PGH Maker Profile: Worker Bird

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Sharing the stories behind the most talented creatives in my hometown of Pittsburgh, PA.

Kim Fox, aka Worker Bird, is one amazing lady who has drive and talent oozing out of every pore. We met back in April and I loved her energy and vibe immediately. We got together one afternoon last month and chatted about the inspiration behind her “tin quilts” and the trajectory her business has taken the past few years. Margaritas were involved as was her adorable Boston Terrier, Harriet, who’s never far from Kim’s hammering.

 

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Kim’s ever-growing collection of tins waiting to be cut up.

Tell us a little bit about how you got your start with Worker Bird.

A few years ago my husband and I took a day-long workshop at the Society for Contemporary Craft with Robert Villamagna, a tin artist from West Virginia. I fell in love with the process that day and it has grown to what it is now.

 

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Tin organized by color and shape.

What’s your favorite part of the process? Your least favorite?

I can honestly say I love every part of the process for very different reasons. Going to estate sales to hunt for tins is a favorite pastime; preparing the wood in my little workshop is fun; digging through the tins while designing the piece is challenging; and tacking in the tiny nails is a mindless task that allows my brain to run wild. And then I’m done. So each stage is something I love.

 

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Finished Crazy Quilted Hearts.

What other makers inspire you most?

The crew that set me on my path – Jeff Matz, Paul Mastriani, and Sarah Collins – at Lure Design in Orlando, Florida. The amazing creative community here in PGH – strawberryluna, Redraven, Commonwealth Press, Alternate Histories, Everyday Balloons, Sapling Press, Moop, etc (damn, Pittsburgh is amazing!). I am surrounded by people chasing their dreams and that is rad. And my husband, Steven Foxbury, is the most supportive, believer-in-me that I could ever hope for. And watching him chase his dreams right now – WOW. I’m pretty in love with life these days.

 

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Kim working on a custom order Pennsylvania map.

 

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Harriet’s bed on Kim’s work table.

Where do you see Worker Bird in 5 years?

Same house. More tins. Making art all the time. I’d be the most fulfilled.

 

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A wall of inspiration in Kim’s office.

What makes having a small business in Pittsburgh so great?

See above re: the community. I can’t say enough how amazing it is to know these people. I have always loved Pittsburgh but the last 18 months have been super special for me. I left my job in Florida and dove headlong into Pittsburgh. And these are the people that caught me.

 

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Lucy Williams

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Intricate collage work is something I have extreme admiration for because I can’t even come close to having the level of patience it requires. Lucy Williams creates her works by emulating everything from Mies van der Rohe to less notable modernist spaces. First she creates a blueprint from a photo, and then working in layers from back to front brings alive in mixed media. Now there’s a book of her work, entitled Lucy Williams, that showcases her large-scale pieces in all their glory.

 

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(via Fast Co. Design)

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D Iris Sigmundsottir

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D Iris Sigmundsottir‘s collage work is inspired by the endless battle that happens between a woman’s mind and body – something I think quite a few of us can relate to. (I know I can.) She cuts and pastes, adds pen and pencil drawings, magazine and book pages, gouache, acrylic, fabric, and everything and anything else necessary to create the final outcome.

 

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(via The Jealous Curator)

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Joe Rudko

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Loving these abstract mixed media pieces by artist Joe Rudko. The cut up packaging and photographs are recognizable for what they originally were, but taken out of context and paired with colored pencil sketches everything works together to create something fresh and new.

 

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Gabriela Ibarra

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You can file these pieces by Gabriela Ibarra in the She Made That How? file. The short answer is that they’re linoleum prints. The long(er) answer is that Ibarra begins the process by layering collaged tissue paper, then arranges each lino-print flower, and finally paints and draws on top of the botanical layers she’s created. The neon end result is utterly fantastic.

 

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(via The Jealous Curator)

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Bryan Ray

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The art of Bryan Ray might surprise you, at least the mediums he uses to create it. What I initially guessed to be textile works are actually acrylic and paper on wood. WHOA. The Portland-based artist creates such movement and momentum in his pieces that your eyes are immediately drawn left to right. The result is a juxtaposition of sorts, creating a feeling of futurism and analog all at once.

 

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Cosmic Nuggets / Maskz

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Cosmic Nuggets’ Maskz illustrations overlay magazine pages and feel decidedly circus-like to me, making them extra perfect for summer. I love the symmetry and the limited palette of red, yellow, and black that give each and every piece an almost sinister feel.

 

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Merve Özaslan / Natural Act

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Merve Özaslan‘s Natural Act collage series shows off city and suburban scenes with portals to the natural world. Özaslan explores the relationship between nature and humanity, in the end reassuring us that each one is a part of the other.

 

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