THRIFTER'S PARADISE

Oh, Atlanta (well, Decatur if you're local and know the difference). Our traffic may suck, our politics may be questionable, and culturally we are still playing catch-up to most other major cities but Y'ALL. I think we might be in a thrifters paradise. I have within a 5 mile radius of my home at least 15 thrift shops. They range from the crusty, disorganized messes to the well laid out, higher end shops. The junky ones have my heart. The thrill of the hunt is always just minutes from my home. My sister lived in Portland for years and would just flip out when we'd go thrifting on her visits. She would do a total wardrobe stock for her boys in 2 trips to the thrifts here. Apparently super hipster cities like Portland get totally picked over. Kudos to us for not being too cool for our own good.

 So many of my favorite finds are on display on the open shelves in our kitchen; ceramic bowls, canisters, and dishes, baskets, Catherine Holm bowls, wooden spoons. 

So many of my favorite finds are on display on the open shelves in our kitchen; ceramic bowls, canisters, and dishes, baskets, Catherine Holm bowls, wooden spoons. 

The near entirety of my children's wardrobes are thrifted. Most of their toys and books. Most of my book purchases in the last few years. Accent tables. Lamps. Ceramics, Cookware (looking at you, 3 different Le Creuset pieces). Fabric. Sewing supplies. Yarn. Textiles. Art. If you look at any one corner of my house, I would guess at least 60% of it is secondhand. 

 A totally insane find at a recent estate sale. Two vintage LeCreuset pots for $10. 

A totally insane find at a recent estate sale. Two vintage LeCreuset pots for $10. 

More recently I'm starting to hit up some incredible estate sales. The route from our house to our girls' school winds past a big, ambling neighborhood filled with lovely 50's ranches and 60's split levels situated on large lots with tons of trees and lots of character. For whatever reason I think of it as kind of the more grown up version of our hood. As the original residents in the hood are aging out of their homes ESTATE SALE signs keep popping up on the edges of the neighborhood. So hard not to at least take a peek when I'm going right by ;) 

 Love these little wooden spoons, tiny ceramic planters, and woven basket from an estate sale. All are used daily!

Love these little wooden spoons, tiny ceramic planters, and woven basket from an estate sale. All are used daily!

I went to one such sale this week. The house itself was a time capsule from the 50's, original paneling, kitchen, mod fireplace, etc. These folks seemed to be so well read, cultured, and travelled. Awesome collections of books, music, art, textiles, leather goods, ceramics, baskets from all over the world. I was seriously in heaven. I had both Fiona and Julian with me (nutter) but still managed to find some things I will treasure forever. The hand cut and painted metal ornaments are so funky and fun and already on the tree. I will have to do a whole post gushing about the vintage textiles I found but here are a couple of images of the 2 Japanese indigo pieces I scored. One is kind of like a caftan and the other is the most beautiful kimono.

Giving it some thought, I am realizing this thrifting habit is a really huge part of our lifestyle. I just can't bring myself to buy new for the things I know are waiting for me at the thrift. A big part of it is obviously financial but I am also keenly aware of the larger implications of human consumption. Its daunting to look at the aisles and aisles of nearly new THINGS basically discarded and not think we've all kind of lost our sense. Beside all that this is in my blood; I come from a long line of collectors, crunchy folk, and spendthrifts. 

 This 7x10 ft vintage Egyptian wool rug was $75 through a local estate sale website. 

This 7x10 ft vintage Egyptian wool rug was $75 through a local estate sale website. 

So many of my favorite things, things I use nearly every day have come from these spots.  My love for the vintage, the funky, the handcrafted is almost always satisfied within the jumbled shelves, the dusty corners, the cobwebbed closets.  There is something so satisfying to me in the cyclical pattern created when we buy secondhand. What feels so fresh and relevant to me now was that way for someone else 60 years ago. Everything old is new again.

 One of the new LeCreuset pots getting put to use for cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving. 

One of the new LeCreuset pots getting put to use for cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving. 

Are you a thrifter? Let me know if you live close by, I'll dish on some of my favorite spots. Just don't let me see you snagging the good stuff before I get there!

 

SUNDAY NOTES + RECENT FAVS

I missed a few weeks of posting here and actually found myself wanting to get back to it, realizing I had gotten a tiny bit of momentum going and I really like having this record of whats happening in my little slice of the world. So back to it!

 A recent botanically inspired encaustic piece.

A recent botanically inspired encaustic piece.

I've been working away on the encaustic pieces I started a few weeks ago, and even found a home for the first few in my own house! Whoooot! My work hardly ever sticks around past creation so it feels good to have them up. I want to make at least 4 more for this space since we have a lot of height to work with. 

