Utilizing a variety of mediums, including wood, plastics and found materials, Houston-based sculptor and designer Joyce Lin often deconstructs traditional furniture forms and materials to explore the ever-shifting relationship between humans and their environment.
The artist: Born in Durham, Lin grew up in Birmingham, where she attended the Alabama School of Fine Arts, where she received a fairly rigorous fine arts education. Her senior thesis focused on wooden kinetic sculptures.
Her cross-disciplinary interests led her to attend the Brown/RISD Dual Degree Program, where she earned BA degrees in furniture design at the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) and geology-biology at Brown University in 2017.
In early 2018, she moved to Houston and began working as a woodshop manager and woodworking instructor for TXRX Labs. In 2019, she did a six-month artist residency at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
The studio: Lin’s studio is at the East End Maker Hub, a 300,000-square- foot makerspace and manufacturing center for innovators, fabricators and crafters in Houston’s East End.
The makerspace within the Maker Hub is called TXRX Labs, which is where she teaches woodworking, manages the woodshop, and uses the facilities for her studio work.
The art & materials: Sculptural furniture, with mixed media materials, including wood, acrylic, fiberglass and found furniture.
What’s popular: The 1/8-scale miniatures of her more well-known works, like the Exploded Chair. Lin started making the miniatures ($120 to $600 depending on scale) in mid-2020 and has sold at least two more batches of Mini Exploded Chairs through her website.
She is currently taking a break from miniatures to focus on larger projects, but will likely return to them in the future.
- The internal structures of things
- Material contrasts
- Interactions between what we consider unnatural and natural.
- A bit of chaotic humor.
“My approach has been described by others as a kind of ‘forensic-making,’ in the way that I (often literally) dissect traditional furniture forms and materials,” said Lin. “I think a lot about how all things continuously come together and fall apart and my role as a maker being a witness and facilitator of these processes.”
Big break (s):
- Part of a 2019 group show at R & Company in NYC, titled “Chairs Beyond Right and Wrong.” The show featured renowned artists and designers, including KAWS and the Campana Brothers, Katie Stout, Gaetano Pesce, Misha Kahn and the Haas Brothers.
- Part of Objects USA 2020, an exhibition and publication by R & Company, which surveys 50 historical and 50 contemporary artists defining American craft and handmade objects.
- Samuel Gragg Award for Innovation (2017) and the Excellence in Craft Award (2016). Both awards were given by the RISD Furniture Design Department.
Honors: Many including:
- One of her chairs was acquired by the RISD Museum, 2019.
- Featured on The Dwell 24 list of emerging designers, 2021.
- One of her chairs was acquired by Houston’s Civic Art Collection and installed at the Houston Hobby International Airport, 2021.
- Invited to give a guest lecture, titled “Exploring Objecthood,” to New York’s School of Visual Arts (SVA) interior design department as part of its “Inside the Box” lecture series, 2021
- Experimenting with surface treatments on reclaimed wood.
- Continuing the “skinned furniture” series, where she carefully slices off the outer layer of found furniture using a scroll saw and band saw, separating the finished glossy ‘skin’ from the raw wood ‘structure.’
- Slanted/Enchanted, a group show at ESP Gallery in Toronto, through Feb. 26.
- Nothing Goes to Waste, a group show at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Feb. 5 through May 7.
Where to look: joyce-lin.com
Where to buy: [email protected]
Get social at:
– Instagram: @jolime