Aleishall Girard

For this week's edition of 'In Her Permanent Collection' we got in touch with our friend, the Berkeley-based artist and designer, Aleishall Girard Maxon. Granddaughter of celebrated designer, Alexander Girard—and creator of one of our custom wrapping papers!—Aleishall told us the story of the one thing she most identifies with her so-called 'Permanent Collection'...

Aleishall Girard: A gold bracelet my grandfather designed and had made for my grandmother in 1954.

Permanent Collection: What's the story of this piece?

A.G.: It was a birthday present and part of my grandfather’s long tradition of making one-of-a-kind gifts for his wife. (His name is etched into the bracelet). She wore it always and then, when she died, it was passed down to my mother. My mother passed it down to me when I had my first child.

P.C.: Why did you select it?

A.G.The design of the object, the font of the engravingit’s all exquisite but more than that it’s wearing a piece that symbolizes the love and connection between my grandparents that I treasure so much.

P.C.: What are your current obsessions?

A.G.: Presently I find myself obsessed with the medium of paper. I collect it as I move through the world; joss paper from Chinatown, menus and maps from travels abroad, pages from old books, and of course tissue paper which is my favorite material, coveted for its translucent quality. As not all of these found materials are archival in nature I'm trying to find the balance in my work of creating what I love in the moment and then letting it go to become whatever it will once it mingles with light and the passage of time. Some pieces have even faded in my studio as I have them up to reflect upon, so I'm starting to go back in and add more layers which are giving these pieces a whole new depth.

In order to zoom back out from the meticulous micro world of cutting precise bits of paper, I am also working on a new series of sculptures using broomcorn and yarn. Inspired by an old broom I saw recently in Milanjust lying in the courtyard of a PalazzoI am exploring the shapes and forms of this ubiquitous object. I love the play of weight, balance, color, and texture, and even the sound this material makes as I work with it.