? Britta: The loss of a child.
PQ: What would be the happiest of good fortunes? Britta: Good health for all the people I love.
PQ: What is your favorite color? Britta: Lately, it’s been robin’s egg blue.
PQ: What is your favorite hot beverage? Britta: Earl Grey with plenty of honey and cream.
PQ: What is your favorite item of clothing? Britta: A pair of Frye boots that I got six years ago and have worn heavily every since. They have deep creases and a great patina and they’ve been resoled twice. I’ll bet there’s another six years in them still.
PQ: What is art? Britta: Doing your human thing.