 

Made by Rae's patterns are favorites around here. We've loved the mess out of the Big Butt Baby Pants and Toddler Backpacks made by my sisters for our kids. Her new Luna pants caught my eye and felt like they were something even this terrible seamstress could tackle. They were fun and easy to put together, I highly recommend. I will make another pair soon, the pair I made were really intended as the muslin and are a bit wonky. 

I just got a commission order for a big ol' diptych and embellishing on a few other little pieces. Should be fun and fairly straightforward but the turnaround time is super tight and will cut in to my holiday making plans. Ah well. This is the way of the self employed artist/mom/person trying to fit too much in. I will post some progress shots soon!

 late nights and lots of plants in the studio

late nights and lots of plants in the studio

RECENT FAVS:

Claire Danes in The Edit: Isn't she just the best?! I loved reading about her views on motherhood, therapy, and her work. She seems so down to earth for someone who has been super famous for most of her life. Aside from that I just love this spread and THE CLOTHES! 

Conversation Starters: Totally saw this a day too late! We went to David's company party last night and it was tons of fun but man-conversation with strangers isn't always easy. Maybe these will help you in your time of need? 

Wine Myths: Did you know you should be blending your vino? It's legit! My brother in law was a wine maker and tipped me off to this speed decanting trick at their recent visit. Some other interesting facts here too. I'm definitely keeping my wine in all the wrong places.

Nadia Reid: As a lover of moody folk this hits all the right notes for me. She kind of reminds me of Patti Griffin and Cat Power. Call the Days is particularly lovely. Good art making music.

Hamilton: Ok I'm super late to this party but dang!  I've never geeked so hard on a musical before. If you aren't familiar its the Broadway retelling of the story of Alexander Hamilton and much of our nation's founding told largely through hip hop by a totally multi racial cast. Its so much cooler than I can make it sound. Anyhoo-I'm streaming the entire cast recording on Spotify and you should be too.

M Train: I heard an interview with Patti Smith on a recent New Yorker Radio Hour. What a fascinating character. Adding her most recent book to my 2016 read list. 

 

HOLIDAY MAKING PLANS

This could be the year guys. I typically have unrealistic, annoying goals of hand-crafting gifts for our family and friends for the holidays, and this year is no different. I have the extra motivation of having a super limited/non existent budget and lots of usable materials in the studio. In my humble opinion handmade, repurposed, or hand me down things make such special gifts. Here are a few ideas I'm knocking around. 

MY NICE LIST:

 

purl soho felted water bottle cover

HOT WATER BOTTLE COVER: The girls really like cozying up with a hot water bottle so I was thinking it would be nice to make them each their own water bottle cozy. I am a really slow knitter, but maybe I could manage 2 of these simple knitted beauties? Or this simple felt version would be even easier. 

APRONS: I've been wanting to make cross-back aprons like these forever but too lazy to figure out exactly how. Now I know! I have quite a bit of this really soft, drapey denim that would be beautiful for these. Everyone needs a good apron.

CANDLES: I want to make a dozen or so scented soy candles in special, found vessels that could be reused. Perfect way to use some of the amazing little ceramics I've thrifted or bought from estate sales.

hand dyed in indigo with arashi shibori resist

SCARVES: I have a few silk scarf blanks and some beautiful slubby, raw silk yardage I want to dye. Arashi shibori is one of my favorite techniques, thinking it would be especially beautiful for scarves. 

TEENY TINY ART: I am on a roll in the studio, working on my encaustic paintings almost every day. I have a few tiny panels like this one I painted earlier this year that would make really special pieces-perfect for perching on a shelf or window ledge. 

QUILT: Ok I'm not totally nutter. I realize I can't start and finish a quilt by Christmas. I do however really want to finally start the quilt I've had in my head for the last 10+ years. This pattern is sort of what I was thinking but I want it to be monochromatic with sashiko style top stitching. I've already dyed a ton of indigo yardage and have it stashed for this project. 

scotcheroos recipe

SWEET TOOTH: Scotcheroos, the favorite bar cookie of my childhood. So easy and dangerously delicious.  These Almond Joy Bites sound like they could be a good, gifted option too. 

WOOL SLIPPERS: I have enough wool roving to felt all the things for everyone, forever. I really want to try my hand at custom slippers or boots for my little ones. This is kind of the look I have in mind. I have tons of scrap leather to use from the bottoms, too.

BENTO BAGS: I love these simple, Japanese style storage bags, and think they'd make such a lovely, useful gift. They would be quick and easy and a great way to de-stash some fabric.

If all these plans go to crap, I will do as I did last year. Damn the debt and hit up a bunch of my favorite local shops and impulse buy some amazing little treasures! Pam of Sweet Peach will have her new Sweet Spots guide (heres last years) out soon-so many good ideas of where to go and what to get! 

Do you have any handmade holiday things on the docket? Any ideas I can steal? Let me know, I'd love to hear!

