3 Questions

3 Questions with Iris Eichenberg


Artist Iris Eichenberg on editing, trusting the process, and making no excuses.

3 QUESTIONS is series of brief, three-question interviews with PNCA’s visiting artists and lecturers. Each year, PNCA attracts innovative, thoughtful, and creative makers and thinkers who share our belief in the transformative power of creativity. In three short answers to three short questions, these artists offer perspectives on career, motivation, and transformation. When available, we include links to audio recordings, transcripts, slideshows, or video.

PNCA’s MFA in Applied Craft and Design and OCAC’s Metals Department welcome Iris Eichenberg as part of the 2012-2013 Graduate Visiting Artist Lecture Series.

“Do not wait for the right moment or the right circumstances.
If you have excuses for not making, look for a different job.”


Photo via the Cranbrook Metalsmithing Department.

What advice would you offer current students about to embark on a career in the arts?

Never ask how. That is the biggest hindrance to doing it. If you ask yourself that question, you are in doubt.

Do not wait for the right moment or the right circumstances. If you have excuses for not making, look for a different job.

Make a lot and edit rather than thinking about making the right one in the first place. Learn from what you have done before and hope to never make the perfect piece, but strive for it.

How do you maintain your creative practice? What keeps you motivated and engaged?

I do not have the time to wonder about that. Talk to eight students a day and all you want to do is run into your studio and make. I allow for black holes and trust that there is always an end to them… they exist for a good reason.

Could you describe a moment or experience that profoundly changed the nature of your work?

Well, it is more the opposite. I always thought that my work changed constantly. Or rather, I thought that every body of work was so different from the work done before. That was, until I had all my work produced in fifteen years together and painfully had to admit that I am doing the same work again and again. It took a few months to find peace with that and to make new work accepting that I would repeat myself or better revisit these good old friends.

Ever since I figured out that I do not need to hold a point of view or an opinion forever, I have had so much more fun, poking fun at things I used to believe religiously. It allows also for the space to be surprised about my own work.

IRIS EICHENBERG is Artist-in-Residence and Head of Metalsmithing at Cranbrook, and has worked as an independent artist and art educator, a part-time curator, and co-organizer of art-related events. She has given numerous workshops in Europe, Asia, Africa, and North America. She has received numerous grants, awards, and residencies in Europe and North America. Eichenberg’s work can be found in museums in Europe and the US, including the Stedelijk Museum, and the Fondation National d’Art Contemporain.

— Posted on 03/15 at 11:54 AM

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