Ashley Lloyd is not your average milliner, not by a long shot. Drawing inspiration from reliquary collections she discovered while studying in Italy, she couples delicate materials like flowers and feathers with macabre elements such as insects and animal skulls. Her avant-garde headpieces are quite spectacular, and her workspace is a fantastic extension of her creations. Continue reading for a glimpse into the surreal world of Ashley Lloyd.
1. Design*Sponge: What is in your toolbox?
Ashley Lloyd: I always have two glue guns — a cordless one and a mini one. Also a steamer I found in the trash, my MacBook, gold scissors from Chinatown, wire cutters, latex gloves for handling questionable items, Krylon clear spray to aid in preservation, needle-nose pliers, Ziploc bags and recycled jars for storing all of my materials, head blocks, hat felt, deer hooves, bear teeth, jute, chicken wire and sewing needles. I think I’ll stop there, as this could go on for days.
2. Design*Sponge: Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel ______.”
Read the rest of the interview after the jump…
3. Design*Sponge: What books are on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?
Ashley Lloyd: I recently saw the Werner Herzog film Cave of Forgotten Dreams (in 3d) and walked out feeling more inspired than ever. It felt like going to church minus the preaching. Ever since, I’ve had a hard time putting down Gardner’s Art through the Ages. It’s one school textbook I won’t be getting rid of.
4. Design*Sponge: How do you keep yourself organized? Time management is often one of the biggest obstacles for creative minds. Do you have an agenda book, and do you make to-do lists?
Ashley Lloyd: I have too many to-do lists to keep track of, scribbled messily on whatever was accessible to me at the moment . . . paper scraps, napkins, gum wrappers. I also use this wonderful free app — Evernote. It allows me to keep all my research and images grouped together as opposed to moving them into different folders where they eventually get lost. It’s stored online, so I can view my notes anywhere I can get Internet or cell service.
5. Design*Sponge: If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be and why?
Photo credit: Manolo Ceron
Ashley Lloyd: Time travel because I am most inspired by history and times past. The first place I’d go would be Paris in the 20s (loved the Woody Allen film!), then I’d make a stop in the 80s, and then last but not least, the Victorian Era.
6. Design*Sponge: What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist/designer?
Ashley Lloyd: I often feel anxious that I’m stagnant and not growing as a designer or artist. Living in the city doesn’t help. Everything and everyone moves so quickly. A friend once told me that what she does to calm the feeling is to look back to just the last two weeks and list the things that have happened (contacts made, supplies found, hats planned). I can’t think of an occasion I’ve done this and it hasn’t helped. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and this exercise helps me to keep that in perspective.
Advice I would give young designers: Protect yourself. Make contracts/agreements for everything up front. Even when you think it’s unnecessary. Clarity never hurt anyone.
7. Design*Sponge: How do you combat creative blocks?
Photo credit: Manolo Ceron
Ashley Lloyd: I do one of two things:
a. I make lists of items I would like to add to my collections and seek them out. In the search, I’m bound to find something that captivates me and pushes me out of the block.
b. Walk away.
8. Design*Sponge: Where do you like to shop for inspiration?
- ffffound.com — This website is wonderful! You find an image you like, and then the site recommends more based on your preferences and which photos you click on. I’m so impressed with the site’s fluidity and its uncanny ability to read my mind.
- Google Image Search
- The Met’s Ancient Art wings. Tourists rarely venture there, and it’s almost always empty and so quiet. You can think there.
- Ebay, I have a serious addiction.
9. Design*Sponge: If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsperson, whose would it be and why?
Ashley Lloyd: The American photographer Joel Peter Witkin. I’m not sure one could find more grotesque yet beautiful photographs. I can’t begin to imagine what his studio must look like.
Photo credit: Ned & Aya Rosen
10. Design*Sponge: If you could make a master mix-tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?
“When I was Young,” Fever Ray
“Take Me Out,” Franz Ferdinand
“Drain the Blood,” The Distillers
“Short Skirt, Long Jacket,” Cake
“Dog Days are Over,” Florence + The Machine
“Home,” Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros
“Age of Consent,” New Order
“Inch of Dust,” Future Islands
“Pull My Heart Away,” Jack Peñate