Today on Tuesday Tours we have illustrator, story maker, and sculptress Sophie Page sharing her studio in Boston, Massachusetts. Sophie creates her illustrations by sculpting three-dimensional characters, placing them within scenes and sets, and then photographs them. She’s a recent graduate of The Rhode Island School of Design and has an Etsy shop where she sells her work.
She’s working on two new book projects and seeking publication for her first book, Marjory and the Juniper Tree.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your creative medium.
I’m an illustrator from rural New England. I recently graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design, and since then I’ve been working as an illustrator and art teacher. I create multimedia sculptures, which I then photograph, and manipulate the digital images to make 2D illustrations. I work with clay and found natural objects, and I’ve been increasingly interested in working digitally as well. I feel like my work falls somewhere between children’s lit and art books, and that’s fine with me. I’m still discovering my niche. It’s an exciting time.
How long have you had your space and how does it affect your creative process?
I’m very much in transition lately, so I haven’t been in my current space for very long. I’m working on renovating a barn/garage space in Ipswich, MA and that’s kind of a dream project. But for right now I’m renting the attic of a very lovely historical house outside of Boston. It suits me very well. The owner of the house is a great pastel painter, so we can critique each others work and there’s great energy. I’m very inspired by the space, but sometimes I feel like I’m living in one of my sculptures and it can be overwhelming.
Describe a typical work day. Do you have any rituals you do before you start creating?
Lot’s of coffee. I’m very into caffeine. Mostly I just spend some time checking my email, go for a run, and then get started on my current project.
What’s the biggest distraction for you when you’re creating? How do you deal with it?
Well that would definitely be my cat, Hephzibah. She’s a really wonderful cat but she is always trying to claw her way onto my lap when I’m trying to focus. Honestly I’m still figuring out how to get her to settle down while I’m working, but every once in a while she’ll fall asleep in the armchair next to me and everything is great.
Is there anything you like to listen to while you’re working? What are you reading/listening to now?
I always listen to music while I’m working. Lately it’s been a combination of 80’s new wave and Nicki Minaj, which is a lot better than my Barry Manilow phase, that’s for sure. As for books, I just finished reading Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi, I found it very moving and would recommend it highly.
Is there any special item/trinket in your space that inspires you?
My friend who is 84 years old told me about an elaborate game her mother played using crude handmade dolls, sometime around 1913. For my birthday this year she gave the dolls to me. They are really just balls of false fur with skirts, and I’m fascinated by how simple, rough, and well loved they are. I try to imbue my work with that kind of sentimental quality.
Which other artists, writers or creative people are you most inspired by at the moment?
Kiki Smith, Marlene Dumas, and Francesca Woodman. My little sister, Isabelle Marina Page is a constant inspiration. She is currently a student at the Cooper Union school of art and her work is fantastic. The Guerrilla Girls are another longtime inspiration, and recently the radical performance art duo Darkmatter has been majorly on my mind.
What are the three best things about your studio space?
My cat is there.
The history of the space.
I play music pretty loudly and I have yet to receive a complaint.
Share with us a memory of one of the best times you had working in your studio.
Occasionally friends and family will leave bits of dried plants or driftwood for me to find. That’s especially nice because I can use them in my projects and it makes the work feel more precious.
What advice do you have for people who want to make a personal space where they can be creative?
Make sure it’s a place where you feel really comfortable and safe. It might sound tacky but you should have a good feeling about the space, like you can see yourself bopping around at 3 a.m eating gummy worms in that space.
What’s coming up for you and where can we find out more?
Lately I’ve been full of stories. I’m working on two simultaneously. One is about a girl with too many pockets, and one about a girl with three eyes. I am currently seeking publication for my first book, Marjory and the Juniper Tree. You can check out more of my work at sophiegenevapage.com. I also sell prints and sculptures through my online shop.
Thanks, Sophie! I love your work and I hope to see Marjory and the Juniper Tree in print soon—the illustrations are stunning!
Join us next week when author/illustrator Harriet Muncaster will be sharing her studio in Hertfordshire, England.
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