The moment you step inside the Atlanta studio of jeweler Ashley Rush, you are struck by her obsessive attention to detail — something she attributes to her great-grandfather, a jeweler during the Great Depression.
The designer’s southern roots also shine through in the things she collects. Ashley has collected folk art pottery for years, with a penchant for face jugs and crocks. We sat down with the “every detail counts” designer and discussed her unusual pottery collection and daily sources of inspiration.
Tell us about your collection.
I collect face jugs, crocks, and folk art pottery.
Do you collect work by specific artists?
From various artists — collectible or not. I just seek out pieces that speak to me.
Why folk art pottery?
I think I chose pottery because my mother is a collector, as well. We have fun hunting together.
What is your background as an artist?
My background is in photography, but I’m currently a jeweler/silversmith.
What inspired you to become a jeweler?
My great-grandfather was a goldsmith during the Great Depression. I inherited many of his creations and have always been fascinated with the process behind the art.
How did your parents encourage your art as a child?
My mother was an interior designer and all of her friends were involved in the arts, so I was exposed to it at a very young age.
How did you develop such a great eye for design?
I attribute my eye to my mother. She never let an opportunity pass to teach me about color, shape, form, and composition.
What is your greatest source of inspiration?
I gain inspiration from unexpected places, i.e. grocery stores, subway stations, and junk yards. I think there is inspiration hiding everywhere if you just take the time to look for it. I also have two children who are growing up fast. They, too, are my inspiration.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
The best piece of advice I ever got was from my dad: “There’s more than one way to skin a cat.” It’s a horrible visual image, I know, but it gets me through a lot of tough situations.
Tell us a little about your husband. Does he share the same design sensibilities?
My husband and I have the same design sense, yes. He is a web designer so he understands placement, color, balance, and simplicity. I have the final say as far as the interior of our home is concerned, thank goodness. Otherwise, we would be living in an empty room with a sofa and one chair. He takes simplicity to the extreme.
Why do you collect art?
It makes me happy, and I love the hunt. It adds personality and character to the place where I spend most of my time. My studio is in my home, so I like to surround myself with things I love.