Shout Out Saturday is a series meant to highlight real and singular women and non-binary people, in a variety of lines of work, both ‘known’ and unknown, from across the country.
Chelsea Van Voorhis is an artist and woodworker that creates home goods, sculpture, and fashion forward wearable art using wood veneer. Every piece she makes is completely one-of-a-kind and a direct reflection of her emotions when it is made, often including political and social commentary. After spending 10 years in the fashion industry in New York City she moved to Maine to study furniture design. Chelsea uses traditional woodworking techniques to create very non-traditional art.
Glitter Box: The most real, most honest piece of advice you have for someone working their way up in your field (or any field).
Chelsea: Collect a lot of opinions and then choose which ones to follow and which ones to ignore.
Glitter Box: What do you think is the most important thing we need to do to achieve a more equitable and just society?
Chelsea: The first step is white folx need to listen more and talk less, and we need to use our privilege and platforms to uplift the BIPOC community.
Glitter Box: What does your artistic/creative process look like? Is there a particular project or piece you're excited about right now?
Chelsea: My process is mostly dictated by my emotions, oddly enough, I'm most productive when I'm anxious, sad, or upset. Right now I am working on a Sha'Carri Richardson piece* because I am enraged about the inequitable punishment she is facing for legally smoking weed. The fact that I am a white person that financially benefits from the cannabis industry, but she is a woman of color and is being punished for it is a glowing red flag of systemic racism in this country.
*I will not be selling that piece because, as a white woman, I should not be financially benefiting from appropriation, I just made it for myself because she's an inspiration and a badass.
Glitter Box: Why New Orleans? What does creating in New Orleans mean to you?
Chelsea: I moved to New Orleans in November of 2020 and since then my work has done a complete 180. The history, culture, and general vibes have inspired me to work in completely new styles and imagery. I would never have done vagina or skull art while living in Maine. I absolutely love that everyone down here is authentically themselves and it has given me more confidence to be more adventurous in my work.
Glitter Box: How does creating/making influence the way you interact with the world?
Chelsea: I see inspiration everywhere, it can be something I see or do, a story on the news, or a history lesson. Once inspiration hits, there is nothing that can stop my brain until I start that project.
Glitter Box: What does success look like to you? What are you working towards/striving for?
Chelsea: Success to me is being able to pay all my bills and have health insurance by doing what I love.