Ryan Thewes, Architect

We’ve never featured an architect before! In this interview Ryan gives us a look into what makes architectural design different from expressive art,  but he still gets to push boundaries and make a statement with the pieces he creates.

Thewes Architect Sylvan ParkWhen did you know that you wanted to be an architect?

Somebody asked me that question yesterday and it caused me to stop and think. Actually, they asked, “Did you always know that you wanted to be an architect?”

When I was young, I could draw really well. Being from a small farming town in Southern Indiana with not much culture, the immediate reaction to that from adults is, “You should be an architect.” So that path had always been suggested to me from early on. However, like most people, I had no idea what an architect was or what exactly they did. I liked to draw and I was told that architects draw, so that sounded good to me.

Along those lines, people also called me an artist based only on the observation that I could draw. It wasn’t until later in school that I realized the difference between having a skill (drawing, singing, etc.) and actually being an artist. Previously, I had been given a subject and asked to reproduce that subject two dimensionally on a sheet of paper (portrait, landscape, bowl of fruit on a table, etc.). However, one day in art class, our teacher handed us a blank sheet of paper and instructed us to come up with our own painting. Something I had never thought about doing before and an idea that was very foreign to me. That is when I realized art wasn’t about the skill of drawing or painting, it was about the idea.

I still pursued architecture based on the previous assumption that I would get to draw all day. But by that time, I wasn’t satisfied with just drawing. I was in search of ideas and the creation of ideas and became fascinated with architects who seemed to put design and ideas ahead of all else. Architects like Frank Lloyd Wright and Bruce Goff.  As I began studying them and their work, it lead me to seek many different creative individuals and study how they work, how they think and what drives them to create.

I have had the unique experience of working and learning from two different architects that were apprentices to Frank Lloyd Wright and also working for one of most creative architects in the world, who was also a former apprentice to Bruce Goff.

My goal then became to apply the drive and creativity that I had worked so hard to seek out, and use architecture as my medium.

Thewes Architect Dickson OrthopaedicsWhat is your favorite style of architecture?

I try to stay away from styles. Styles are trends and if you are practicing a trend, then you are already behind. I feel like once I have designed something, it is time to start over fresh with a new idea and to grow from the previous projects. My aim is for a timeless design that will be viewed just as modern and progressive 50 years from now as it seems today.

Wright referred to his design as “Organic Architecture”, which can mean a lot of things. But deep down it is honesty in form, in idea and in materials. Like nature, it is something that is always changing and evolving.

Thewes Architect East NashvilleWhat is the best thing about being an architect?

It is a challenging profession, but it is very rewarding. Every building I design takes an amazing amount of time and effort so to see all that effort materialize and my vision come to life is what the job is all about. The most rewarding part is after all of the time and struggle, having a client that appreciates the finished product as much as I do.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat is the hardest thing about being an architect?

Unlike traditional artistic mediums, I am bound by many different factors that make it difficult to achieve my overall vision. Which means that vision could change multiple times during the course of the project. Budget, Building Codes and outside influences such as zoning districts all have tendencies to take every project and make them all the same.

I am taking what is probably a person’s largest investment and trying to push the limits of everything that is pushing back. It isn’t uncommon for people to tell me it is impossible to do what I am trying to do. It is a constant battle.

Thewes Architect 12th SouthHave you ever had to turn any clients down?

Yes. Frequently. I have committed myself to staying a very small architecture firm. I want to personally be the one that does all of the design on every project. So there is only so much work that I can take on at a time with limited resources. However, those projects that I do take on get my full attention and care; that is difficult to find anywhere else.

I have also committed myself to only taking on projects that fit within my vision of design. I often have people call up wanting traditional homes or wanting something to “fit in” with the neighborhood. Often, people get offended when I try to explain this as they feel I am suggesting my style of architecture is somehow superior to what they like. That isn’t the case. I respect their opinion and taste just as much as I hope they would respect mine.

Thewes Architect GoodlettsvilleDo you have any projects that you’re particularly proud of?

