Jessica Pezalla


Jessica Pezalla

Artist/Designer, Founder of Bramble Workshop

Portland, OR

Twitter @brambleworkshop
Instagram @brambleworkshop
pinterest: brambleworkshop


What do you do?

I’m the art director and founder of Bramble Workshop, a design studio based in Portland, OR. We create one-of-a-kind retail displays, event decor, and art installations for commercial and residential spaces.

How did you start Bramble Workshop?

I started Bramble Workshop after years of having a day job as a graphic designer and creating my own art on the side. I realized that I had to find a way to use my skills as an artist full time and that showing in galleries wasn’t the right path for me. I worked briefly at Anthropologie as a window display designer and this taught me the basic skills needed to start Bramble Workshop. My first job (and lucky break) was designing a window for Hermes, after being recommended by a friend. They took a chance on me and that window captured the attention of a creative director in Paris. We have been working together since.

In terms of event decor, my first client was Bash, Please. They hired me to create some key elements for the Cream Event- it was a high profile project and led to other jobs in the Los Angeles wedding and event design world.

Bramble Workshop grew quickly because I was able to tap into a niche market for hand-crafted, one-of-a-kind objects, decorations, and installations. It’s absolutely a dream job and one that challenges my creativity on a daily basis.

Give us a specific example of how you do your job like a BOSS. 

My background in sculpture makes me uniquely suited to my job, but I think my real strength is my ability to collaborate with clients. It’s important for me to create something the client really loves, not just to further my artistic vision.


What's your best advice for someone who wants to get into your field?

When you’re first starting out I think it’s beneficial to say yes to as many projects as possible. If they’re unpaid or low paying, make sure you’ll get photo usage and credit on social media. In my field, the most important thing is the visuals, so having strong work that is beautifully presented is essential.

Of all the skills you use, which one do you wish you could do more often?

In a way, most of my jobs involve the same skill- creating an art installation- but in very different contexts (a store window, an event, an interior).  I love the challenges of working in all of these contexts but, as an environmentalist, I would love to do more projects that are permanent.

What is frustrating you right now? 

Moving from Los Angeles to Portland has been a challenge because most of our clients are in LA. I’ve had to define the different ways that we can work with clients nationally and this has been very useful and necessary step. For larger projects in LA, I travel there for installs, but I also have a team there that I can work with from Portland.

There is always a lot of trust and improvisation involved in running your own business, and this move has been a great opportunity for growth, on multiple levels. I’m still figuring out the details, but I’m lucky to be able to live in a city and environment that I love while working both locally and nationally.

What are you putting off right now, but you know you have to get to, but you haven’t had the time?

I desperately need a new logo and the branding that goes with it!  Bramble Workshop launched so quickly that I didn’t have time for carefully considered branding. I drew the logo myself and, while it’s adequate, I would love something more elegant and versatile.

If you could hire someone for $20/hour, what would you have them do to make your day easier?

It would be great to have help with bookkeeping, writing and editing blog posts and newsletters, and researching new opportunities for Bramble Workshop. Basically, I just want to be designing and creating as much as possible!

What are all the tools (digital or physical) you use on a regular basis?

I use Photoshop, inDesign (and colored pencils and paper!) for putting together proposals.  Braid Creative offers useful tools (worksheets, newsletters) for starting and running a creative business- the coaching I did with them was an integral part of starting Bramble Workshop.  For fabrication of projects and for making prototypes I use a wide variety of hand tools and my heavy duty sewing machine.

Some of my favorite sources for materials are Blick for art supplies and paper, Dharma Trading Co for fabric dye, Collage in Portland for craft supplies, Hiromi Paper for Japanese paper, Knot & Rope Supply for rope and string, and the Fabric District in LA for fabric.


If you could talk to an expert to gain more insight on something, what would it be about? 

I would love to work with an expert to establish a long term plan and marketing strategy for Bramble Workshop. It’s easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day projects without stepping back and looking at the big picture.

What are you working on right now?

I’m currently working on a window display for the Hermès in DC- it will be installed in April. This is my seventh window design for them and I think it’s one of my favorites. I’m also working on event decor for two high-end events by Caravents. I designed a large scale installation for J Marx Atelier and it was recently installed in a Beverly Hills office space. Also coming up are workshops for West Elm and Tillamook Station in Portland, a DIY collaboration with The House That Lars Built, a window display for Starflower (a florist in Portland), and a paper installation collaboration with Hello!Lucky.


What kind of projects are you looking for?

It would be great to find another window display client to work with on a regular basis because it’s great to have a long-term relationship and get to understand the brand. I would also love to create another large-scale permanent installation for a commercial space. And I always enjoy smaller, hand-crafted projects like custom table linens and home decor.


Describe your ideal collaboration. 

I dream of someday sharing Bramble Workshop with a partner, because I thrive on collaboration, and hopefully one day I’ll find the right person! I admire the way that my friends Linsey and Crystal of INDO work together and create such amazing, ambitious projects.

How should someone approach you about working with you? 

An email is great!  Also, depending on the project, visuals like a Pinterest board are helpful so that I can get a sense of what you’re looking for.


This member profile was originally published on March 2015.