Ms Ashley Jameson Eriksmoen

Masters of Fine Arts (Rhode Island School of Design); Certificate of Fine Woodworking (College of the Redwoods); Bachelors of Science/Geology (Boston College).
Head of Furniture Workshop; Convenor of Craft and Design; Senior Lecturer
College Arts & Social Sciences

Areas of expertise

  • Visual Arts And Crafts 1905
  • Other Built Environment And Design 1299

Research interests

Critical design; environmental ethics; consumerism/waste/environment/natural resources, and sustainability addressed through the practice of craft; furniture design and construction; applications and appropriations of woodworking technologies (hand, conventional, digital);  gesture and sentient connection conveyed by inanimate objects.

For two decades, my practice has been centred on the gaps, tensions, and overlaps between manmade and natural environments, the domains of that which was built versus that which has grown. My conceptual concerns arise from existential questions regarding humans’ capacity and need to feel connected to their environments, be it their living room or their planet. American novelist Toni Morrison once posed the question, "How do we meet the world and connect to our personal spaces?" And I would add, “How do we take care of each other and the world if we don’t first feel connected?”

My work looks at the connection between people and the world mediated through relationships to objects, and how objects can bridge the divide; I combine and re-present familiar objects and creatures to make those links. Many of my works utilize devices such as slight asymmetry and visual tension to imply animate posture and gesture in furniture forms. My work also addresses issues of sustainability, natural resources, consumerism, and waste, and most recently the inherent violence that arises from delineation and desensitization regarding the world and others. Of late, my material and process choices have further referenced the embedded life-cycles of objects, appropriating found shapes of salvaged furniture to return discarded artefacts of consumerism to a neo-natural state. I am interested in re-wilding the modernist interior, challenging Cartesian notions of order, utility, and the planned universe. 

My current individual projects and collaborations address issues of maintaining forests, reclaimed and salvaged timber, utilising urban timber, and habitat reduction and loss from both conceptual and practical points of view. 

Biography

Ashley Jameson Eriksmoen was born and raised in Southern California. Her undergraduate studies cumulated in a Bachelors of Science degree in Geology, and several years as a practising engineering geologist followed. Moving from rocks to timber, she studied fine woodworking at the College of the Redwoods before earning her M.F.A. in Furniture Design at Rhode Island School of Design. In 2006, she received the Norwegian Marshall Fund Grant to research traditional woodworking methods in Norway. Eriksmoen has taught design/woodworking at California College of the Arts, College of the Redwoods, Oregon College of Art & Craft, Anderson Ranch Arts Center, and Penland School of Craft. From 2002 until 2011, she designed and built sculptural furniture in her studio in Oakland, California. In 2012, Eriksmoen moved to Canberra, Australia to be Head of Furniture at the Australian National University School of Art & Design, where she continues her teaching, Practice-led Research, and exhibiting internationally.

Researcher's projects

Urban Timber Rescue Project

Together with Fenner Assoc Prof Cris Brack, Eriksmoen co-hosted a two-day synthesis workshop, "Life and Death in a City of Trees" in September 2019. The workshop brought together over 50 participants from North America, Asia, and Australia to engage in collaborative discussion aimed at developing innovative approaches to better utilisation of the timber from street tree removals, particularly in the ACT. 

The workshop brought together a wide range of stakeholders, including ACT Ministers, ACT local government treescapes and resource managers, foresters, sawyers, woodworkers, school teachers, researchers in forestry, habitat, art, and architecture, activists and conservationists, and cultural prescinct managers. The robust discussion across the two day event revealed many perspecitves to be considered in approaching this complex, multi-layered concern that crosses many sectors and disciplines. 

Eriksmoen and Brack are currently developing industry, government, and cross-institutional partnerships to develop the project further with external funding. 

Nature><Culture Research Group

In early 2017, ANU School of Art & Design researchers Eriksmoen and Dr Raquel Ormella co-founded the Nature><Culture Research Group.

The Nature><Culture Research Group of the School of Art & Design is a forum for researchers whose creative practices address the interactions, relationships, and shared or contested territories between humans and other animals, life and non-life. The Nature><Culture Research Group aims to expand and promote our research capacity in this interdisciplinary area by encouraging the exchange of ideas, fostering collaborations, pursuing opportunities for research funding and publishing. We enrich teaching and learning by sharing these activities and outcomes with the student cohort. The group seeks engagement and impact beyond the university by fostering interdisciplinary research partnerships across ANU and with government, industry and community groups.