I have had a few projects that clients put their trust in my enough to create something very unique and special. When I arrived in Nashville, the economy took a nosedive. There wasn’t much work going on at the time so I decided to create my own work by designing and building an addition on to my home. Budget was a huge restriction, but it allowed me to express my design and show people what I am capable of doing. I was fortunate that this project gained a lot of attention nationally winning a few awards and was even listed as one of the coolest offices in the world by INC. Magazine.

Since then, there have been a handful of projects that stick out. The Ahlbrandt Residence in East Nashville, the Sharp Cabin in McMinnville and the Dickson Orthopaedics office in Dickson, TN. These are all good examples of me being able to express my personal style and design.

Thewes Architect Caney ForkWhat is your favorite part of the process of bringing a building to life?

Once I take on a project, it becomes very mentally consuming. Everything I see or hear or read influences the design. I don’t typically sketch. Most of the time I let the design incubate in my head and go through many different revisions. There are always so many ideas or directions something can go. But once an idea takes hold, that is when it gets fun. Getting it out of my head and into a form that can be viewed and shared with the client. Allowing them to visualize my ideas. That is the exciting part.

Have you ever had any projects that were particularly challenging either in design or execution?

Because I choose to do things differently than what is typically done in conventional construction, I can’t think of a project that hasn’t been a challenge. And since every design is different, every challenge is very different. Having built projects on my own and working in construction gives me an understanding of the limits of what is possible to build. I see a lot of students that design interesting looking structures in the computer, but the reality of taking those structures and building them is another story. Especially on real world projects with real world budgets.

The main challenge that I have across the board is convincing the client that the additional money needed to execute the design as opposed to just building a normal house is worth every penny. I have been fortunate thus far to have a good number of clients who appreciate and value good design.

I want to thank Ryan for being our last full-interview feature. When he first emailed me wanting to be on the blog I was hesitant, because I wasn’t entirely sure how much creative work went into architectural design. Ultimately, I’m glad we interviewed him for our last interview. I learned a lot and I hope you got something out of it, too. 

You can find more of Ryan Thewe’s work on his website and his facebook page.  


Beware The Moon

Hand DrawingRemember that very cool, eco-friendly, daddy/daughter wallpaper company that I wrote about a while back? Well, Beware The Moon has just released a new wallpaper that is just as cool and quirky as their other designs. It’s called Animals. They offered to send me a sample, but I didn’t want it to go to waste – I’m a renter – and politely declined. Still, I am a big fan of the company and the wallpaper. I really felt it necessary to share with the rest of you Fire Starters, since you liked the original post so much.

I hope you’ll take the time to visit their website and purchase some of their awesome work, or at the very least make a mental note to come back to it later.MultiBalloon-03


Furies Magazine: Which came first, the accessories or the fluffels?

Mariska Vos-Bolman: The Fluffels plush came first. After 6/7 months I looked into other options to use my designs. And laser cut jewelry was a great way to expand my collection.

FM: Where did you get the idea for these cute little creatures?

MV: After I got my first sewing machine I made a pillow and thought that it would be fun to make some toys with it. So I started sketching some fun creatures. Sitting in the train or at home. Wherever I found the inspiration.

FM: What are your favorite materials to work with?

MV: Fleece is a great fabric to work with, it is cheap and easy to use and very forgiving if your sewing skills aren’t so good yet 🙂 Felt is great for plushies to, to create eyes, mouth and other details.

FM: What are your future plans for Fluffels?

MV: Currently I’m focusing more on my DIY Fluffies line, that is my other etsy store: www.etsy.com/shop/DIYFluffies, after that I will probably will start creating new designs for the fluffels collection. I would love to have some more jewelry designs.
I just need more time 🙂

You can follow Fluffels on facebook, shop Fluffels on Etsy or make your own Fluffels.


carolineI found these little guys online the other day and reached out to sculptor Gesine Kratzner to find out more about them.

Furies Magazine: When did you start sculpting and why?

Gesine Kratzner: I remember a container full of clay when I was a kid. The different colors had all been mixed into a murky brown-grey long ago, but I didn’t care. I just made and re-made sculptures from the same clay for a long time, picking up bits of debris on the way. Sculpting has always been my favorite way of making art. Later I did stop motion animation, sculpting the puppets and props. Professionally, I did a lot of character design for animation and often I would do sculptures instead of drawings, since the step into the 3rd dimension felt natural to me.

foreverfriendsFM: What inspired these cure quirky creatures?

