Here at Slowdown Studio we love collaborating with emerging and established artists from across the globe. We recently had the opportunity to chat with product designers, Eli Gray and Keri Gray of Glare Goods. Eli and Keri are based in Richmond, Virginia and are known for their fun shaped mirrors made from vintage glass. Have a read of our interview with Eli and Keri for tips on how they find inspiration, future projects, and advice for aspiring designers.
1. Who is Glare Goods?
Glare Goods is Eli Gray (myself) and Keri Gray, along with our dog, Theo, and cat, Tuna. We are a chaotic household of four constantly navigating our own mess in our 1921 half-four square home.
2. How long ago did you start Glare Goods? How did the project come about?
After consulting Instagram we’ve been doing things since summer 2019, so happy second anniversary to us! It started on a lark; my sister commissioned a privacy screen for her bedroom made of mirror and I thought it would be cool to make them out of vintage glass. I did some sketches and thought they’d be cooler with softer, more round shapes. After I sourced the glass from a local salvage yard, I realized I was in way over my head and had no idea what I was doing. So I started smaller. I made a small pebble shaped wall mirror for a friend’s birthday and learned a ton. Then I made a few dozen hand mirrors and learned a ton more. From there it was iterating, product design, and instagram until we got where we are now. I still haven’t finished that privacy screen!
3. Your shapes are so fun. Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I’ve been an incessant doodler and sketcher for as long as I could remember. Every class or wait at the bus stop was an opportunity to do a little doodling, and in school I was constantly scolded for not paying attention. As I got older, doodles I dismissed as lazy or as distractions from other tasks became something greater. Simple changes in lines can evoke a different emotion or convey another form. There are more to blobs and simple shapes than just procrastination! Fun! Glare Goods has been great because I get to integrate those doodles into real pieces that I can feel proud of.
4. We love that your mirrors are made from vintage and reclaimed pieces. Is there anything else loved and lost that you think could do with the Glare Goods treatment?
We’ve been stockpiling larger pieces of reclaimed and vintage wood for about a year now that we’ll be developing into furniture soon, so stay tuned.
5. What is it with Richmond, VA?
It seems to be a hub of creativity. Something is in the water for sure. I think being a small city drenched in small town southern culture and American history, as well as a large university full of night life and arts and community makes a beautiful amalgamation of creativity. We have some of the best museums in the country. The music scene here is wild and there are constant pop up galleries all over town. Richmond is the perfect distance from the mountains, the beach, and a much larger city, so it’s the perfect place to be if you don’t want to be made to choose.
6. What are you listening to in your studio at the moment?
Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, and Diana Ross. Basically anything James Jamerson touched is gold to me. I’ve also been bingeing this incredible podcast called Ologies hosted by Alie Ward. It’s a long format interview with different scientists and doctors, any industry that has an -ology at the end of its descriptor, and everyone is so dang passionate, it’s inspiring.
7. What’s your favorite way to slow down?
I’ve been doing a lot of weed lately! I never really smoke but recently I’ve been having a tough time relaxing so a friend of mine made me a vial of tincture and it puts me right to bed. Perfect cocktail after a long day in the studio, and helps my body release a lot of built up tension from grinding mirrors all day.
8. Any advice on turning an idea into a full fledged creative business?
Keep at it and promote it. We knew from the start that we had something interesting on our hands because of the response we got from friends and family as well as online. It was that support that made us take the jump to doing this full time. Without posting regularly and promoting ourselves I don’t think any of Glare Goods would have happened.