Jen Cogliantry of COG
Photographer: Will Mebane
How would you describe your style?
My personal style is pragmatically minimalist with a hint of subtle architecture. In regard to my work, I am interested in exploring materials and form, particularly with fibers, weaving, and sculpture, resulting in tactile adornment that embody a subtle bohemian vibe.
Do you remember the first thing you made?
The piece that launched COG was an oversized woven cuff inspired by a bracelet I wore as a child while sailing on Lake Eerie which I made as a gift for a friend.
Before I started making I... I ran a small design studio in NYC called 3+CO along with my two sisters. I was the art + design director and our projects ranged from packaging to branding.
If I weren’t a maker, I’d be... I would be an architect.
Favorite quote or words to live by: “Taking in the good, whenever and wherever we find it, gives us new eyes for seeing and living.” ― Krista Tippett
If you could collaborate with one person dead or alive who would it be? I would be honored to spend time (let alone collaborate) with Sheila Hicks or James Turrell, both artists that I am equally in awe of. They both push the boundaries of the materials and space they work within so magically.
If I could run away, I’d go... I’d grab my passport, throw a dart at a map, and get lost. If I had to be more calculated, I would return to Japan and learn about indigo dye techniques with Buaisou
What are you most thankful for? I am so very grateful for my supportive family, the community of creative souls in my life who constantly inspire me, and each day that I get to turn on my studio lights, make new things, and grow creatively.
What would be on your “maker’s soundtrack? My “makers soundtrack” is an eclectic mix. On any given day in the studio, there is a heavy rotation of classic bossa nova, jazz, and house music with a little classical thrown in. I am a huge fan of World Wide FM from Giles Peterson, so when I need something new, this is a great place to discover new sounds.
If you could learn a new skill what would it be? Much of what I create for COG is self-taught. My jewelry isn’t carved from wax but formed from cotton thread or polymer clay. I would love to learn how to carve properly from wax and apply that to my practice. I would also like to learn more about surface design and weaving techniques.
Favorite Scent? It's a toss-up between eucalyptus and sandalwood.
Favorite Flower or Tree? The Monkey Tail tree (Araucaria araucana) is my favorite with its tightly repeated, spiny scales. It is native to central and southern Chile and western Argentina.
What is the most challenging project you have worked on? Why? I completed my first large-scale commission—a knotted, latch-hooked, and appliqued tapestry—this past fall.
What do you see outside your bedroom window? My garden is outside my bedroom window. I can't wait for spring to arrive along with the birds and blossoming trees. With any luck, a few interloping parrots from Greenwood Cemetery (Brooklyn, NY) visit us again this summer!
What do you hear right now? I hear the distant hum of the BQE and birds singing in my garden.
Favorite podcast? I recently discovered the podcast Helga with Helga Davis and the Brown Arts Institute. and I also love On The Media with Brooke Gladstone.
Best piece of advice you have ever received? Work hard, but be kind. — My Mom, Esther Harte
Where did you grow up? In Tokyo, Japan
Favorite time of day? First thing in the morning when the world is quiet, before my husband and daughter are awake and I have a coffee in hand.
What is your most treasured possession? My family.
If you could have a superpower, what would it be? Fly like a bird.