GK: There’s a Zoo in my head and every so often I release some of the creatures into the world. I usually start with a quick sketch and then go straight to sculpting them.

worrywartsFM: What else do you do?

GK: So much!

I am working on several illustrated children’s books at the moment. I am doing lots of sculpture work for an upcoming art show and I work in commercial animation. My website gesinekratzner.com is the place to visit and get an idea of all the things I have done.


FM: Do you have any future plans for Blobhouse?

GK: Blobhouse is a little bit on the back burner at the moment. Eventually I would love to find a way of having some of my sculpture designs mass-produced and distributed through a toy company. I think my worry warts or pet lumps would be really well suited for that.

Check out Gesine’s Blobhouse shop if you want one of these little critters. And definitely check out her website, because there is a lot of really cool stuff on there that you won’t find in her shop!

Karen Morris

IMG_4272-19Today, Furies is bringing you a completely different kind of artist. Today we’re featuring a milliner, hat maker, by the name of Karen Morris. You might not think of her as much of a rebel, but Karen has a tougher market to break into than most artists and she’s done quite well for herself. 

Furies Magazine: Has it always been hats?

Karen Morris: I’ve always loved fashion. Before getting into hats, I was doing jewelry (metal and beads) for a while. 

FM: Why hats?

KM: My husband and I split our time between Hong Kong and the Twin Cities. Two years ago, we attended a horse race in Hong Kong, and it was required that all the ladies wear hats – grand ones. I was a little nervous because I’d never worn such an extraordinary hat before, however, it turned out to be a greatly fun experience. Some of the women wore hats much bigger than mine with all kinds of feathers and shiny embellishments, so I found that, really, I had nothing to be afraid of after all. After that, I thought I could try making some of my own crazy creations. I started reading and studying about the art of hat making, and I’ve been crafting them ever since.


FM: Hats can be a pretty tough niche market in the US. Did you have any problems breaking into it?

KM: There is definitely a cultural barrier with American women wanting to wear hats. It’s not so much that they don’t want to, but because society sees it as a bit odd or out of the ordinary to wear hats, many women feel self-conscious doing so. It’s a barrier I’m trying to break. I want people to feel like, ‘Okay, yes, I can wear a fun, funky hat because it’s an expression of who I am, just like my clothes are.” 

When we go back in history we see that hats in America weren’t uncommon at all. It was very common for women (and men) to wear hats to fancy events like weddings, parties and church, sometimes it was even required. However, since about the 70s, fashion trends have changed a lot. Besides the Kentucky Derby, there aren’t many events these days that require headwear be worn. Of course, there are some cultures where headpieces are required, or at least encouraged, but that’s not the norm everywhere. 


Thankfully, there are still bold women who love wearing hats. We need more of them! I’ve tried to offer a balance in my collection: hats for every day, and more couture pieces for those with an adventurous side. Bridal is, surprisingly, a market where today’s women are comfortable experimenting and doing something unique. My bridal collection does quite well.

FM: Why do you think hats are more popular in other countries?

KM: A couple of reasons. Some cultures encourage hat wearing, and people do it because it’s the norm. Some cultures are more fashion forward, so hats are viewed as an extension of your fashion sense. Some cultures are more traditional and require headwear. I’m excited about the possibility of hats becoming more common in the US.


FM: What projects are you currently working on?

KM: I’m currently busy fulfilling customer orders while also focusing a lot of energy on my 2013 Fall/Winter Collection. I have a few art projects I’m really excited about, but I can’t tell you about those just yet. You’ll have to follow me on my social media pages for the inside scoop! 

FM: Where do you want to go from here?

KM: I have a five-year plan that includes moving to a bigger studio in the art district of Northeast Minneapolis, near my home, expanding sales in more boutiques, and opening my own shop. 

Check out Karen’s  website for more information. You can also follow her twitter or like her facebook page.   

