We had the good fortune of connecting with Ragne Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ragne, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
Happiness is an interesting concept! What is happiness? What makes one happy? I have been happily married, I have beautiful children, a great job, by all parameters: I am happy. It took me years to understand, the deeper meaning of being happy. After years of trying to fit in, I realized: I’m not pizza, not everyone likes me! That freedom of finding yourself and being content with who you are makes me happy. So now, I can officially say. It makes me happy to be me, to be an artist, to be a wife-mother. Having found the true meaning of my own happiness, I can finally enjoy silly little things that make me happy: Bold and bright colors, the smell after the rain, helping a fellow man, dancing in the grocery store aisle. Little things in life make me happy. Sounds like a hippie thing, right? If it makes you happy, go for it!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
My medium is furniture, mostly upholstered furniture. And it’s impossible to look past the pieces I make, be it in admiration or side eye thinking “WTH is that?”. They are bright, bold and over the top, functional pieces of art. Aka. every piece, no matter how many bells and whistles includes, is functional piece of furniture. Getting to where I am now has taken years and years of hard work and determination, sleepless nights, sweat, tears and curse words. Being able to be in a place where you can just create, makes the journey seem like “nothing”. Due to lack of formal upholstery education in the states, learning upholstery has probably been the biggest challenge. But one who seeks knowledge, finds it. Felix Hart creates functional art, but there is more to every piece I touch. Every choice of color, fabric, paint has a meaning behind it. Every piece of furniture has a story, and I am able to add a chapter to that story. How exciting that is?! Being able to keep furniture off the landfill and giving neglected antiques a new life, is fulfilling in its own. I am also quite excited about being a female in a very male dominated field, hopefully encouraging other ladies to take the leap and chaise their dreams, may it be upholstery, being a mechanic or anything and everything else considered “unconventional”.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would take my friend to all the hidden gems in town. Selda (Zelda?) restaurant in Dallas. Good ol’e Texas BBQ at the Feedstore, in Southlake. Art galleries in Dallas. Perot Museum. Outdoor areas, local lakes. The Stockyards and other tourist-y areas.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Professional Upholsterer’s Network on Facebook is probably been the best asset to my career. We now have over 3000 professional upholsterers around the world. The group provides education, camaraderie and support, knowing, you are not alone. (Many upholsterers work alone.) The support from my family, specially my husband, is invaluable. My husband is my biggest cheerleader and on days, when I feel like I cannot do anything, he is the person who picks me up, and reminds me, I indeed can do anything I put my mind to.