Studio Visit: Designer Debra Folz

Studio Visit: Designer Debra Folz

Nick Siemaska
Jul 11, 2011

As of late, I am searching for new, emerging designers of furniture and housewares. My efforts to find new talent can sometimes be exhausting, especially when I'm inundated by a sea of websites and recommendations (readers - if you have recommendations, please inundate me with more!). But when I find design that is fresh, intelligent, and simply catches my eye, my search is absolutely exhilarating and well worth the time.

One of the first designers to have grabbed my attention in such a way was Boston-based designer, Debra Folz.

I first heard of Debra when I was reading a New York Times article on the 2011 International Contemporary Furniture Fair. The images of Folz's work was of her Whole Story photo album, which immediately caught my eye. This photo album is not your normal photo album, namely due to the album's resting position - think soda can, half empty, balancing on the edge of its bottom, except that for these albums the position is far less precarious.

When I went to visit Folz at her studio in Boston's South End, I was eager to find out how Whole Story albums stand in such an unexpected position. Folz explained that the books' covers are made with a durable aluminum in order to retain the shape of the cover by withstanding weight and time. After picking up the album for myself, I noticed that the book's weight was substantial, yet surprisingly light for a cover made out of metal. Each album is hand bound after the metal is shaped, and for an additional cost its spine can be customized with a personal inscription.

In addition to the Whole Story photo albums, Folz works with a number of different mediums to create and amazing array of furniture. From floating shelving to embroidered tables, her designs are truly original and captivating. One of the most interesting pieces was a small bench/table that is made of 100% wax. This particular kind of wax is not the same that make your candles; the wax of this bench is of an industrial kind that has a melting point of 240 degrees. But this bench was created mainly as a sculptural piece, so be careful before sitting - it has an approximate threshold of 150lbs (needless to say I didn't sit on it, but I did stare).

To learn more about Debra Folz and her design, check out her website, stop by her Boston studio on the first Friday of every month at the South End's Open Studios, or make an appointment for all other times. You can also see Folz this September at the 'New England Home's 5 Under 40' award event, celebrating her winning rug design, which will be produced by rug makers Landry & Arcari (check out the last image in this gallery to see how the rug will look!).

Images: Nick Siemaska

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