BY NANCY HILLER
Furniture makers Ivy Siosi and Audim Culver are partners in life and work. The two women, both 32, formed Siosi Design + Build in 2012, working out of a drafty warehouse off the B-Line Trail. Since then, they have taken their enterprise from a tenuous startup to a successful business with customers from across the country commissioning their made-to-order desks, tables, seating, and kitchen islands.
Siosi and Culver have combined their skills in fine art, woodworking, and welding to produce a range of clean-lined, contemporary furniture inspired by Scandinavian design and Japanese joinery. Many of their pieces combine steel bases and solid wood tops embellished with geometric inlays.
Culver, a native of North Webster, Indiana, grew up spending half of each year in Bloomington as her parents thought it would be good for her and her sisters, Breesa and Alexis, to experience college-town culture. After graduating from Bloomington High School South in 2002, Culver majored in sociology and studio art at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida, then returned to Bloomington in 2009 to pursue an M.F.A. in photography at Indiana University.
While visiting her sister Alexis in North Carolina in 2010, Culver was reintroduced to Siosi, an old friend of her sister’s from college. Siosi grew up in Hendersonville, North Carolina; studied printmaking and sculpture at Warren Wilson College, near Asheville, North Carolina; spent a year teaching English in Taiwan; and became certified in automotive restoration at Blue Ridge Community College in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. By the summer of 2010, she was working in yet another field as a member of a high-rise window washing crew that serviced federal and state buildings in several southern states. “I did it for the money, the glory, and the freedom,” Siosi says. But those satisfactions were apparently no match for the mutual attraction between her and Culver. She moved to Bloomington full time in spring 2011.
Their professional partnership began when they joined forces to build the frames for Culver’s thesis show. “We worked well together,” says Culver. “And we just decided, ‘Let’s make furniture.’”