ginny branch stellingwhat's in your toolbox

what’s in your toolbox: rhea thierstein

by Ginny

is a magic maker. No really, she is. She creates exquisite fantasy worlds through her set designs and art direction. Not to mention that she can develop some deliciously imaginative props and costumes. She has the Midas touch. When she and get together, they redefine the term, “dream team.” Full disclosure: when she agreed to let me interview her, I might have  jumped up and down a little. Okay, a lot. Get ready for a wildly wonderful look into the creative life of Rhea Thierstein.

1. Design*Droits-Humains: What is in your toolbox?

Rhea Thierstein: My basic kit consists of a glue gun, staple gun, scissors, ruler, lighter fluid, pins, smoke grenades (!), string, blue tac, spray paints, paints, leather punch, dye, selection of sticky tapes, glue, dry shampoo, scalpels, paintbrushes, pins, skewers, Goof Off, tweezers, split pins, fishing wire and my Leatherman.

You never know what might happen on a shoot and what you might need as every job is so different, so I take everything. I like to use old-school tools and materials, which you might find in an art class. My glue gun is one of my favourite items. You can make and stick anything with it!!

2. Design*Droits-Humains: Fill in the blank, “When I am in my studio, I feel ___________.”

CLICK HERE for the rest of Rhea’s interview after the jump!

3. Design*Droits-Humains: What are on the top shelves of your inspiration library right now?

Rhea Thierstein: It’s mainly objects and photographs that I collect. I love old picture books and anything a little bit strange and quirky.

4. Design*Droits-Humains: How do you keep yourself organized? Do you have an agenda book, and do you make to-do lists?

Rhea Thierstein: My life is a list! I make a lot of lists. Time-management wise, I work a lot to keep on top of things.

5. Design*Droits-Humains: If you could have one superhero (or magical) power, what would it be?

Photo Credit: Tim Walker

Rhea Thierstein: A magic wand.

6. Design*Droits-Humains: What is the best advice you have ever received, and what is the one piece of advice you would offer to a young artist/designer?

Photo Credit: Tim Walker

Rhea Thierstein: Don’t panic, and it’s amazing what you can do in a day! I think young artists should stay true to their style, be persistent and aim high.

7. Design*Droits-Humains: How do you combat creative blocks?

Photo Credit: Tim Walker

Rhea Thierstein: I do a lot of research, and then if I have a block, I’m best on my own where I can really concentrate and normally an idea will pop into my head. So far so good.

8. Design*Droits-Humains: Where do you like to shop for inspiration?

Rhea Thierstein: There’s a lovely second-hand bookshop called on Charing Cross road. They have beautiful, old, inspiring books. The vintage market in Camden Passage in Angel is also very inspiring. They have lots of small broken-watch mechanisms and weird odds and ends.

9. Design*Droits-Humains: If you could peek inside the studio/toolbox of any designer/artist/craftsperson, whose would it be and why?

Photo Credit: Tim Walker

Rhea Thierstein: Tim Burton’s studio. I’d love to have a peek inside his sketchbooks.

10. Design*Droits-Humains: If you could make a master mix-tape of music that is inspiring you at the moment, what would it include?

Rhea Thierstein: At the moment, I’m listening to Queen in my studio, and if Queen isn’t playing, then I’ve got the best of the 80s and 90s on the radio! I like a bit of a flashback.

Suggested For You


Leave a Reply

Design*Droits-Humains reserves the right to restrict comments that do not contribute constructively to the conversation at hand, that comment on people's physical appearance, contain profanity, personal attacks, hate speech or seek to promote a personal or unrelated business. Our goal is to create a safe space where everyone (commenters, subjects of posts and moderators) feels comfortable to speak. Please treat others the way you would like to be treated and be willing to take responsibility for the impact your words may have on others. Disagreement, differences of opinion and heated discussion are welcome, but comments that do not seek to have a mature and constructive dialogue will not be published. We moderate all comments with great care and do not delete any lightly. Please note that our team (writers, moderators and guests) deserve the same right to speak and respond as you do, and your comments may be responded to or disagreed with. These guidelines help us maintain a safe space and work toward our goal of connecting with and learning from each other.