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Quick Takes With: Ferren Gipson

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Quick Takes With: Ferren Gipson

April 28, 2024
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Ferren Gipson wears many hats—so many, in fact, that describing her work doesn’t fit on her Instagram bio. “Art historian, author, artist, broadcaster, etc.”, it reads, the “et cetera” broadly covering all of the ways she “explores themes of politics, popular culture, and identity” through textiles and art. She’s authored two books (Women’s Work: From Feminine Arts to Feminist Art and The Ultimate Art Museum), given a TEDx Talk, contributed to art podcasts, and more. As a textile artist herself, Ferren explores “spirituality, materiality, and matrilineal ties,” she says (and has shown at Hauser & Wirth and Unit London).

Up next, Ferren writes in from her home base in London to share her design pet peeve, what she’s listening to while working, and her budget-friendly first stop for household wares. Read on:

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Above: Ferren at home. Photograph by Tom Lloyd.

You’re invited to dinner. What’s your go-to gift?

I think booze is usually a safe bet. Depending on the occasion, I might bring Champagne or wine.

What’s on your bedside table?

My Kindle, my phone, and a little book where you’re meant to record one line about your day as a mini diary. I started out doing well with the journaling, and I haven’t picked it up since January—oops.

What’s your desert island design/art/architecture-related book?

That’s such a tough question. It would definitely depend on what I’m trying to achieve on this island—there are different go-to books for different subjects! For my academic research on modern Chinese art, it would be Painters and Politics in the People’s Republic of China by Julia Andrews.

What podcast or playlist do you put on when you need inspiration?

My favorite podcast is 99% Invisible, but I don’t put podcasts on very often. If I’m doing textile work and I want something on in the background, I’ll probably put on sewing Youtube videos. My music tastes are extremely mood dependent; it ranges anywhere from Teena Marie to Cardi B to John Coltrane.

What’s a film or TV show whose aesthetic has stuck with you?

I love the interiors in the 2020 version of Emma. Mad Men also had some amazing sets.

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Above: Photograph by Ellen Christina Hancock.

What has been your best house upgrade?

We put terrazzo floors down on our main level and I’m so happy with it. I love the look, and it’s also good for not showing too much mess. I’d definitely do it again in a future home.

Is there a simple or budget-friendly design move you wish you’d known sooner?

Color choices can make a big difference to a room. Take bathroom tiles or wall paint, for example: Different colors of the same tile can bring very different energy. It took me a while to get comfortable playing with more color. I’m still coming to grips with it.

My favorite sheets are…

Bedfolk. Plus, as a weaver/quilter, I make a lot of our textiles now.

a quilt by ferren. photograph by keith lubow. 30
Above: A quilt by Ferren. Photograph by Keith Lubow.

My favorite paint color for the bedroom is…

A soft, warm grey.

Your design pet peeve?

Curtains that are hung too low on the wall.

What item from your closet do you have on repeat?

My coat from Marfa Stance.

Favorite design shop to visit (online or in person)?

Vinterior and Zara Home are probably my first stop.

What is the last thing you purchased for your house?

We made some plywood shelves (it looks better than it sounds) for a shelving unit we bought a few years ago from Lozi Designs. Our books are taking over, so we had to add more storage.

Something you’re coveting?

I don’t have the money or space for this, but there is a prep table by deVOL that lives rent-free in my decorating dreams.

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Above: Photograph by Ellen Christina Hancock.

Three words that describe my design style:

Eclectic meets modern.

My unpopular design opinion is…

Try not to focus on what’s trendy. Buy what you like. Trends go in and out of fashion and you’ll frustrate yourself trying to keep up. I know people often factor in the resale appeal when doing things like remodeling a kitchen, but you have to live with it, so I think you should get what you like.

Thanks so much, Ferren! Follow her work via @ferrengipson and at ferrengipson.com (and check out our posts on her remodeled kitchen and bath, too).

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