Collette Collins is an architectural artist custom-sculpting residential, commercial and public spaces into functional design. Her award-winning creations are showcased in restaurants, feature films, museums, and private homes. Her experience designing and building unique furniture and cabinetry spans 30 years. She has worked in furniture restoration, cabinetmaking, set design, prop building, sculpting, set decoration, display, commercial estimating and project management for all manners of permanent and impermanent structure.

Her love of art led her to first study music, (that’s Collette’s composition backing the video) – and then Fine Arts at Cabrillo College and San Francisco State University. Today she finds inspiration in a host of sources and materials. Her latest love – encaustic painting – combining leather, rubber, acrylic, exotic veneer and salvaged wood- has ignited a firestorm of new and exciting ideas. Like a three-dimensional collage, these materials have limitless versatility in her hands to take on almost any characteristic or style.

A Little Background, or How She Got Here:

Collette was reinventing her environment from early on. If Collette needed something, she figured out how to make it–building forts, go-carts and skateboards using whatever materials were on hand, like roller skate wheels. It’s not hard to see where this drive came from. Her mother, Joan, is a creative dynamo who can paint, draw, sew, make costumes, do ceramics and generally fix anything. This fascinated Collette. Once, when Collette was working on a sixth grade science project on the heart, her mother grabbed a piece of Styrofoam, carved it up, découpaged it with string and wax, and – voila! – Instant heart. Through her mom, Collette began to see that ordinary materials could be transformed into extraordinary things.

Another major influence on Collette was her eccentric Aunt Dorothy, whom she visited regularly on her houseboat. As an oil painter, Dorothy often incorporated wood as an added textural element into her paintings. One day, when Collette was visiting, carving tools were on hand. Collette picked up a piece of driftwood and Aunt Dorothy asked, “What do you see?”. At that point, Collette began looking at objects differently. She started carving signs in her garage as gifts for friends and family.

All of these experiences have shaped Collette’s unique vision. They have given her the wise hands of a craftsperson and the vision of an artist.

She also cultivated the art of listening because Collette knows that listening to the client’s needs is key to creating the right environment.

For more about how the design process works, click here.

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