Body Painting: RoByn Thompson


RoByn is an artist with a style definitely all her own, and an appreciation for original designs – period.  She enjoys collaborating with other artists, and appreciates what her models bring to the sessions.  I am pleased to introduce you to her work!


DSC_0472Furies Magazine:  Was art always an interest for you?  If so, what was your favorite medium?

RoByn Thompson:  I’ve always been an artist but it was repressed for years. Wasn’t sure that I had sufficient skills, vision, desire. I really spent years of my life not knowing that everyone is born with the right to be an artist. I studied ceramic sculpture and papermaking but never drew or painted until I began face painting about 12 years ago.


Furies Magazine:  What led you to body painting?

RoByn Thompson:  I got a gig face painting for my partner who is a cartoonist. It was my plan to manage the booth at the streetfair while he painted. He wound up being detained. Children were thrusted at me. I painted them, enjoyed it and soon sought bigger canvases. I painted bellies next (www.pregnantbellypainting.com) before moving on to whole bodies.


Furies Magazine:  Who taught you how to paint, and at what age?  How/where did you learn?

RoByn Thompson:  I was in my mid-30s when I started body painting and started photographing my own work about a decade later. I read body painting how-to books voraciously, took classes and attended and later taught at a few conventions. I found many of the classes to not really be all that helpful, I think that individualized attention and critique from the instructor are critical and difficult to come by because of class sizes. The best classes I ever took were from Olivier Zegers. He taught theory and technique instead of teaching you how to copy a design. Teaching that way really sharpens your critical thinking processes.


Furies Magazine:  What is your favorite style to paint?2007 4161

RoByn Thompson:  I’m not sure that I have a favorite style. Different things provide different challenges. I have a couple of series that I really enjoy. “Artists and their Works”- in this series, I paint abstract painters with motifs that I pull out from their work and photograph them with their large painting providing the background. “As Clear as the Dream on Your Face”- People write down a dream that they had while sleeping. I paint their face with images from the dream and photograph them.


Furies Magazine:  Is there a big difference between painting canvas and the human form?

RoByn Thompson:  Oh yes! I don’t enjoy painting canvas nearly as much. Canvas doesn’t move. My models bring so much to the process and inspire me.  The body painting I do is really collaborative between the model and me.  I do a lot of TFP and for those projects, the models have a lot of input about the theme and mood of the shoot. I ask them about their passions and try to respond with an appropriate design.


Furies Magazine:  Do you find a certain gender more interest in being painted?

RoByn Thompson:  Men are more shy.  Unless there’s a client, my models are nude. I hate how it looks when you try to paint over panties or pasties.


DSC_0080 copyFuries Magazine:  What inspires you/your work?

RoByn Thompson:  Everything! I’ve done paintings based on models’ passions, dreams, historical movements, street art, fine art and even have used the label from a mango drink as inspiration.


Furies Magazine:  What makes your work unique?

RoByn Thompson:  What makes everyone’s work unique? We all have our vision which is shaped by our experiences.


Furies Magazine:  Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

RoByn Thompson:  I’m going to keep doing what I do. I’ll be painting & shooting people and getting my images out there.


Furies Magazine:  Any piece of advice for aspiring body painters?

RoByn Thompson:  Respect your models. Use appropriate products. Don’t use acrylic paints or paint markers on human bodies. They are toxic. There are good, safe products out there. Use FDA compliant make-up. It costs more but it’s important. Be nice to your models. If you can’t pay them, at least feed them. You need them to make your art.


Furies Magazine:  Any advice for models?DSC_0206

RoByn Thompson:  Be sure that you talk to the artist. Know what products are being used. Know what is going to be done with the images. Read the model release. Anything you don’t understand? Ask. Get it in writing. If you don’t feel comfortable doing the shoot, don’t do it. Your hesitation will show in the images. Eat before you show up to be painted. Take breaks and move when you need to. Don’t lock your knees, it will put additional stress on your body and possibly make you pass out. If you want to work with an artist, contact him or her. We’re typically glad to have enthusiastic models.


Furies Magazine:  Is there work you’ve done that stands out as your favorite?

RoByn Thompson:  My newest work is always my favorite. I believe that the next thing I do is going to be the best. This is a constant for me. I really don’t go back over what I’ve done. This is a problem because there are some excellent images that need to be seen/want to be sold that are languishing on my hard drive.