SUNDAY NOTES + RECENT FAVS

What a weekend of mixed emotions. I won't even try to put words to the tragedies in Paris and Beirut- they would fall short and fail to convey the scope of the issues and the devastating losses. I heard this from Michel Martin tonight-beautiful, sobering words we should all keep in our minds and hearts. Thankful for her honest, compassionate coverage. 

Its cold and dark so early now. A good excuse to start lighting fires and nesting down for the snuggly season. I feel the itch to start knitting, crocheting, or felting something. I'm kind of a terrible knitter and only slightly less terrible crocheter but I persist because it feels good, and keeps my hands busy. It can be tough to head down to the basement studio at night once winter sets in so I have to find more mobile projects that can be done up here. 

 The girls enjoying the first fire of the year. 

The girls enjoying the first fire of the year. 

 

The girls had the sweetest birthday party at the new Treehouse Kid & Craft in Decatur. They had so much fun with their friends; enjoying snacks and treats, stamping tote bags, and playing with some of the beautiful display toys. What a gorgeous shop and warm, fun staff. They really do carry the best selection of beautiful things for kids. If you're local and have kiddos to shop for make sure you stop in. My sweet baby boy is 6 months today! It seems impossible that this love has been here that long. But then I can't remember life without him. Ahhhh, parenthood.

 This happy chappy is 6 months old!

This happy chappy is 6 months old!

 

I've been working away on the encaustic pieces I started last week. I have 4 completed-I want to make at least 8 of the 12"x12" panels and then I'm going to try my hand at some larger pieces. I also created a series of 8 inky, atmospheric pieces for a hotel project. They actually only need 2 but it seemed easier to make several at once since it was so messy and kind of unforgiving. 

 Process shot of my abstract ink & pigment pieces.

Process shot of my abstract ink & pigment pieces.

The holidays suddenly seem so close! We try not to stress about them here, usually keeping it pretty low key. We don't go crazy with decor but I will probably add at least a few things to our stash of handmade, thrifted, and heirloom items-been gathering a few ideas here. I've been thinking about things I have on hand and in my studio stash and how I can use them to create a few gifts. Some ideas: felted slippers, indigo dyed scarves and pillow covers, soft storage bins, small paintings on panel. Lofty goals! We'll see how I do. 

RECENT FAVS:

Himalayan Spice: my sis in law and I accidentally ended up here on Friday night. What a happy accident! Its delicious. We had the samosas, garlic naan, palak paneer, and chicken tikka masala. Nothing too adventurous since it was our first time but I will be back! We have a bunch of good Indian restaurants close by but this is near the top of the list. 

Masala Chai: Its chai season! I've used the chai recipe from a 30+ year old Madhur Jaffrey cookbook for a few years (its excellent).  The version she references here is slightly different but I'm sure totally delicious. Bookmark this. 

Art of the Costume: I follow Molly (@remedialeating) on Instagram and was pulled in by some gorgeous images of exquisite detail work on "50 unique, hand-crafted garments, spanning the eras from Cavalier through the 1920's" created by her mother, Susan Pasco. Good grief what talent! They are currently on exhibit at the University of Washington. I hope she posts more images on her site for those of us who want to drool from afar. Also-reminds me of a beautiful movie "Sequins" (which apparently has 3 other names I've never heard of). 

Pan Roasted Pork Chops with Quick Pickled Green Beans: We happened to have all of the ingredients on hand from our CSA for this recipe I pulled out of the most recent Sunset Magazine. Their Fast & Fresh recipes are on usually on point and this turned out really well. I altered things slightly so it was all done in just one pot. 

Kiva Zip: Kiva, the internationally reaching microloan nonprofit has extended its concept to offer small businesses and entrepreneurs stateside their person-to-person funded, 0% interest rate loans. Meighan O'Toole talked about her recent Kiva Zip loan experience on her latest podcast-its really great to hear from creative professionals on the real-deal, nitty gritty of making small business dreams work.

 

THE WORKING CREATIVE | ART COMMISSION PROCESS

CONCEPT TO COMPLETION

I recently finished a large, sculptural piece for one of my favorite consultant clients. By favorite client I mean longtime dear friend and art world soul sistah. I am going to poke at her to help me write some posts about the nitty gritty of consulting so hopefully you'll hear more about/from her soon.

Anyhoo! This was a fast paced project-from concept to completion it was about a month. Lead times range crazily in this business, but for the most part I try to make the client schedule work for me. I've always loved this type of work-obsess over something, crank out my ideas, then see it off for a swift goodbye. One major downside is that I almost never have time to get good shots of my work so it is hard to represent it well here and in my portfolio. 

