Q: How did you figure out you wanted to make wire sculptures?
Wire has always been a medium that makes sense to me. I thinks it’s an extension of line drawing, so finding the simplest lines to develop the character of animals is a fun challenge. It’s also a very meditative medium for me, usually I liken it to hardcore knitting.
Q: When did you make your first one?
The very first animal I ever made was a tiny sheep. About 4 years ago I was playing with some wire I had and made this little sheep head that looked like it would be mounted. My husband saw it and loved it, so he made a little shield out of a cedar shingle. We mounted it to the shingle with tiny screws and wire taxidermy was born. It’s the only animal that will never get a name and never be sold.
Q: You're a graphic designer by trade, right? What made you switch careers? Do you do some of both?
Yes, my background is in graphic design, and it has been an indispensable skill with owning a business. Now I have the luxury of doing a little bit of everything. When I am not making wire taxidermy, I paint signs, do lettering and chalkboards, murals, custom illustrations, and still do a little freelance work. I LOVE doing all the things. People always seem to say that a business needs to specialize to be successful, but frankly keeping my hands dirty and a steady stream of new creative challenges makes me happy and excited to work each day.
Q: Where do you get the inspiration for your animals - how do you decide what animal to do next?
Ha, I’m an animal geek that doesn’t have a scientific brain. Nature is just so incredibly diverse and interesting, how can it not be inspiring? I was that kid who got my mom to buy nature documentaries on VHS and watch them till I knew it forward and backward.
Picking animals has evolved a little over the past few years with my ability to sculpt them. Everything used to be kind of straight forward neck mount animals (deer and antelope, etc.) which I still do, they have just become more elegant. Lately I have really been enjoying sea creatures and birds. Both have really lovely sweeping lines that insinuate movement and life. I have also been playing with mounts quite a bit more, adding painted backgrounds and having animals break out of boxes into negative space.
Over the past few years I have been lucky enough to work with Charleston Woodworks and Sawdust Wood Co. to use reclaimed wood, so it gives me a really beautiful spectrum of mounts and sometimes a piece of wood will dictate the animals. An example might be a piece of cypress has a curly texture and beautiful knots that look like water would be the perfect place for a wading bird.
Q: You're a native of Charleston - what was it like growing up here?
I love Charleston, and I was lucky enough to grow up at a time where it still had some of it’s small town charm and now have been able to watch it grow into a thriving city with diverse arts and food and entertainment. I grew up mostly in Summerville and Mount Pleasant when kids on a bike could have the run of town until sundown. Want to go surfing? Bike to the beach. Go to a friends house? Ride a few miles down Rifle Range. Now it sounds like some late 80’s nostalgia flick, but it was great to grow up here.
Also, I went to Academic Magnet which was an amazing experience, being a small and difficult school really bonded the students. There are still teachers and mentors I stay in touch with and friends that will be with me for life
Q: What does a typical day look like for you?
It varies so much. They all start with coffee and puppy snuggles. Usually I try to have a list made the previous night of priority projects and goals for the next day and will work from that for the day. Somedays it will be creating elevations for sign mockups and others will be sketching t-shirt lettering and show applications. When there are art shows or commissions work going out it’s full on production mode twisting a ton of animals, prepping mounts, then getting the mounted while binging on podcasts (SSDGM!). There’s also a lot of traveling for art festivals and shows which always keeps things interesting.
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Do yourself a favor and follow Alison on Instagram @alisonbrynnross . Also, if we didn't love you we wouldn't say this...but...Alison's work is well priced and it's going to fly out of the gallery for holiday gifts. Come get first pick RIGHT NOW before the rest of the world gets the spirit. You're welcome. And we do love you - come say hey.