Arts and Media
Olivia Crowley is a product designer for Urban Lumber, a custom furniture shop in Springfield, Oregon, that uses sustainably salvaged wood. No two days are the same for Crowley who makes sure table designs that work on paper and the computer also work on the shop floor.
Crowley has always been interested in art, having spent most of her time in second-grade sculpting and working with clay. While much of her designing happens on the computer, Crowley still sees her job as a form of sculpting, just without wasting materials. “I don’t have to scrap anything. There’s just an undo button.”
Crowley did lots of design jobs in college — making t-shirts and posters — and eventually landed a graphic design job for a local web development company. She also took a furniture design class while in school and loved being in the woodshop.
For Crowley, the most satisfying part of her job is completing projects, each unique and demanding considerable care. The shop requires woodworking, comfort with fractions, and lots of measuring. It also requires being open to suggestions from teammates. But Crowley loves the challenge and finds inspiration in the chairs and tables she sees at stores and restaurants.
Having responsibility can be intimidating sometimes, but I think that, you know, we’re all doing a little bit better than we give ourselves credit for. And everybody has imposter syndrome. So even though I love my job, it’s something that I still work with nowadays.
Now go in-depth with Olivia in an extended Q & A session!
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