Consultant and commission work is especially gratifying because each job is a little different.  For this particular job we started with a concept the designer had in mind and existing budget parameters to work within. The client had seen a piece installed somewhere overseas, and wanted something with a similar feel, but customized for their hotel.

  teeny tiny, kinda blurry, concept visual provided by designer

 teeny tiny, kinda blurry, concept visual provided by designer

One initial thought was that we could create the elements using prefab items like synthetic flower petals and paint them gold. I hunted around but didn't find anything that I liked. Back in the studio I fussed around with materials on hand and found a couple of things to try and initially came up with these two options. 

                     paper option on top, lower piece made from a section of wired ribbon

                    paper option on top, lower piece made from a section of wired ribbon

The textile was too soft-I didn't feel like would hold up to create this overlapping, undulating look I was going for. I actually like the paper option and still think this would be a good way to go if you had a really tight budget or wanted a less textured, uniform look. Still, not quite what I had in mind for this.  I remembered I had a box of already cut and dried paperclay circles I had prepped for use on a sculptural piece last year. I LOVE this material. Its expensive (though contact them directly to order in bulk for slightly less than retail) but it is beautiful to work with. I often need to consider the weight and fragility of materials that will be used in public spaces such as a hotel lobby or passageway and this stuff is super light and durable, yet strong when dried. Playing with the paperclay circles a bit to cut and form a more cupped, petal-like shape, I came up with these. Once painted with a gold luster acrylic, they were just what I had in mind.

 testing out the paperclay forms

testing out the paperclay forms

 

On to the process of prepping the rest of the forms. I divided the clay into the exact size piece I can fit in my little slab roller without too much waste. I learned the hard way on previous projects that not being exacting about that ends up adding a ton of time to the process. I used biscuit cutters (and a janky, handmade cutter I whipped up when one of the biscuit cutters disappeared) to cut out the circular shapes. I formed most of the circles into the cupped, petal-like pieces and kept a portion of them flat which when combined with the cupped forms made it easier to get the right sort of coverage on the backer board. I then baked them in batches (it will air dry but takes forever) and painted both sides once completely dry. Nila is always eager to help in the studio and it was fun to have her help with the painting of these. 

 my studio helper at work

my studio helper at work

 

It took a bit of finesse to get the elements mounted to the backer board. I wanted the piece to have a nice flow so there was a lot of laying things out, stepping back, taking things off, and rearranging. As usual I underestimated the time involved in this-it kind of took forever. I am, for whatever reason, drawn to work that is slow and requires a million of something to complete.  I wish I had kept count but there are a ton of elements on this piece! 

paperclay sculpture installation process .jpg
 oooooh....shiny....

oooooh....shiny....

A few late nights and long days later...the finished piece! I am so excited to see this once its framed and installed. They are using a nice, deep shadowbox moulding that should accomodate the depth of the piece really nicely. It's going into a hotel so I'm hoping to get in situ shots. 

I suppose that as with most things in life, the key to succeeding in this type of work is cultivating good relationships and partnerships. Great art consultants work tirelessly to create these art programs and are all about making it a good experience and great outcome for all involved. I really enjoy the collaborative aspects of this commissioned work but also try to have clear parameters about what is and is not included in the scope. Making clear what types of things are possible or acceptable from the outset of the project makes things so much easier. Sometimes this involves making sample pieces at no cost, providing progress images for feedback, and the willingness to change things if absolutely necessary. I totally get this isn't workable for every artist or every body of work but I have found it to be fun, challenging, and a solid base for my larger art practice. 

If you are an artist, are you open to commission work? How do you feel about collaborating with designers and consultants? Any questions you'd like answered from an old pro ;) Let me know! I'd love to hear from you. 

 

 

 

 

SUNDAY NOTES + RECENT FAVS

RAIN. So much rain. ATL is having a PNW moment. Its a bit much even for those of us who dig an excuse to stay in and embrace our hermitic side. Our yard is soggy, our basement is damp, our windows are foggy. I have no clothes for this type of thing so I'm perpetually inappropriately dressed in weird layers and wrong shoes. Good for the water table but DANG. Kinda over it.

 Fiona and Nila watching Dad try to squeeze yard work into a short rain free interlude.

Fiona and Nila watching Dad try to squeeze yard work into a short rain free interlude.

 

I was at the doctor daily again this week. The procedures have taken a lot out of me and its been draining for everyone in the family to be so off schedule, One upside is that I found myself with lots of time on my hands and the need to pre-occupy so I powered through some great podcasts and spent way more time on the Feedly and Pinterest apps then I could normally justify. I forgot how totally overwhelming the non-stop onslaught of amazing visuals can be. So much inspiring stuff out there but I have to kind of shut it all out periodically or I feel sort of stunted in my own creativity. I did delete the Facebook app off my phone this week. I've only had it on there intermittently but good riddance. What a time suck. 