The research group fosters an interdisciplinary discourse addressing themes including: habitat architecture; animal-human relationships; shared and contested spaces; urban treescapes and birdscapes; the emergent field of Animal Studies; and the myriad ecological impacts of the Anthropocene. 

The cluster has hosted a number of international and Australian visiting artists, architects, writers, and curators to contribute to events and explore collaborations with ANU researchers. In 2017, Eriksmoen and Ormella co-organised and curated the exhibition Animistructions at the Tuggeranong Art Centre, bringing together works of staff, current undergraduate and research students, and alumni to demonstrate the broad range of materials and approaches in art, craft, and design underpinned by the relationship between humans and non-human animals. https://www.tuggeranongarts.com/events/animastructions-story-behind-exhibition/

In 2019, Eriksmoen and Ormella co-organised a 2-day symposium, To see ourselves as part of something larger. https://soad.cass.anu.edu.au/events/symposium-see-ourselves-part-something-larger-0 The symposium brought together local, Australian, and international scientists, architects, historians and artists to consider how we might understand our place within complex ecosystems, be these nature reserves or the streets where we live. The symposium centred on the ways that visual arts and design can build meaningful recognition of Aboriginal sovereignty; compassion for the more-than-human world; and strengthen our connections to country. The symposium was in conjunction with the exhibition opening of I thought I heard a bird at Craft ACT. The show was co-organised by Eriksmoen and Ormella, and curated by Ormella.

The works in I thought I heard a bird consider what it is to represent without picturing landscape where birds are present or absent. both to focus on the histories birds signify, and what it is to consider the bird as a marker for a landscape and environment. The included works address the theme both conceptually and practically, ranging from paintings to models of realised public works of habitat architecture. I thought I heard a bird continues to evolve, with additional artists and architects and new works being added for a second iteration of the exhibit scheduled for October 2020 in Hobart, Tasmania. 

Available student projects

Eriksmoen is available to supervise students engaging in Practice-led Research in the Honours, Post-graduate Coursework, MPhil, and PhD programs at the School of Art and Design. Eriksmoen's areas of interest in supervision include: woodworking and furniture design; environmental and ecological issues; sustainable and ethical production methods; contemporary craft; critical design; habitat-architecture aka "habitecture"; consumerism and waste; and urban and salvaged timber reuse.

Current student projects


Julie Monro-Allison, PhD Candidate

Julie's Practice-led research project, Spaces of Reproduction and Growth, investigates how bodily experiences of reproduction and gestation can be depicted in non-figurative textile sculpture and drawing.

Elliot James Bastianon, PhD Candidate

Through Practice-led Research grounded in the processes of woodworking and furniture design, Elliot's project "Mineral Accumulations" is creating crystal deposits in furniture and addressing their relationship with human and geological chronologies.

Namdoo Kim, PhD Candidate

Namdoo is a South Korean artist addressing the connections and pressures between consumer culture, branding, and personal identity in affluent Asian societies. His Practice-led Research comprises studio practice in both ceramics and cast glass, creating figurative busts and iconic objects drawing on pop culture.

Past student projects

Niklavs Rubenis, PhD completed 2019

The ethics of making : design for reuse and repair : developing an alternative strategy for studio-based craft and design in a world full of stuff 

Through Practice-led Research in Critical Design, Contemporary Craft, and Furniture, Rubenis applied a methodology of Studio-based Craft and Design (SBCD) as an exploratory tool for inquiry into a) environmental concerns of waste and these links to design; b) as a strategy for giving alternative values to goods that have been discarded; c) and as a practice that engages with social, cultural and ethical concerns when presented with issues outside of domestic disciplinary concerns.

Daniel Stewart-Moore, PhD completed 2017

Re-sculpting the future : climate change and sculptural practice

Through Practice-led Research using both traditional and alternative sculture materials and processes, Stewart-Moore contributed to the artistic discourse of climate change. His work addressed the psychological phenomena that act as an impediment toward individuals and nations taking decisive action on climate change, including flawed proposals to stabilise the climate through the technology of geo-engineering, which is akin to science-fiction. In his research, he created a speculative account of the future based on the predictions of climate scientists combating climate change for a post-apocalyptic future.

Projects and Grants

Grants information is drawn from ARIES. To add or update Projects or Grants information please contact your College Research Office.

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Updated:  28 October 2020 / Responsible Officer:  Director (Research Services Division) / Page Contact:  Researchers