In 2014, I had moved to Northampton, Massachusetts with my partner at the time for a job she got. The transition was really hard for me, harder than I expected, having left my life and my career that I had built over 10 years in Minneapolis to go on an adventure and try something new. I was ready for a change but thought it had to do with not being satisfied with being a full-time wedding and portrait photographer and longing to make art, which was a big part of it, but I also realized that I was deeply unhappy in my relationship and very out of tune with myself and what I wanted and needed in order to feel like my best self. That Thanksgiving, about a month after I had moved, I drove to Brooklyn, New York to have Thanksgiving with my family. I was feeling very lost, which is how I've felt most of my life, but when I was in New York, I felt more like myself than I did in Northampton. I felt alive, I felt excited, I felt inspired, I felt invigorated. Al lot of that had to do with my people being there and feeling safe with them to be fully myself but it was also being a place that was so full of possibilities. I took my dog for a walk outside of my brother's apartment and noticed this tree across the street. I love how the trees in the city are such an integral part of the visual landscape...tucked between buildings, bending over sidewalks, squeezed into parking lots. I snapped this with my iPhone and edited it in the Hipstamatic app.
When I was living in New York, I wandered around a lot. There are endless things to notice and wonder about in that city. On this particular day, I got off the train at Union Square/14th Street to go to a photo store to buy film for a wedding I was photographing and as I was walking down a street, I looked up and saw this vintage dress hanging from a fire escape. The door behind it was open and the entire scene filled me with so much curiosity and joy. Who's dress was it? Why did they hang it there? Were they trying to catch peoples' attention as they walk by? If so, why is the door open? It was such a random, magical visual moment that made me smile so I made a photo of it with my iPhone before continuing on my way. I processed this in the Hipstamatic app and then made more adjustments in Photoshop. Prints of this and all of the images from the travel photography series that I'm sharing are available in my Etsy shop.
"Brooklyn Buildings, New York, 2014."
I lived in Brooklyn, New York for a year and a half from 2014-2015 after leaving a long term relationship and desperately needing a place to figure my shit out. I chose New York because my siblings and some friends lived there. It was an overwhelming, challenging, fun, wonderful, hard, expensive, exciting time living there. I loved taking pictures with my iPhone whenever I was traveling around the city because there was SO much to look at all of the time. I had no plan for a series or intention to go out and take pictures, I just did it when I noticed something visually exciting to me. The day I took this picture, I had just eaten brunch at my brother's restaurant with some friends and was waiting for the train to take me back to my weird, dark apartment that didn't feel like home at all. The train platform was above ground and as I was waiting, I turned around and saw these colorful building against the blue sky and...click. I don't think I ever took my professional cameras around the city when I lived there because I was feeling super burned out on photography for a lot of reasons but my phone was with me all of time and I loved the freedom I felt when I took pictures with it (even though the quality wasn't always amazing). There wasn't the same pressure I felt when I picked up my other cameras, there was a lightness, a feeling of play and exploration that I needed. I took this on an iPhone 4 and edited it in VSCO.
I'm going to be sharing some of my travel photography from over the years here on my blog and on Instagram! I'll be sharing more about each image here including the technical details and the story behind the image. I'm kicking things off with some images I've made in New York over the last 10ish years. I've visited many times and lived there for a year and a half and each time I go, I am simultaneously inspired and exhausted by all of the layers of stories that exist there. I made this image of the Brooklyn Bridge when I was visiting my siblings in 2010. We had gone out for pizza and walked down by the water to look around afterwards. I loved how the lights on the bridge looked and the feeling of possibility that seeing the giant city from afar gave me. I wanted to try to visually create the feeling I was having in that moment rather than a technically perfect image of the bridge so I set my camera on manual focus and intentionally blurred it, changing my composition a few times until one resonated. The originals were in color but they didn't feel right that way so I played around with black and white versions in Photoshop until I landed on this one. Digital details: I created it with a Canon 5D digital camera and a Canon 50mm 1.2 lens.
I made a new greeting card for those of us who love (or hate) to get together and talk about our feelings but know it's worth doing. This could be a card for someone who has withdrawn from you because of challenging things in life and you want to reach out or it could be for a friend or a partner who you love to talk about feelings with while drinking coffee or wine. This card is available in my Etsy shop here.
This new greeting card is now available in my Etsy shop! I made it because, well, life is stupid sometimes and it's nice to have a card to send to someone when crappy things happen to show support. You can find this card here!
This quote has been in my head a lot lately so I decided to write it in my sketchbook. I find it really helpful as a perspective shifter. Onward!
I've always had a very eclectic style. I love mixing colors and patterns and having fun with how things fit together aesthetically, on my body and at home. I get that from my mom, she has a super funky, colorful, fun style and has always had a really creative wardrobe and house. Living with colors and patterns is FUN and makes me feel so happy and inspired. I think a lot of people are afraid of color (hello, beige walls and most outfits from big stores), but I believe that everyone has feelings about color and likes them more than they are willing to embrace. I'm on a small mission to change that, by making colorful, cheerful things that make me feel good and are inexpensive enough for folks to take a chance on. One of those things that I've started making are cloth napkins.
My mom has been making these for a few years and they are always so wonderful to look at and use. They make meals at home engaging and fun - our family and friends who come over for dinner talk about how cute a pattern is or how fun a color is and it adds so much to the whole experience of eating together. My mom always has new ones in the works as she finds fun fabrics that inspire her, which means there are always new pretty things to look at when I visit! They have become one of the things that define home for me.