I've got a few new little projects on the books to finish up in the next few weeks. 2 small works on paper and 2 larger canvas or panel pieces. Both should be fun and challenging. I needed a creative interlude after spending so much time in the medical vortex so started work on a new series of encaustic pieces. If you follow me on Instagram you'll see my progress. I'm loving these! One of my goals is to create a large body of personal work and start participating in gallery shows. Progress!

                                                      one of my new encaustic pieces

                                                     one of my new encaustic pieces

RECENT FAVS:

  • TREEHOUSE KID & CRAFT: Really excited about the new Treehouse Kid and Craft store that just opened in Decatur. Its a beautiful, charming store that stocks well crafted and unique toys, books, and art supplies for kids. They have a sister store in Athens that we just love. We're celebrating the girls' birthdays there with an art party! Should be fun.
  • ON BEING: The On Being episode I heard today had such an interesting interview with Adam Gopnik, a staff writer for the New Yorker. Its worth a listen in its entirety but this phrase from Krista Tippett caught me: "The mystery of the fact that these people you gave birth to and raised are these surprising strangers, that you continue to discover them, and they continue to emerge in ways that you feel you had nothing to do with, that is so remarkable." It speaks so perfectly to the bittersweet magic that is parenthood.
  • SWEET DREAM SPRAY: My Aunt Rachel visited this summer and mixed Nila up a special aromatherapy spray to help ward off bad dreams. It has become a special part of our bedtime routine to spritz it all around the room and the girls now call it their "Sweet Dream Spray." It makes the room smell so fresh. Its a tad sweet with a pleasant hint of earthier herbals. Mix 2 oz distilled water, 1 oz alcohol, and 5-6 drops each (or more depending on how strong you want it) of neroli, basil, and rose absolute oils. 
  • COVER: I just discovered there is a new bookstore in town! Cover is over on the Westside, and purports to be Atlanta's "new source for visually beautiful and culturally important books about food, wine, art and design." You've got my attention! Will be paying them a visit very soon. 
  • ART FOR YOUR EAR: The Jealous Curator (one of the best art bloggers out there) has a fab podcast I am just getting caught up with. I'm loving it! Artist interviews, behind the scenes gossip, just the type of stuff I geek out over. 
  • SHEPHERD'S PIE: I made a dang good shepherd's pie last week that was a hit with the whole fam and really easy to whip up. Ground beef, carrots, kale, onion, peas, corn, mushroom with a mashed sweet potato topping. Almost everything was from our CSA! I was just winging it but this recipe is kind of similar to what I did. I am going to have to recreate it soon and will take notes to post a proper recipe here. 

Cheers to a fresh new week! 

 

INSTA-INSPO | CERAMIC LOVE

I have a major soft spot for hand crafted ceramics. We have a small collection of Heath Ceramics mugs and wares we use on the daily here. It started with a trip to San Fran for our "familymoon" the fall after we got married. It was our first big trip as a fam (then just David, Nila, and I) and although it was peppered with our usual pathetic travelers' mishaps (seriously, we are terrible travelers) we had the best trip. We stayed at a teeny tiny airbnb in Sausalito and were blown away by the Bay Area and all the great food and design everywhere. We strolled down to the Heath Ceramics factory and toured the space where the iconic American classics are made. It's such a great setup and I love their aesthetic and ethos. We brought a few things home as gifts and souvenirs, thus beginning the tradition of buying an anniversary Heath mug for each other. They are so satisfying to hold and drink from, seriously enjoyable to use and I've been known to refuse coffee until my favorite is clean and ready. That's serious love, people! 

Instagram is such a great way to see ceramicists in action-the process views really makes you appreciate how these are set apart from mass production pieces. Heath shows everything from their behind-the-scenes design phase to the merchandising and retailing in their storefronts and vendors. Portland-based Mazama has great, hypnotizing videos showing their trimming and detailing processes. I've learned a lot about these brands I've loved for years and have discovered lots of new-to-me folks. While my current budget mostly allows for thrifted ceramic pieces (of which I have found some incredible ones) I totally dig curating my obsession online for now. Here are a few from my Insta feed that caught my eye recently. 

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

  • Kat and Roger have such a fun, 70's graphic kind of vibe. I think this pour over piece would make an awesome gift. For me. Just sayin.
  • Linda Hsiao makes all kind of beautiful things available through her website and Knot Work LA. This porcelain inlay technique is really unique-these are just beautiful!
  • Funky little "baller" vases from Object and Totem. I love the pitchers available on their site, too ((adds to wish list ))
  • I want to buy my bestie one of Paula Greif's mod menorahs. Wouldn't this be an awesome family heirloom?
  • Heath. You can do no wrong.
  • This talisman by Beth Katz of Mt.Washington Pottery is so simple and beautiful.  
  • I LOVE MAZAMA. Their mugs are perfect. Their process videos are great. I recommend buying 2 mugs at a time so you don't have to fight your mate for it every time you make a cuppa.
  • Vancouver artist Janaki Larsen makes moody, textured beauties. It sounds like they are available with some other treasures in the magical Atelier St.George  shop. Their about page is kinda perfect. 
  • UK based Jono Smart has such straightforward beautiful work and the styling is perfect. His instagram feed is serene perfection. Would love to see them in person. 

