Spotlight: iamhome

“In the vastness of space and the immensity of time, it is my joy to share a planet and an epoch with Annie” – ­Carl Sagan

We fell in love within moments of meeting each other in an art store in Chicago ten years ago. Since then we have attended grad school at SAIC, traveled, and sought adventure together. We make objects that inspire us, make us smile, and push our own creativity. We love iamhome because of its playful color, scientific quirkiness and its ability to grow with our ever expanding interests.

With iamhome we strive to make colorful, imaginative and playful objects and decor that will reside in your home and be that thing you cannot look at without smiling. Over the last five years we have grown from a few products to working with design firms on large projects, working one on one with customers on custom projects and expanding our increasing line of products.

iamhome is Sarah and Joseph Belknap.

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Tell us a little bit about yourselves and what you do. We are a couple that’s been together for 10 years and we collaborate on fine art, teach together and run iamhome. iamhome is a designed objects company we started to financially support our fine art and has now become our day job. We make a chalkboard skull line that consists of skulls that are in the human family tree, colorful wall pieces we call fences and a series of one of a kind trophies among other items.

­Top 3 favorite or most visited websites and why?
1. 101 Cookbooks ­ We live in Cicero and there aren’t many places to eat around here. We have become very good cooks at this point and this food blog is vital.
2. NASA.gov ­ You can access an enormous database of NASA images here.
3. Advanced Style ­ We want to dress like this always.

How has living in Chicago affected your work? We love living in Chicago. We started iamhome on a bit of a whim and the support from local businesses and Renegade Craft Fair has been amazing. We have developed many close relationships with store owners and their generosity is overwhelming.

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­What kinds of things are influencing your work right now? Color has been one of the biggest influences in our work from the start. It still plays a major role in all of the work we do at iamhome. We are also very interested in using iamhome as a place to play and make work that makes us laugh.

What are some recent, upcoming or current projects you are working on? We just finished a pretty big order for a CB2 limited edition line. We made 300 fluorescent orange bookend skulls and 250 gold plated thumbs up trophies. It was one of the most intense projects we have done with iamhome. We as well as our studio assistants slept for a week right after we loaded the pallets on the truck.

This month we are working with a biologist­ who works at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and is part of Project Passenger Pigeon­ to make plastic casts of a true to life carving of a passenger pigeon. The passenger pigeon went into extinction in 1914 and Project Passenger Pigeon aims to celebrate this animal and to bring awareness to current issues related to human caused extinction. We are thrilled to be a part of this project.

iamhome_skulls

What products or companies are you interested in right now? We are really into Papafoxtrot wooden satellites. We love them all and will slowly collect all of them. Also we want to 3D print and The 3D Printer Experience in Chicago is extremely exciting for us. We are hoping to work with them in the near future.

Who would you ideally like to collaborate with? We really want to work with other artists to help them manufacture products. Ideally in the next few years we will bring in other artists to iamhome who have ideas for objects that we can fund and help them make with the skills we are versed in.

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­What do you want a viewer to walk away with after experiencing your work? Curiosity­ and we want to make them laugh.

­What’s your absolute favorite place in the city/the world to be? Right now it’s the Garfield Park Conservatory. It’s been so cold and gray in Chicago that we get pretty antsy and the only place that seems to relieve the grayness is walking around in a warm place filled with plants. They are open late on Wednesdays and it is a perfect place to bring carry­-out to and have dinner.

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­What are you reading right now?
Joseph: The Windup Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami
Sarah: The Varieties of Scientific Experience by Carl Sagan

­Describe your current studio or workspace. Our studio is a converted four car brick garage. It’s been undergoing renovations for the past four years and has much more to come but we love it. We have a “clean” space which doubles as an indoor basketball court and a ping pong arena. The other section of the studio houses our shop and office space. It’s cluttered and filled with iamhome and our fine art practice and it is extremely warm since we installed a gas heater two years ago.

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­Can you share one of the best or worst reactions you have gotten as a result of your work? We have been making a lot of custom trophies lately and we made one for a woman who was leaving her job at the Violet Hour. All of the employees chipped in and they sent us photos of her holding it with a huge smile and holding back the tears. They told us she was crying and showing it to everyone on New Year’s Eve.