Creators, Makers, and Doers: Amy Lunstrum

Posted on 6/15/16 by Arts & History


Amy Lunstrum divides her creative time exploring the disparate realms of painting and ceramics. Each, for her, provide an avenue of exploring different ideas which stem from unexpected places and everyday things. While working from her studio, or around her kitchen sink, Lunstrum shares advice that helps to guide her practice: to keep working and be creative every day.


Can you start by telling us who you are and what you do?

I’m Amy Lunstrum and I do, half-and-half, pottery and painting.

Is there one that you prefer over the other?

I actually have had more public art and, I guess, recognition for the painting, but the pottery comes easier to me and is a more comfortable media for me.


What aspects do you like about working in ceramics?

I just feel like—even though they’re both hands-on—for some reason, sculpture and hand-building seems more hands-on. I can manipulate my material a little bit easier. I don’t have formal training in either, so, it just seems like I can translate my ideas into reality easier with clay. So, it’s just a more forgivable.  They’re both really forgivable media, but I think there’s something about pottery or ceramics or clay that is more forgiving for me.


Where do you draw material for the work?

Usually in unexpected places. It’s more everyday things, I think, that inspire me. In painting I think it shifts a lot. I go through different series and the most recent series was more like insects and birds. And then in sculpture it’s very different. In the sculpture pieces I think I like more inanimate objects that come to life. And more human forms. I don’t like painting human forms at all, but I love sculpting them.

I like that I have both those media to go to, because if I have an idea that involves a human form, it definitely fits the sculpting mode more for me. So, I guess it just depends on my idea, which way I want to manifest it.


Can you talk a little bit about your creative working schedule?

Well, right now, I’m actually embarrassed to admit it, because it’s so minimal. I have a full-time job and a son and so I’m at the time in my life where I have the least time to create outside of those obligations. But, typically, my preferred schedule at this point, knowing that I have a full-time job that’s not art-related, is usually one day a week devoted to painting, for now. And then in the summer—because I work in the schools, I have summers off—that’s pottery and sculpture time. Pretty much strictly. So, I don’t paint in the summer.

It is really challenging, because I feel like that momentum is so key and the more you create the more ideas you have for your next creation. It’s really hard. I really yearn to change it and hope to change it soon to where I can have a piece of every day to do something creative. And that’s why painting is better for me than sculpture, because access to a kiln and my piece drying out before I can get back and work on it is really hard when I only have a day a week. So, painting is something I can do a little bit more within my schedule right now.


With the demands of your full-time job, what drives you beyond that to make art work?

Because I think it’s my true passion, my true gift and my true love. I wish that I had spent my years living frugally and exploring things. I spent those years exploring more about where I wanted to live and more places. I moved around a lot instead of maybe living frugally and exploring what I wanted to do. I can look back and I think, “I wish I would have done a more creative job just to kind of try it out and scrape by back then.” So, I just feel like if I didn’t create something, I’d be… I don’t know, I don’t want to say depressed, but… I would be missing a huge chunk of what is important to me. So, I mean, my job—it’s a good job, but it’s to pay the bills. And there are parts of it I love, but it doesn’t take the place of creating things.


Can you talk about your relationship to your studio/work space?

I’ve lived in this house for about a year and a half, and so I’m still getting used to all the spaces. I never had a studio before. I do my pottery at Fort Boise Community Center, which I love, I really love that space. And then, at home, I usually worked at my kitchen counter and it works pretty well, except for that I have to put things away, which stinks. So, here, I tried to make a studio space in a room up front and it just did not work. Not enough light. And I think I like to be close to a sink for my paint brushes. So, I’ve tried to work out there and I think I’m getting to where that’s going to become the studio space. But I do find myself most often at the kitchen counter because I can listen to music, have my sink, and be warm.



How, when and where do you find opportunities to show your work?

Well, I haven’t been as good about it lately. I went through a period of years where I was showing in galleries pretty regularly. I had galleries in Oregon, California, and a couple here. Lately the most public that I’ve had my art shown is through public art, the traffic boxes, and the mural and things like that. Another place I get some inspiration, though, is that there’s a call for entries online. And I think at this point, since I’m not producing a body of work that quickly and it’s more piece by piece, sometimes I’ll look at that call for entries. I’d like to do more of that, but that also is a good source of inspiration for me, even if I don’t end up applying. I like looking at different parameters, it has to be this size or this topic. Those are good assignments for me.


What are your opinions of the art community here?

I wish that there was more of an art identity here and I don’t know what it would take to get there, but I think that the city is moving in the right direction towards that. But maybe it would be more… cooperative things going on.

I think about how we could make Boise more of a destination, to build its arts reputation. I think if people would come here and just fall in love with Boise then it would be the place they would come for a summer art lesson or to buy their art or, a workshop or whatever.


Any advice or inspiring words to other artists?

I think probably the advice or inspiring words would be what I need to tell myself more. However small your creative act is, do something every day that’s creative. I think that’s what keeps the river flowing.


Creators, Makers, & Doers highlights the lives and work of Boise artists and creative individuals. Selected profiles focus on individuals whose work has been supported by the Boise City Dept. of Arts & History.



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