SO MUCH BEAUTY! 

SUNDAY NOTES + RECENT FAVS

Huzzah! November 1st already! October, where'd ya go? It was kind of a blur. I had lots of work projects- a few start to finish and a few I am just beginning. There was a fabulous (but short) girl's trip to the North Georgia mountains. I had a birthday! My husband temporarily immobilized himself with a back injury and thankfully quickly recovered. A few dramatic home repairs reared their ugly heads. Is there anything less exciting than a septic system to drop a ton of money on? Yipes. What else?  I actually went out and had some fabulous dates with old friends at new to me Atlanta joints in Ponce City Market and Krog Street Market. I used Uber for the first time! I was such a dork and totally didn't get how it worked but am now convinced its the best thing ever. I started a series of minor surgeries last week which has me in the Dr. office every single day. More than anything the scheduling is an epic pain in the ass. Taking care of yourself is hard work people! Thankful for flexibility and help from D and our families or I'd, I dunno, just not do it. 

Anyhoo...welcome November! Atlanta is crazy beautiful in the fall. This year was kind of weird with summer hanging on for little too long. We had tons of rain, some unseasonably warm, then unseasonably cold days, and wrapped it up with full transition to glorious fall colors in less than a week. Halloween last night was so much fun-my mom went all out and made the girls really fabulous witch and wizard costumes. Our neighborhood has a fun little shindig and giant turnout of trick or treaters so we had a great night with neighbors and friends. Unfortunately my sweet Wizard woke up in the night with a raging fever so we're laying low and starting off this new month with lazing about and art making around the house. 

 My girls in their fabulous Grandma-made costumes

My girls in their fabulous Grandma-made costumes

RECENT FAVS:

AREPA MIA, DECATUR: I forgot how much I love this little place. They cook up some killer Venezualen food. We had the vegetarian arepa and their chicken & veggie soup today. Amazing. Check em out if you're ever in our 'hood! 

A MODERN NATURAL DYER: I adore Kristine Vejar's Oakland shop, A Verb For Keeping Warm. Its a little slice of textile heaven in Oakland, CA. Her new book is all about natural dyes and it looks beautiful and comprehensive. I've done a lot with natural dyes but its been years and I look forward to learning from her. The styling and design are spot on!

INSTANT POT: I feel sorry for anyone who has stood still near me long enough to get me started on this thing! I can't shut up when I'm in love. We recently lost our slow cooker, rice cooker, and pressure cooker and this replaced them all! Dried beans to perfectly al dente in 30 minutes. Spuds to mashed potatoes in 10! Perfectly gelatinous bone broth in under 2 hours. Seriously fabulous addition to the kitchen.

DOOR SIXTEEN: Well dang! I have followed Anna's blog for so long and have always loved seeing NY from her viewpoint. So stoked to discover the Southwest through her eyes! 

A PROPER STOVETOP MOKA: We've had a stovetop percolator for years and I always just sort of wing the method. Going to have to try the proper Italian method outlined here. Come over and I'll make you a cup. 

THE NEW YORKER RADIO HOUR: Podcasts & New Yorker! Together at last! So far, so good. 

 

THE WORKING CREATIVE | MAMA + MAKER

I've been wanting to share a little bit about myself here-especially for anyone wondering exactly what it is I do. Art consulting has largely been my career for the last decade. Its a great, creative gig; rewarding, challenging, ever-changing. Since becoming a mother almost 6 (?!!) years ago I found full time consulting increasingly hard to balance with family life. I've slowly transitioned from a focus primarily on consulting work to a concentration on creating art in the studio. My connections in the consulting world have provided me incredible work opportunities. I have been able to create everything from 20' sculptural wall installations to straightforward, two dimensional works with babies in my belly, on my back, at my side, or sleeping above me as I work into the wee hours. 

 a VERY pregnant me with a stack of finished pieces for a big project earlier this year

a VERY pregnant me with a stack of finished pieces for a big project earlier this year

I'd be lying if I said it has been easy for me. I've strung myself out, stretched too thin by deadlines, responsibilities, money woes that go with working for yourself. I've faced plenty of business and parenting failures. I've also come to know myself as an artist and a mom and how these two roles can, in fact, benefit and enrich one another. Need angst to create great art? Sleep deprivation and self doubt abound in parenting! Need to fill the 12,000 hours that stretch from one nap to another? Time and space to create is one of the best gifts we can give our kids. Would my art be better if I didn't have kids? Maybe. I'm almost certain I'd get a hell of a lot more of it done. So many ideas I have now languish while time is scarce. But maybe childless me would still be 9-5ing it at a job I loved while making less and less time to create in my off hours. I'm really thankful that motherhood pushed me back into the studio. 

