In the little over a year that Elyse Graham has had her own studio, the L.A.-based artist quickly garnered attention for her strikingly original work. Trained as a sculptor, Graham had been creating jewelry as small scale models of her larger sculptural pieces for nearly a decade.
Her foray into designing objects for the home began with Geodes, the first of her "Breath" pieces she forms around tiny clusters of air held by balloons, then coats with layers upon layers of resin. "The idea that these small sculptures could fit on a tabletop or shelf got me thinking about designing for interiors," Graham recalls. "It's really pleasurable to think of people having my work in their homes and not just in a gallery."
Graham then embarked on creating larger, and functional, works inside balloons. "Balloons are a really simple form, but they are also very active and explosive and unpredictable," she says. For her new series of vases—each handmade and one-of-a-kind—she swirls plaster within completely inflated balloons to form eggshell-thin molds. "This is my first time working with plaster," she admits. "But I like to explore and challenge materials; Plaster is not generally used in such a thin way." Around the opening of the vase, Graham drips resin—another unusual use of material—to create the appearance of a small splash of water frozen in time. That same dripped resin edge detail frames stunning mirrors and trays, and forms delicate bracelets—Graham continues to work on her jewelry line.
As much as Graham enjoys manipulating materials to make something special and different, her pieces are equally striking for their saturated colors and muted fluorescents. "My first experience working with resins, I had an almost childlike excitement with color, especially deciding what colors I enjoyed seeing next to each other," she explains. "For instance, neon green really pops next to pastel pink."
As Graham continues to experiment, she also continues to expand on her range of functional objects, collaborating with her husband on a new series of lighting. According to the artist, "I think that's the perfect next step for me.”