Cornelia Peterson

Cornelia Peterson is an artist and floral designer living and working in the USA. Cornelia emphasizes the natural beauty by foraging all materials herself and embracing the imperfection.

If you had access to all the powers, how would you improve the world?
I would shift the reality of what we’ve created into a sustainable way of life. Create land with clean water, clean energy, and remove the need to change people’s minds about any of it, because it would simply be the way of the world.

What are the biggest sustainability challenges in your work and how are you addressing them?
A challenge in sustainability, for me, is the source of the wood I use. I try to make sure any wood I purchase, or find, is not contributing to the loss of land, or polluting it with chemicals. Since I work on a small scale, the size allows me to waste very little of the wood, finding function for most scraps.

Which conscious lifestyle choices are you making? And are you considering any new ones?
I am working very hard to eliminate plastics from my household, as well as in the wood shop. Something I am working on and considering is how to clean up the energy use in my household.

What have you rebelled against in the past, and what are you rebelling against now?
In the past, I have rebelled against the concept that bigger is better in the wood world. I was taught surrounded by people who wanted to get larger and larger in the size of work they create, where I find myself going smaller and smaller as I sort through the scrap piles. Now, I find myself rebelling further into pushing the boundaries of functionality. I want my work to be usable, but just barely, untying the boundary between a piece of art and a functional object.

Do you need to be a rebel to enjoy your work?
No, I think my work can be enjoyed by a multitude of people coming from all walks of life. Some may find it more uncomfortable or strange, but I find that’s what drives me, to push their boundaries and concepts of utilitarian function vs art.

Do you think cutlery can still be improved? If yes, in what way?
The concept of cutlery can be improved by being redefined, and reworked into something more people can appreciate, instead of something that is overlooked every day.

What was the inspiration for your Steinbeisser pieces?
Most of the wood was collected from a forest burn area and felt like giving new life to otherwise forgotten trees. I allow each piece to inspire me and guide itself into creation.

Describe your work in 3 words!
Unbound. Nebulous. Inspired.

What has been your favorite dinner experience?
I ate in a hoop house on a farm with many friends where each ingredient was grown, or foraged, aside from the meat. You could taste the care put into every dish.

What excites you about tomorrow?
The opportunity for inspiration to strike and to be able to create something out of it.