Getting Cozy with Angela Zammarelli

March 22nd, 2011  |  by Published in featured artists  |  2 Comments

In a world increasingly full of sharp angles and hard lines, it’s refreshing (and necessary!) to find the soft spots. Angela Zammarelli creates nooks, nests, forts, sculptures, characters, objects and installations that breathe spunk, charm, and quirk into life. Angela is a gentle warrior, collecting the cobwebs from our imaginations and re-spinning them into fantastic reality.

Angela is a 2011 recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Fellowship in sculpture/installation.  She will have an installation and video up at the Brattleboro Art Museum for their In the Zone III exhibition opening April, 9th 2011.  She currently resides in Easthampton, MA and keeps a process blog at

What are you trying to communicate or explore in your work?

(exploring exploring)  I would say that I am exploring a domestic space, the characters’ functions or dysfunctions that inhabit the space, and the materials found there that are used to build it up, feather the nest, dress the space, …… My current body of work, “All the Trappings” is exploring material sickness and desire.  I am using lots of found cardboard to make structures (forts) that are decorated with magazine cutouts, textiles, and objects.  Sometimes a large doll can be found inside waiting around for its partner.

Where were you when you created one of your favorite works?

At Elsewhere Artist Collaborative in Greensboro, NC.  It was during my first visit in the summer of 2005.  I made a tea tent in a small room on the top floor.  The room was used in the former life of the building to store train travelers’ trunks and luggage.   The tea tent was a response to my time there learning about Sylvia Grey (the building and collections former owner) and touching and exploring her collection of textiles, objects, clothing, etc….  The building might be haunted so I decided to try and play games with maybe the ghost of Sylvia and in the tent there was two pillows for two occupants (her and I).

Elsewhere was a former “junk” store and in the past it had been a boarding house, furniture store, and army surplus store.  All of it run by Sylvia over, I think it was, 70 years.  Sylvia’s grandson George Scheer along with Stephanie Sherman are the directors of Elsewhere.   They have done an amazing job at growing the museum it has changed so much since I have been there and there have been so many amazing artists that have participated.

How do you see your art in relation to cultivating community, and how does community affect the work you make?

The way I gather material is very reliant upon community.  A lot of my material comes from the places I work, from free piles in the neighborhood I live (or others that I visit), trash, and hand me downs.  What is available is dependent on those around me.

I think that my enthusiasm as and artist to be working on my own work but also experience other artists’ works is key to cultivating a community.  I like to share information on all sorts of things, deadlines for shows and residencies, materials and techniques, books, projects…. And I appreciate it when information gets shared with me.

I have work that really needs the community that I do not necessarily know personally and its support in order to be realized.  I would say an example of this is my Portable Doll Fort.  The piece is a mound sewn together out of these handmade stuffed creatures that I had made over the years.  The mound is put on and worn into a public space (I have done this several times in downtown Northampton).  It is about protection and buffering but also engaging and trying to charm people.  I hope that I spark some conversation and shared experience for those who become engaged with the piece.

What is your spirit animal?


What spaces in Northampton are you most curious to see inside of, or to make work in?

I am curious to see inside the round house next to the bus station and the round house on Conz Ave.  There is a  large Victorian house on Rte 9 going west from downtown that looks like the building that my grandmother, who was a nurse,  ran her nursing home in.  I wonder if the layout is the same or different.

I really love the top level of the parking garage behind Thornes.  I feel that the land around the Northampton community gardens and the burial ground from the former Northampton State Hospital is a place I would like to engage with more.

What are some strategies you use to sustain your art practice (while living in the Northampton area)?

Along with having a distinct body of work going, I like to do exercises.  These are many times private explorations of, I guess I will say, whatever.  Balancing, touching, gathering, smelling, tasting, looking, putting, listening, finding, drawing, writing, moving, and placing.  I mention these exercises because like many artists I have a job outside of the studio and am not currently able to be in there full time so these explorations, absorptions, and tests are important to my practice and feed into my concepts and visual vocabulary.

I have really great friends.

Drawing club on Thursday nights.

I apply to shows, residencies, and grants regularly.

I try to go to shows, open studios and artist talks as much as possible

I try to find jobs outside of the studio that relate to what I am working on in the studio if possible.

What 5 items do you always carry with you?

Most times I will have wallet, spoon, keys, small digital camera, and cell phone.  Once it hits the time of year when I don’t wear my coat, keys would be the answer.


  1. Sarah Bliss says:

    March 22nd, 2011at 11:26 pm(#)

    Thanks for giving us a look inside your world, Angela. Balancing, finding, moving, placing: yes, these activities/exercises/actions can bring very rich and valuable information/experience/insight. Thanks for holding them up as part of your practice.

  2. justin durand says:

    March 22nd, 2011at 11:39 pm(#)

    Awesome lady! Awesome interview!

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