Ashley Jameson Eriksmoen was born and raised in Southern California. Her undergraduate studies cummulated in a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology, and several years as a practicing engineering geologist followed. Moving from rocks to timber, she studied fine woodworking at the College of the Redwoods before earning her M.F.A. in Furniture Design at Rhode Island School of Design. In 2006, she received the Norwegian Marshall Fund Grant to research traditional woodworking methods in Norway. Eriksmoen has taught design/woodworking at California College of the Arts, College of the Redwoods, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Penland School of Craft. From 2002 until 2011, she designed and built sculptural furniture in her studio in Oakland, California. In 2012, Eriksmoen moved to Canberra, Australia to be Head of Furniture at the Australian National University School of Art & Design, where she continues her teaching, Practice-led Research, and exhibiting internationally.
Areas of expertise
- Visual Arts And Crafts
- Other Built Environment And Design
Critical design; environmental ethics; consumerism/waste/environment/natural resources, and sustainability addressed through the practice of craft; furniture design and construction; applications and appropriations of woodworking technologies (hand, conventional, digital); gesture and sentient connection conveyed by inanimate objects.
For two decades, her practice has been centred on the gaps, tensions, and overlaps between manmade and natural environments, the domains of that which was built versus that which has grown. Her conceptual concerns arise from existential questions regarding humans’ capacity and need to feel connected to their environments, be it their living room or their planet. American novelist Toni Morrison once posed the question, "How do we meet the world and connect to our personal spaces?" And she would add, “How do we take care of each other and the world if we don’t first feel connected?”
Her work looks at the connection between people and the world mediated through relationships to objects, and how objects can bridge the divide; She combines and re-presents familiar objects and creatures to make those links. Many of her works utilize devices such as slight asymmetry and visual tension to imply animate posture and gesture in furniture forms. Her work also addresses issues of sustainability, natural resources, consumerism, and waste, and most recently the inherent violence that arises from delineation and desensitization regarding the world and others. Of late, her material and process choices have further referenced the embedded life-cycles of objects, appropriating found shapes of salvaged furniture to return discarded artefacts of consumerism to a neo-natural state. She is interested in re-wilding the modernist interior, challenging Cartesian notions of order, utility, and the planned universe.