Friday Five with Debra Folz

Debra Folz is a furniture and object designer who established her eponymous studio in 2010 after earning her bachelor’s degree in interior design from Suffolk University, followed by a graduate degree in furniture design from the Rhode Island School of Design (RISD). These days the Long Island native calls Providence, Rhode Island home where she designs and produces new work for her quickly growing portfolio of material-driven pieces that explore color, geometry, and new techniques. Folz makes a point to support American manufacturing and works with skilled craftspeople in the New England area ensuring that all of her work is made in the USA. Another priority? Sharing her knowledge and skills by teaching furniture design as an adjunct professor to undergraduate and graduate students at Suffolk University and RISD. Keep reading to see where Folz continues to find inspiration that helps drive her work as a successful designer, in this week’s Friday Five.

Photo courtesy of Sony Pictures

1. Inspiring Women
Coco Before Chanel is my favorite film, and in general I love any story with a strong female lead. I find this story in particular inspiring because it portrays a woman ahead of her time, pursuing an independent lifestyle before it was acceptable and seeing things differently before anyone else could.

Photo courtesy of Delpozo

2. Brand Crush
A couple of years ago a gentleman visited my booth at The Architectural Digest Show and after surveying my work asked if I had every heard of the fashion brand Delpozo. I hadn’t, he insisted I would love their work – based on my aesthetic. I went home and looked it up and have been in a [one-sided] brand love affair ever since. I admire the way they form volumes with fabric and can make even the brightest of colors elegant and sophisticated.

Photo courtesy of Canada Goose

3. Useful Things
Of the things I own that are worth the cost, my iPhone [obviously] but next would be my Canada Goose knee-length coat. I used to live in Boston and walk about 3 miles to my studio/3 miles back everyday, which is great on a sunny day, but this coat kept me warm on those blistery winter walks. Now I live about 30 feet from my studio, but it helps keep me warm in a drafty mill building that is the studio. Mine doesn’t look like this image anymore, it looks like its been doing hard time on an oil rig – it’s my work uniform October – March.

Photo by Debra Folz

4. Creative Habits
Drawing and writing are daily habits for me. There’s something about mind to hand & hand to paper, it registers differently, at least for me, than any digital expression or organization of ideas. I remember it better, I revise it more often, I wish I could say we’re saving trees over here but we’re definitely not! There are sketches and notes and plans pinned up all over. Goals and ideas revised daily. The action of writing and drawing is therapeutic for me.

Photo by Debra Folz

5. Furniture Futures
Teaching has been an important part of my journey as a designer. I began immediately after graduate school and developed as an instructor alongside developing a creative studio business, I think the two things have really informed one another. Sometimes it’s good to put down your whole world for a few hours and help someone with theirs. I also think it has taught me to be a better communicator and more patient. I enjoy learning about what’s important to the next generation of designers. How they want to work, what they want to share, what they value…it keeps you current and it keeps you questioning everything. One of my favorite things is hearing news of their adventures and successes out in the world, it’s very rewarding.

Caroline Williamson is Editorial Director of Design Milk. She has a BFA in photography from SCAD and can usually be found searching for vintage wares, doing New York Times crossword puzzles in pen, or reworking playlists on Spotify.