Woonder Interview / by Nelli Arnth

This month I have been interviewed by the German digital design magazine WoonderZine.
Read the full interview in english here:

What does Hönshuset mean and what does it mean to you?

Oh, that’s a long story.

I’m named after my Grandma who lived in a beautiful old country house at the Danish West Coast. Last year my husband and I decided to move out of the city, and into a small apartment in Grandma’s house. Opposite the apartment was the old hen house. My Grandfather had renovated it himself, installing windows and electricity. It was cosy and a perfect fit for my new little studio. I decided to jump into it – being a full-time entrepreneur living side by side with my beloved grandma.

Therefore, it was quite a shock when she died last May. Leaving us in deep sorrow and confused about the future.

Somehow though, it gave me the strength to buy the house, quit my full-time job, move to the middle of nowhere on a freezing January day and start the studio anyway.

I considered changing the name, since I wouldn’t be working in the old henhouse (yet at least). But also I found that the story was now part of my studio-journey. And I liked it that way. There to remind me to act on my dream, to love a little harder and to not take life for granted. Not tomorrow, but today.

Your life and work is set in and focused on nature. How do you select the motives of your prints?

My head is doing a constant brainstorm. So many ideas are emerging, I try to keep track with them by writing them down – or even better I do a quick visualization of the concept or idea.

So I have this idea-database. When I have time in my calendar, I pick a project and start working on it. Sometimes the ideas work, sometimes they don’t. Either way I like the process.

 

What would you love to create that is not a print?

I have a crush on ceramics and consider to take some ceramic beginner classes someday. I miss that analogue feeling. Every part of my work had been digitalized, and when working with ceramics you literally get your hands dirty.

Which product do you use every day and why? 

My Mac.

It was love at first sight when my parents gave a toy-laptop when I was around 6. It had a small handle and I brought it with me everywhere I went. That’s still the case today – 20 years later.

What’s your favorite design piece in the world and why?

The PH5 lamp by the Danish architect Poul Henningsen.

It fascinates me when design is timeless and the functionality sublime. The lamp hung in my childhood home, and today I am lucky enough to own 3 of them. All inherited when we brought the countryside house. They are really old, but still look and works perfectly. That really says something about the quality.

 

Your business phone is ringing. You would freak out most if … calls and why.

    …it was Stefan Sagmeister inviting me to New York City to work on a project with him and Jessica. He has inspired me a lot through the years, and I got really starstruck when I saw him on stage at We love graphic design in Copenhagen.

Who are your icons? 

There are so many people out there who inspires me. They are very different, but they all have in common that they are hugely passionate about something. Those kind of people who really wears their passion. I love that!

You travel a lot. What's the most inspirational place on earth in your eyes?

New York City. That vibe. That feeling. It gives me chills just thinking about it.

 
A couple of years ago I spent 2,5 month in NYC. The first part I lived on Upper West Side and later in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It was the summer of my life.

A couple of years ago I spent 2,5 month in NYC. The first part I lived on Upper West Side and later in Fort Greene, Brooklyn. It was the summer of my life.


I am most proud of … 

That’s a difficult one.

I guess it’s my willpower when I set myself a goal. In periods of my life I have lived on oatmeal and water to safe up money for my future travel adventure. During my studies I even went through the supermarkets garbage containers to collect free food. One summer we found 36 liters of wine. It was awesome.

I'm not a competitive person. I'm more introverted. I expect a lot from myself. It sounds strange, but I work really hard on living a happy life. It is my goal. To create a happy life filled with the things I love.

In the beginning I didn’t dare to say it out loud. If I told people that the long-term goal for my future company was to live a happy, creative and balanced life, they probably would have confused me with being lazy and not having the guts it takes to be self-employed. But nothing could be more wrong. It is the strongest motivation I have ever felt.
 

What keeps you busy at the moment and what are your future plans? 

The last six months I have been focusing on getting started. Building daily routines, working for clients and personal projects, building business strategies, understanding how to do accounting, how to report taxes and so on. I didn’t dare to look up, I was afraid that somebody would poke my shoulder and tell me that the holiday was over. It has taken me a while to understand that running my own studio actually goes pretty well!

So this summer has been all about making long-term plans. Where will Hönshuset be in 1, 2 and 5 years. That is a pretty awesome process! I actually do mental training 3 times a week focusing on my dreams and goals. It is a topic that I take really serious.