Furies Magazine:  Do you have any favorite conventions, and, why?

RoByn Thompson:  No. I’ve really soured on the convention thing. They’ve become political. Judging isn’t done blind so it’s often a popularity contest. It’s become the same people teaching the same things; large group classes where you learn to copy a design are standard.


DSC_0212Furies Magazine:  Do you have any upcoming projects we should look out for?

RoByn Thompson:  I have some more books/ebooks that are coming out soon. Sign up for one of my mailing lists for more info when it becomes available. I’m also in the process of a website redesign. Soon there will be many more and newer images available to view and for purchase at www.robynthompsonart.com and, as always, I’m looking for models. If you’re in the greater NYC metro area, reach out to me. Non-traditional models are especially encouraged.


Furies Magazine:  Do you teach any workshops?

RoByn Thompson:  I teach basic face painting workshops to VERY small classes. They have no more than 8 students, it’s very hands on. I teach that way because it’s how I personally learn best.  We don’t typically go into body painting designs unless the students request it. The skills learned are very transferable from face to body painting.


Furies Magazine:  Anything you’ve never been asked, but would love to answer?1023
RoByn Thompson:  How do you feel about derivative work and copying designs? If you copy a design without the artist’s consent, you, sir, are a lowlife scum. Copying and copyright infringement are rampant in the face and body painting community. Don’t paint Spider-Man unless you’ve ponied up money to Stan Lee. Don’t paint another artist’s design and claim it as your work when all you did was copy something. I’ve done this when I started out, we all have. We need to pay attention and realize what we’re doing is theft.


Furies Magazine:  RoByn can be found here:

RoByn Thompson



photo 2VinylTide is basically two girls, working out of a garage, making records into visual art pieces. I don’t know what more to say that their work can’t show you. But I was curious about their business. So, I did ask them a few questions for you.

Furies Magazine: Molly, what gave you the idea to use vinyl instead of the usual mediums?

Molly: The first ever VinylTide piece was technically just created to fulfill a homework assignment. I had to do an “unconventional self-portrait” (use something other than the traditional pencil and paper) for an art final–pretty open project. I wanted to incorporate things that represented “me”, of course, and I figured that cutting the Nashville skyline (where I live and the city I love) out of a vinyl (because I adore anything “vintage” and also play music) was a pretty good place to start. I ended up painting a few other things that describe me on top of the cut out vinyl too, but ultimately, it looked a lot like the Nashville skyline pieces we sell today!

FM: Dakota, What did you see in Molly’s pieces that made you realize the potential?

Dakota: When I first looked at the pictures Molly posted I thought “wow, now that’s really creative”, I had never seen anything like it and immediately I wanted to take it further than an art project. I wanted everyone else to see it and think “how cool is that?!” -like I did. I’ve always had a fascination with vinyls and old records, so, the idea of taking the Nashville skyline and really creating “Music City” was super cool. When Molly and I decided to pursue this business venture it began to excite us more and more every single day; And as we started showing it to people that’s when I really felt like it was going to succeed. The response was amazing and people really seemed to accept and encourage what we were doing. You can’t go wrong with art or music, and there really isn’t a day that I don’t love what I do.

photo 2 (1)FM: What are the ups and downs of working with your best friend?

D&M: We hear people say all the time “never work/ own a business with your friend”, we heard that from the first day we started VinylTide but that was also the day we decided to always communicate with each other. There are definitely days where it’s hard to work with your best friend, but there are even more days when we’re excited to wake up and talk about something we love, with the person that is going through it with us! It’s kind of like high school, without the petty drama
and a little more stress!

