Under the Influence: Mary L Chan

From stunning leather bags to the most cozy catch-alls and dog beds, we asked Mary L Chan to introduce herself and tell us a bit about her brilliant brand.

"I am from Malaysia, raised in Hong Kong and Singapore, studied English Literature & Queer Theory in Scotland and New York, and then Interior Architecture in NYC.  I established Studio Bartleby in 2005, which focused on the practice of interiors and furniture design, and then launched Bartleby Objects in 2016. 

I describe Bartleby Objects as a multi-disciplinary design studio, making objects of use for the home and individual.  I try to design goods that fulfill a practical need but also express a kind of desire or power.  Our products are made on a very intimate scale - one at a time, by hand, always with sustainability and technique in mind." -Mary


1. What is your favorite part of the creative process? 

When it’s complete.  Philosophically I enjoy process, but constitutionally I like to get the thing done and move on, so my favorite part is when it’s finished. 


2. What is your favorite creation that you have brought to existence?

My business, a.k.a an experiment in making a living.  I started at 26 without a clue, and it feels like a miracle that I’m still free to do this thing. 


3. What aesthetic are you most drawn to? 

Anything that feels a bit "Frankenstein" or slightly incorrect.  I like the aesthetics of the past – the detail and attention to beauty – but I know that’s all a trap because those lived experiences of that aesthetic, especially for women, were not very la-di-da.  For women, the past looked great, but the future is definitely better.  So I especially like a look of things that shouldn’t be together, or contradictory, like Victorian futurism or romantic Brutalism.  It feels optimistic and a little bit defiant.   


4. What is your favorite room in the home? 

My bedroom.  I love to sleep. 


5. What is your favorite design from Sunny’s Pop? 

Oh, that’s a hard choice.  I love Ovo Ceramics Checked Fabric Mug and anything Ann Ladson makes is pure glory. 

 Sunnys Pop | under the influence | Mary L Chan | leather work        Sunnys pop | under the influence | mary chan | ann ladson | forged flatware

photo credit for sewing picture: Elizabeth LoPiccolo (still from video collaboration)