Hi. This is Chris, and I’m going to get personal for just a moment.
Pia Sjölin was my first interview, and even now, just over seven years later, I think it is still my favorite. She was so nice and simply let me fumble my way through the whole process. Also, Pia has had such a diverse art career and is so full of positive outlook on both her successes and her failures, that it is almost impossible to not fall at least a little bit in love with her.
Pia is a Swedish-American designer and has been an independent artist since 1974. Up to the point of this interview, Pia has tried her hand at such disciplines as glass blowing, fabric and textile design, fashion design, mural and faux painting, importing, exporting, and resale, all of which she has been able to turn into viable businesses and make a living at. All of this while raising and home schooling her two children.
At the time of this interview, Pia was bringing all of these talents and disciplines together as she began her next project. By trying to fill the need of interior designers for matching fabrics, wall papers, glass and other home decor items by creating entire sets based on the same patterns and looks, she pushed all of her experience and skills to new horizons. Now, seven years later, it seems that this venture did not go over the way she had hoped, but she learned a lot from it and has continued to evolve her career.
Since this interview, she has opened and closed another shop, this time in the new Shoppes At Farmington Valley. Currently, she is hopping back and forth between the U.S. and Sweden, opening art shows and constantly on the move.
Note: for this interview, I went in with a portable digital recorder and a pair of lapel mics. This worked out very well, overall, with the small exception of Pia fidgeting with her sweater a little bit at the beginning which created some scratching noises. When I pointed it out to her, she promptly stopped and all was well. In person interviews are definitely the way to go when you can do it.