A Crafty Questionnaire: Luise Stromberg

Luise Stromberg, the hole-poking creative mind behind warpeDesign has always loved making "stuff." She doodled her way through high school, took every art course she could, and eventually ended up at the Rhode Island School of Design where she became fascinated with textile design. It was a moment, Luise says, where her creative soul found its home making beauty with a function.

And yet there was the continual frustration of being one step away from the process of creating. She was working with textile mills and distributors to create fabrics -- from image to weave construction to color -- but she was no longer elbow-deep, working with raw materials. So Luise started hand-making, cutting, weaving, gluing and poking holes in cards.

Utilizing plain white cardstock as her fabric, she applies her interest in form and function to a line of cards that is traditionally tactile and modern at the same time. Broadening her vision, Luis' has begun designing lampshades and tealight covers. The results -- intricate plays with light and dimension -- are riveting. To see her one-of-a-kind designs in person, check out warpeDesign at the {NewNew} Treasure Chest on Governor's Island every weekend this summer.

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Walking around some little Tuscan city in the spring sunshine with a gelato in hand, seeing ancient ruins, knowing there will be fabulous pasta for dinner.

What is your greatest fear?
Losing my hands or my eyesight

Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Urk.... none. They're famous. I'm not.

Which living person do you most admire?
I've been a big fan of Hella Jongerius ever since I saw her Repeat Collection for Maharam in 2002. She has a wonderful way of getting to the essence of an idea... and then turning it upside down or inside out. She does great designs that are both relevant AND fun.

Do you have a theme song, and what is it?
Not usually. But this winter I had Pandora set to Gwen Stefani radio and I just fell in love with Wind It Up and would chuckle maniacally whenever the Sound of Music yodeling came on.

What is the trait you most like in yourself?
My honor system. It's old fashioned. I treat people well because that's how it should be done. I don't do things with apron strings. I just hope that by being nice to someone -- holding a door, lending a hand, etc -- I've made them feel good/better. Maybe they'll pass that on to someone else. When I fail (and I have bad days), it sticks with me for a while.

What is the trait you most like in others?
Intelligence, and the joy of using it. I love people who like to think, learn, and discuss it all -- without their egos being attached.

What is your greatest extravagance?
It used to be shoes, boots especially. But with "budget cuts," I'd say it's now food. I love good food, be it an excellent burger or homemade pasta or fancy cheese or wine....

When and where were you happiest?
I think I am now. Life is never perfect, but I love who I am now, the people in my life, what I'm doing. I am enjoying the flow without worrying about tomorrow.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
It would be nice if I was a few inches taller.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Getting my finances in order so I could by my apartment 10 years ago at the age of 28. I will never forget the looks from all the realtors. They kept looking behind me for "the man" -- boyfriend or daddy -- who was going to back me up.

If you were to be reincarnated as a person, animal, or thing, what do you think you would be?
A house cat. After seeing the sweet life I've given my pet.

What is your most treasured possession?
I'm not a sentimental person. I could walk away from all of it easily. But if there was a fire in my apartment I'd grab my cat first.

Which talent or skill would you most like to have?
Public speaking. I think the ability to present yourself to a large crowd, and the enjoyment of it, is a very powerful tool.

Who are your heroes in real life?
Anyone I meet who is an entrepreneur. After going freelance myself a few years ago, I've seen how hard it is and where I'm lacking. I really, really admire anyone who's making a living on their own.

What is it the one thing you dislike the most?
Petty politics. Getting ahead by stepping on others is pathetic. I'm amazed people don't realize how it'll come back to haunt them. You treat the janitor well, he'll give you a hand when you need it. You don't, and you may find your trash never gets emptied.

What is your motto?
What will be, will be....if you make it happen.

Who are your favorite artists?
Oh man! Sooo many. Velasquez, Dale Chihuly, John Maeda, Junichi Arai, Annie Albers... hmmm. I'll stop there.

Is there any invention you wish you had thought of?
The jacquard loom. How incredible to go from weaving paisleys to the computer!

What's the first thing you remember making?
2nd grade. Our assignment was to make a flower out of construction paper. Everyone was making flat images. I made a daffodil. In 3D! It was 3' wide with a 1' trumpet depth. No one told me how to make the 'trumpet' or how to attach it. I just did it. Now, I'm always hoping to get back to that kind of outside-the-box thinking.

Can't make it Governor's Island anytime soon? Purchase warpeDesign on Etsy and keep up with all that inspires Luis on her blog, Inside A warpeDesign.

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