ARTIST INTERVIEW: Emma Allen of Everyday Oil
Company: Everyday Oil
Artist: Emma Allen
Emma Allen is the founder of Everyday Oil and lives in the mountains of NC where she set up Everyday Oil last year after moving from NYC/Springs. She created Everyday Oil after making it for herself and friends for many years, and is interested in minimal, utilitarian beauty in all forms.
Do you see your work as part of an artistic tradition? Where does your work depart from artistic tradition and move into new territory?
I see my work as an extension of ancient knowledge surrounding plant medicine and skin care that has been passed down through history, and I feel connected to makers and craftspeople who are interested in bringing beauty to the everyday through utilitarian forms and ideas. All of these traditions inform Everyday Oil. In my opinion, these ideas haven’t been brought together with a product that truly works and a clear message in the skin care world, so I think that’s where Everyday Oil moves into new territory.
What criteria do you use to evaluate your own work?
I try to get very clear on whether the thing I am doing is something I myself would want, seek out, use and love. I am careful to make sure I am not making something that someone else already does well. I don’t think we need to compete with one another or worry about what others are doing if we are truly innovating from a pure place of – this should really exist and it does not. How is the best way it should exist? What is the absolute best iteration of this idea?
How do you find a balance between practicality and beauty in your creations?
To me, this is a special question because I find so much beauty in practicality itself. I think the plainest most useful, simple things that truly work are the most beautiful, just in a quieter way that can feel more meaningful over time.
Do you have any objects that you keep around you for inspiration? What are they?
yes, rocks, plants and objects made my hand – I love simple handwoven cloth and baskets. I think there are things where you can feel the humanity, the love in them and I feel lucky to be able to have some of those things in my life.
Do you think community is important to creativity? If so, how?
For me, yes. Since I make things that are for people to use, its so important and special to me to have my community use and appreciate what I’m making. I think for some artists, they make things that their community doesn’t understand or appreciate, at least not at the time, and I always think about how challenging that must be and how beautiful that they continue to create anyway. Anyway, I feel very grateful for the little community around Everyday Oil and for the great creative community keeping me inspired.