D: I would say that one of the downs of working with Molly is probably that she’s SO creative and so good at every single thing she does, sometimes I just want it to magically appear. She’s constantly reminding me that stuff takes time, especially if you want it to look amazing. I could never say just one “up” about working with my best friend, it really is a phenomenal job to have and to be able to share the most exciting moments with person you would want to anyway, makes it even better. I think we would both agree that even though we fight from time to time there are many more laughs, high-fives, and “praise Jesus’” than arguments!
photo 1 (22)

M: Ups and downs—you got it! You hear a lot of people say “don’t go into business with your best friend”, and I think we would both agree—it’s risky territory! But we know that. Honestly, I think sometimes hearing that makes us even more determined to hang in there together! When you’re contributing totally different (and equally vital) skills, but have the same goal—it just WORKS. The idea isn’t to “not argue”—we always work through stuff, and by doing that, move VinylTide forward. Neither one of us is ever content with sitting on what we’ve got; ideas are always being discussed, improved, canned, expanded…that’s just part of growing a business! It’s harder to have feelings get hurt when you remember that your teammate wants the same thing you do. Also, we definitely wouldn’t have made it past the first week without a lot of laughs. We have more ridiculous inside jokes, and do more dorky high fives and cheers, than anybody else I can think of! But it helps—you have to keep the humor around as soon as you introduce the “B” word (business). Dakota’s my best friend, and the business aspect is HARD work, sometimes VERY frustrating/discouraging, it’s like a high-maintenance child that needs you 24/7! Honestly… I can’t imagine doing this with anybody BUT my best friend!

photo 3FM: Who decides what the next project is going to be?

D&M:  If it’s not a custom piece, we both pretty much decide and talk things through (usually blaring music in the car). We’ll come up with a concept and just run with it. It doesn’t fully come to life until Molly works her magic and draws something crazy, and then when it’s actually on the vinyl we’ll do some jumping up and down and freak out like we’ve never made anything before that piece. It’s never not exciting to watch what you were thinking of come to life.

FM: Would you say VinylTide is more art or business?

D&M:  VinylTide is both, it’s a artist mind with a love for people and things and thinking outside the box, and a business mind that loves design and creating new ideas. To have a successful company you must have a little bit of both, to create and to think past what’s right in front of you. Seeing the future and new ideas is “business”, making what is in front of you priority and doing it the best you possibly can is “art”. In this case, we need both and we happen to each love what we’re each good at.

FM: What is your favorite thing about the business?

D&M:  Everything! It’s art and music, what is there not to love about it?! Nashville is a pretty good size city, but being able to walk into a record label or on to the set of “Nashville” and show someone something that completely relates to exactly where they are and probably what they’re doing is pretty amazing. Owning the business with your best friend is kind of baller too, we’re 22, we love music and art and we’re in a city that completely accepts people’s desire to create and have fun, instead of just living the norm and then dying. One of the first meetings we had with a successful business man and entrepreneur here in Nashville (just one year ago) he said to us, “Before anything else, keep ‘FUN’ at the forefront of this company and it will be huge”, that’s what we’re doing and that is what we will continue to do. Having the opportunity to follow our dreams is a blessing and we’re beyond thankful for everyone that has encouraged us and kept the spark going, we don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

photo 5 (1)M: Which charities do you donate to and why?

D&M:  Right now we work with the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home, Wounded Warrior Project, and The Hope Clinic. We feel that these organizations have done an amazing job in each of their fields. As we grow as a company we would like to reach out to other organizations in the community and even in other states, these are one that are close to home for each of us.

Being near the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home and having worked with them, it’s cool to see how encouraging and how much they bless the kids that are there. The parents in each of the homes have put their lives aside to guide and help each child have an opportunity to pursue their dreams. The Wounded Warrior Project is close to the heart for both of us because two men that we love very dearly are currently serving our country. Anything we could do to support our soldiers fighting for our freedom and those that have lost their lives in the process we feel it’s our job to do and give back in whatever way possible. The Hope Clinic is a local charity and place that women and men can go to receive help and a new hope if they feel like they’re facing something alone. We love this organization and love their mission to encourage, support, and listen to every person that walks through their doors, so that when they leave they feel they’re no longer
Please check out each of these organizations and see what you can do to help – It doesn’t always
have to be money!
The Hope Clinic – http://hopeclinicforwomen.org/
TBCH – http://www.tbch4kids.org/web/default.asp
Wounded Warrior Project – http://www.woundedwarriorproject.org/


You can find more of VinylTide on their website, like them on their facebook page, or follow them on Twitter.