So all this to say I am starting a new series called WAYS TO WORK in which I hope to chronicle a bit of my story as an art consultant and self employed artist and dig up stories from other creatives: artists, collectors, consultants, designers, writers, gallerists, etc.  How are they making a creative life work for them? What are their struggles, successes, aspirations? Is there anyone you would like to hear from? Any questions for me? Hit me up, I'd love to chat!

INSTA-INSPO | MOODY BLUES

I am social media awkward (or maybe just averse?) for the most part but make a big exception for Instagram. I am floored how much it has changed the game for artists, creatives, and small businesses in particular. Being able to sneak inside studios and homes, getting insight into the processes and inspiration behind work I admire is fun and truly inspiring. I also love the community it creates-making a network of people who support, give feedback, and share in the process. I have discovered so much new goodness this way! Personally, I am also beginning to appreciate the time-stamped record of my life and work as I have always been terrible at journaling. It has been invaluable to go back over the last year or so and see what I've done! 

Ever the visual person and collector I often take screenshots of stuff I love as it comes across my feed. This has resulted in lots of random folders titled InstaInspo scattered around in my Dropbox and in Evernote. Thinking maybe its more fun to share I am taking a tip I learned recently (thanks to Meighan O'Toole!) and pinning images straight to Pinterest. Huzzah! I thought it might also be fun to share them here on occasion, so lets make this the inaugural installment of the my new Insta-Inspo Series.

I wanted to kick it off with what I guess is my signature color at this point! INDIGO. I have seen so many people using gorgeous, moody blues in their work. Finally, a trend I may have been ahead on! HA. My love for indigo goes way back to my first foray into fiber arts in college. My professor (the incredible Ursula McCarty) taught me all about the process and set off a lifetime love affair with those inky blues. We learned about its roots in Africa and Japan and followed it all the way to modern day US in brands like Levi's; explored the huge range of resist techniques and patterns; and studied the mystery and the magic of the individual vat and the dyer's hand. It has been interesting to see indigo and some of the more traditional presentations of it becoming almost ubiquitous in mainstream design and fashion over the last few years. Somehow it still feels fresh and beautiful in so many ways. Below are just a few images incorporating indigo hues I've found inspiring lately from the artists, craftspeople, and makers I follow over on Instagram. I totally cheated and included one of my own images!  

FROM LEFT TO RIGHT:

Find me over on Instagram if you haven't already! See someone/something cool you think I'd like? Tag me! Maybe I can include it here in the future!

-emily

SUNDAY NOTES & RECENT FAVS

Oh what a week it has been. A strange mix of celebration, loss, injury, and victory. Suddenly feels like there is a lot of upcoming stuff to anticipate that I am going to try to frame as INSPIRATION and MOTIVATION rather than STRESS and AGITATION. Sometimes pulling a Pollyanna is the best bet for my sanity. Smile on people. 

 Watching this sweet slice of moon rise over the North Georgia mountains was a highlight from my weekend.

Watching this sweet slice of moon rise over the North Georgia mountains was a highlight from my weekend.

There has been LOTS of good stuff coming out of the studio. I finished up and said goodbye to the beautiful blue and gold commissioned painting and started work on a big (6'+) dimensional wall piece that is super fun to make and I think its going to be really special when it's done. I'm working on a post that will talk a little about how I typically work these commission type projects that will give some fun behind-the-scenes process goodness.

 Progress shot of the dimensional wall piece I'm working on.

Progress shot of the dimensional wall piece I'm working on.

In the meantime; some recent favs:

FIRE TONIC: tried an amazing homemade version this weekend and am now on a mission to make my own. Equally good for a good morning kick-in-the-pants or kicking a cocktail up a notch or 12. 

NATHANIEL RATELIFF & THE NIGHT SWEATS: I'm pro hand-clapping and cursing so this band is a win for me.

LENNY: Lena Dunham's take on a modern, Feminist newsletter

SHADES OF GREEN: We are working with Brandy on a master landscape plan incorporating tons of multi-functional /edible plants and brilliant permaculture concepts. Just looking at this thing makes me happy. 

YES KON-DO: I know, I know...you can't walk down the street without tripping over a pile of schtuff that some overzealous kondo convert has decided DOES NOT SPARK JOY but dammit, her approach is great. My interest has been building ever since reading Sanae Ishida's blogpost on "The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up" early this year and I'm finally tackling some big stuff, making progress, and enjoying the benefits of LESS. 

