Artist Spotlight: Furniture Designer Amy Rogala

A DNA forensic scientist by trade, this eclectic designer takes would-be spoils and turns them into contemporary masterpieces.

For 11 years, Amy Rogala has brought wood, marble, and other materials to life through captivating artistic expression. What once started as a simple home building project in 2009 has become a full-fledged design business. We had the pleasure of speaking to Rogala as she revels in the journey of transformation.

After realizing your artistic potential, how did you learn to create furniture? “Honestly, I think anyone can do it. Really, it just took me having the time, energy, and relentless drive to make these pieces of wood look cool. I’d spent endless hours sanding and grinding, eventually finding easier ways to transfer wood. It really is just trial and error, being willing to mess up and take a chance. The good news about wood is that it can always be fixed if you mess up. And with the marble tables too, it’s just like anything else: you see something cool in a magazine, dream about it, or literally copy a design from the 1950s and you find how to make it happen. And again, trial and error; that’s how you come up with something unique. In addition, aligning with talented fabricators have also allowed me to create some of my visions.”

Describe the importance of enjoying the creative process.
“If I don’t enjoy it, I think I would lose creative mojo. You really have to enjoy getting dirty, sore, and frustrated so that you can revel in your work after it’s done. There is a part of me that says, ‘I’m going to make that into a [blank] and people will think it’s cool.’ Then, the drive and determination kicks in. It’s like you want to prove to others how pretty it’ll be and they didn’t have to go and buy it from a store. That makes the hard work and the process enjoyable and that much more worth it. Often, the tree or stone comes from something sentimental. Making something out of them [for clients] and getting paid for it is also very enjoyable.”

 

How does “re-loving” pieces fit into helping your clientele?
“When my clients have a bench or a piece of art they’d inherited or bought 20 years ago, I love suggesting that we can ‘re-love’ it somehow; modernize it and keep it in the mix. The client is always so glad I suggested it. I once took a needle-pointed floral piano bench cushion that I was having re-upholstered [for a client] and suggested we frame the needle-point piece in a Lucite box frame. It looked so contemporary and she ended up giving it as a gift to her mother who needle pointed it 30 years prior. I also love the idea of recycling and repurposing as a component of my business; re-loving stuff fits right in. And if I can’t help you, I will find somebody that can.”

Edit by Elizabeth Mehert-Ab
Photography by Paul Miller