Deborah Childress, the renowned California-based sculptor and the founder of Blind Spot Mirrors, has always impressed us with her unique artistic vision and creativity. Over the years Deborah has bridged her sculpture with functional craftsmanship and developed a unique line of handcrafted mirrors, decorative panels, and boxes that we proudly feature at Artisan Crafted Home. Deborah’s functional art pieces are created in a unique hand-casting process with one-of-a-kind molds based on real botanical objects. Deborah resides in Marin County, California, with her husband who has taken on a new career as a painter at the age of 83.
We recently had a chance to interview Deborah about her artistic upbringing, her inspirations, and her creative process on a day-to-day basis.
Tell us about your background as an artist. Did you study art professionally?
I was born In Marin County, CA. I studied Sculpture at UC Santa Cruz and graduated with honors. A sculpture has always been the form of art I have engaged in. A little drawing, but no painting. The current sculpture I am working on involves the human figure and frequently uses negative forms.
One of the sculptures by Deborah Childress (additional information upon request)
Did any experiences from your childhood shape your interest in visual arts?
My father was the first staff photographer at Sunset Magazine. As children, my brothers and I were models for him and traveled all over California for magazine stories, as well as the test kitchen (Baked Alaska!). We were always the first on the block to have things like succulents and weird trees like the corkscrew willow. We had furniture made of wooden crates and seed pods decorating the walls. We brought home huge boulders from mountain trips in our Citroen station wagon.
Drop Leaf Mountains by Deborah Childress (additional information upon request)
Fire Arm sculpture by Deborah Childress (additional information upon request)
Does your current home base in California influence your art?
My husband and I have lived on the Greenbrae Boardwalk for about 35 years. The Boardwalk is a unique place built on a tidal creek on the San Francisco Bay near San Quentin. Our house is built on pilings over a salt marsh that is home to a couple of endangered species that we see on occasion. During 7 foot tides and heavy rains, water surrounds everything, including several low-lying houses.
It is hard to understate the beauty and variety of environments in California. My biggest influence has probably been Northern California beaches. I have always been fascinated by the diversity of plant and rock shapes. I love seaweed and tidepools. These textures are integral to both my mirrors and sculpture. I am drawn to the rivulets on the leaves of giant kelp, the holes in the rocks at Bean Hollow beach, the layers of accumulation in a shell fragment.
Beach Winter mirror and decorative box - find out more here
How did you get inspired to start designing and making mirrors? What does your creative process look like on a daily basis?
I began making mirrors over 25 years ago. It seemed to be a way for a sculptor to make a living and continue working with the materials I was familiar with. For a long time, I continued to make and exhibit my sculpture along with making the mirrors. However, over the years the mirrors seem to have superseded the art. Currently, I am trying to separate an area in the studio exclusively for sculpture. My 1500 sq. ft. studio is pretty crowded. I have an assistant who has worked for me for around 15 years. Sometimes it is difficult to make a sculpture (my ‘play time’), which involves sitting and staring into space when she is filling orders (our ‘work time’). My assistant has a 1-month-old baby girl who comes to the studio every day. It is easy to be distracted by Camila who is my surrogate granddaughter.
Frog Pond Bathroom Mirror in a private customer's home (see a similar style here)
Gingko Large Bathroom Mirror (see the size and finish options here)
See our selection of handcrafted mirror frames and decorative boxes by Deborah Childress online at ArtisanCraftedHome.com, and in our flagship store in Langley, WA. Interested in custom work by Deborah? Please contact us today!