MYSTERY SHOW: I could do a whole blog post on podcasts-I'm always on the hunt for more. They are truly an artist's best friend for the long, solo hours in the studio. I've always loved Starlee Kine from This American Life and her new show with Gimlet is just so fun and clever. I think my favorite so far is Case #3: Beltbuckle

 

 

A GREAT PURGE + SPECIAL VISITORS + NEW WORK

What started with switching around kid’s rooms turned in to a MASSIVE rearranging, purging, and reassessing of stuff in our house over the past weekend. We are a pretty thrifty bunch, and I don’t do a ton of shopping but somehow the crap had started to creep. I have a necessarily small amount of “free” time in my day for now, and I have been spending way too much of it cleaning up clothes, trinkets, toys, just STUFF. I’m hoping eliminating some of the mass will make it easier for all of  We were able to put 2 dressers, a glider & ottoman, stroller, trunk, and a baby swing on the curb and packed up another 7 (!!) giant IKEA bags for donation. It feels downright breeezay in here!

  What is this ugliness? This is #themagicalartoftidyingup + kid room shuffle + holy crap we have company cleanup! Not pictured: the truckload of furniture and schtuff already curbed. Ahhhhhhhhh

What is this ugliness? This is #themagicalartoftidyingup + kid room shuffle + holy crap we have company cleanup! Not pictured: the truckload of furniture and schtuff already curbed. Ahhhhhhhhh

Last Monday my sis, brother in law, and their 2 kids arrived from New Zealand and my dad flew in from LA for a week long visit. My older brother and his partner are just around the corner and my mom is a few miles away so there were a bunch of us. It was so, so good.  Lots of great food, little adventures, QT with the little ones, and big laughs. We didn’t really get out to do much but that was kind of perfect. A good, solid hang was just what we needed. Hoping for more times like these with the rest of my siblings (there are 5!) Saying goodbye sucked. Living far from family is the pits.

  My family was just here for a whirlwind ATL visit. It went much too fast. Missing them something fierce! Seeing my bebes with our New Zealand fam and my Dad makes my heart so happy.

My family was just here for a whirlwind ATL visit. It went much too fast. Missing them something fierce! Seeing my bebes with our New Zealand fam and my Dad makes my heart so happy.

I am finishing up the commission I started a few weeks ago. Will have to snap a few pics when the light is good. I actually ended up starting over-this first attempt got a little heavy handed and just not quite right. C’est la vie! I just got not 1 but 3 new commissions that need to be busted out by mid November. This is typically a busy time in the hospitality art world. I think it has something to do with big corporate budgets and end of year blah blah blah. Its all good, I love the work. More progress images soon!


THE PAINTER'S HOUSE

What they say is true folks. You better believe there’s a lot around here that has literally and figuratively gone unpainted. This website is a big one. I love web design and have a live-in programmer at my service. I truly dig graphic design. I’ve spent untold hours building my skills in the Adobe Suite (Illustrator, I love you) and tinkering with WordPress, Shopify, and Squarespace. I have advised and assisted in getting all sorts of people their own web presence. All skills and experiences that should come in handy when one wants to build a site of their own. But man its hard! I’m just stuck and have ideas in my head I’m not able to get out into a workable format.

One thing I took away from my last business venture is that waiting until your post, product, message, or thought is PERFECT, “on brand,” or share worthy (barf) before sending it out into the world isn’t always advantageous or sensible.  So I’m going to hack away at this for a bit and hopefully eventually come up with a look and layout that I’m happy with and will be adding a ton of work to my portfolio. In the meantime here are a few shots of my design process thus far and enjoy the wonky world that is my website won’t ya?

 playing with hand drawn and painted script

playing with hand drawn and painted script

 i like the look of this but it is hard to work into the web design. is it too static?

i like the look of this but it is hard to work into the web design. is it too static?

 hmmmm. tried to use a piece of vintage shibori fabric as the fill for text.  not quite. 

hmmmm. tried to use a piece of vintage shibori fabric as the fill for text.  not quite. 

  sticking with this more straight forward adaption of my text for now

sticking with this more straight forward adaption of my text for now


START WHERE YOU ARE

I’ve had this domain and an abundance of ideas and projects to share for years. I’ve been steadily working as a studio artist while growing our family, starting (and subsequently closing) a business, and just haven’t had the hours needed to start something else. I’m committed to finally start posting here-a place I’m hoping I can share my work, what’s inspiring me, and the stories of other creative spaces, thinkers, and makers. I have a vision for just how I wanted this space to look and on the surface its just not there yet but in the spirit of just doing the dang thing here’s a peek at a color test swatch for my latest commission. My kind of palette!