Carson Terry/Hossly (b. 1978, AZ), is a visual artist based in Portland, OR. “Carson takes
domestic objects—spoons, forks, drawer pulls, and combs—and reinterprets them,
creating iterations that are recognizable but unfamiliar. Their interest in cultural
ambiguity, disruption of normalcy, and material choice interrupts the viewer’s
expectation of the finished object, calling into question what is familiar and why. Their
reinterpretations of everyday objects challenge expectations and ask the user to rethink
the way these common, often underappreciated objects are cared for and considered.”
Solo exhibitions: Sunlan, Lowell, Shop House, Manuel Izquierdo Gallery.
Publications: Metalsmith, Architectural Digest, American Craft Magazine, Vogue Hong Kong,
HypeBeast, and Popeye Magazine
Excerpt from: "Metalsmith" magazine Vol. 43 No. 2. Look for the article titled
"Carson Terry: Reconsidering the Familiar" written by
What made you choose this career?
I always drew and sculpted and got really into working with clay during high school and
early twenties but a neighbour introduced me to forging copper. I felt like I met the
medium I was looking for. I liked how it seemed to be a good mix between clay and line
drawing. With clay I was always trying to get a sharp line and clean 90 degree edge
that I was so attracted to in drawing. Clay was round and soft and always shifting;
which frustrated me. Forging steel moves a lot like clay but looks like a line drawing
with crisp sharp edges. Aside from chasing lines, I figured metal would be a practical
choice. A material that would allow me to sculpt but also give me a practical skill to
Did you go through formal education? If so, what did you study and where? If not,
please explain your journey.
I went to Prescott College, Penland School of Craft and Oregon School of Art and
Craft, plus lots of random community college classes in clay, metal, drawing and
sculpture. When I enrolled at OCAC, they didn’t have the studio they had promised me
so I decided to drop out after a couple of years. Mostly because I looked at the tuition and figured if I spent that money on a shop I can teach myself. Though it was a good
thought, it didn’t quite work out that way for me. It’s taken me years to build a decent
metal shop and I still need lots of tools.
Did this have a positive or negative impact on your chosen career?
School definitely helped me in big ways and I’m very grateful for all my teachers. I still
plan to take more courses and would like to get back into teaching when I have more
time. The one other thing I will say about my learning process is that I started as a
metalsmith which I believe really helped me be a better blacksmith/welder fabricator. It
taught me detail and metal behaviour in a way that I don't think I would’ve understood
unless working with finer nonferrous metals on a small scale. Maybe because the
stakes are higher with the expensive metals or there’s a demand for a higher level of
craft skills especially working with small pieces? I don’t know but it sure helped me.
Who inspires you?
Writers, artists, builders, and Dharma teachers.
Silvia Federici, James Baldwin, Ocean Vuong, Andrew Hayes, Hiroko Yamada, Patrick
Staff, Pema Chodron, and Arinna Weisman to name a few.
What’s the scariest thing about your job and how have you overcome it?
The scariest thing about my job is running the business part of it. As a small business
owner running a one person shop I have to do everything: accounting, advertising,
photography, invoicing, budgeting, quoting etc. It's a lot of work on top of the actual
making of the pieces. Plus, I’m not good at it.
What advice would you give someone who is starting out in your field?
It’s great to share shops with other people in your field. If they’re working on something
that you haven’t done before, if they don’t mind, stop what you’re doing and watch.
Make friends with other builders and talk about design. I have a buddy that I go to
dinner with and we pick apart the walls, tables, rails, and design choices. We do this,
to figure out why the builders did what they did and whether we would do it the same
way or how it could be done better. It’s a lot of fun. It’s good to orient yourself to things
that have been built around you so that it can help you problem solve while working on
your own stuff.