Kelly and I have a lot of her designs in our kitchen, which we use all of the time. I decide which napkin I want to use on a particular day depending on what I'm drawn to and love to change it up a lot.
A few months ago, I asked her to teach me how to use a serger and a new obsession was born. We made a bunch of sets together; some she kept, some I put in our kitchen like this green and blue polka dot charmer that I used at lunchtime recently and a few sets I put in my Etsy shop.
My dear friend and fellow artist, Emily Walen bought a set for her family to use while they are on an epic, open ended travel adventure around the country. It was so fun to get these photos of her using them!
This year, I have been working hard get all of my ducks in a row to try to grow the wholesale side of my business. I took a fantastic online class called, "Sell Your Products to Retailers" on Creative Live taught by Megan Auman that taught me a lot about best practices. I made a list of the local places that I thought would be a good fit for the products that I make and started to reach out. One of the places at the top of my list was Lakewinds Co-op, where I shop a few times a week near my house. They loved my greeting cards and are now carrying some of them in their three stores around the Twin Cities! Yesterday, I went in to do some shopping and saw my cards on the rack and got so excited, what a cool feeling and wonderful momentum to keep reaching out to more places. You never know who might say yes! You can see my full line of greeting cards in my online shop.
Last summer, I volunteered for a neighborhood project called Plant Grow Share, which is how I ended up getting this grant. The organizer of that program asked me and another artist to do a project related to Plant Grow Share and other than that, left it really open to each of us to do what we wanted. We each decided to do our own thing based on what our creative interests were. With that freedom, I ran with my idea to teach free sun print cyanotype activities throughout the neighborhood!
My vision evolved and I landed on two different events: 1. Community Garden Day, an event already happening throughout Minneapolis. I envisioned folks coming to a community garden, walking around, chatting with each other and picking plants that they were drawn to that I would show them how to make sun prints with and that's exactly what happened!
I decided to team up with The Little Free Farmers Market crew, which is a component of Plant Grow Share, and set up my activity in one of the community gardens in South Minneapolis where they harvest organic produce to give away for free. We got rained out twice but the third time we pulled it off! It was overcast but we were still able to make beautiful sun prints. Everyone had a lot of fun and wanted to keep making more, a good sign I'd say.
2. Join up with the Central Area Neighborhood Association's Central Neighborhood Fair and lead another sun print activity in a park for any folks who wanted to learn. There were some hiccups (like no water source, yikes!), but we pulled it off and I got to connect with a lot of kids and adults while teaching them how to make sun prints in a city park in Minneapolis.
Leading these activities is about helping people make beautiful art with their hands but is also about:
-Encouraging and demonstrating the rewards of patience in a time when we all want immediate gratification.
-Empowering people to trust their visual and creative instincts, follow them and learn from them.
-Encouraging play and pushing through the desire for perfection. I see this mostly in adults because kids are more trusting of themselves and are willing to experiment and explore to see what they can create. I love nudging adults to do that more through art making because it feels so freeing and exciting when you experience it!
-Encouraging people to enjoy the process while also being focused on the outcome. Finding that balance is a beautiful way to continue to learn and grow.
-Teaching people to notice opacity, composition, chemical reactions which look like magic, contrast, using different materials to create meaning in a final print and how to explore all of those things to develop your own artistic style over time.
-Encouraging people to practice articulating what they like and don't like about the final prints as a way to develop a refined eye, understand and use artistic terms like "composition, opacity, depth, color, contract, etc" and to continue to grow and expand their creative identity, opinions and expression.
I hope to do many more classes and activities in the future like this!
I got to lead two sun print cyanotype classes and a nature printing class at the Minneapolis Institute of Art over the last month and they were so much fun! I got to teach kids and adults these two creative processes at Family Day and Third Thursday. We got to be outside for the first one and inside for the second because of rain but that just meant we got to play with some UV light boxes instead of the sun! It was great to see everyone get creative and play.
I'm so excited to share that I received my first art grant from The Pillsbury House and Theatre in Minneapolis! It's called Art Blocks and there are a lot of amazing artists doing all kinds of projects within the neighborhoods of Minneapolis. In collaboration with the incredible program, Plant-Grow-Share who I volunteered with last summer, I'm going to be teaching a free sun print cyanotype class this Saturday, August 20th at Hosmer Community Garden. Plant-Grow-Share will have their Little Free Farmers Market set up for folks to come and take free organic produce home with them. I'll be there to guide people through the process of making a sun print cyanotype from something in the garden! I love sharing this beautiful process with others and watching their curiosity and excitement when they see the results. My intention is to help folks notice and celebrate to the beauty, patterns, textures and colors in our yards and gardens and open up a new creative outlet! I'll share some photos from the experience shortly afterwards.
I've wanted to create a blog to share more of my creative life and musings for quite awhile now but have been stuck on what I will write about, how to organize it, how it will come across and who will actually care. Hello, vulnerability wall. After spending the afternoon yesterday with some fellow artists who I opened up to about this desire and fear, they helped me realize that doing it because I want to share what I make and think about is exactly the reason I should do it. It sounds so simple but it has taken me over a year to actually let that sink in. Also, they helped me realize that I JUST NEED TO DO IT ALREADY AND STOP OVERTHINKING IT. Thanks, guys. So, here we go. I am going to embrace this as a process, so there is very little structure to start out with, other than that I will start sharing things I care about and see if they resonate with anyone.