My husband, daughters and I just returned from a trip to Belle Mont Farm on the island of St. Kitts. Now that we’re awaiting a blizzard in Vermont, our whole vacation feels like a dream. The beautiful & generous people, the warmth & color, monkeys, mongoose, birds, flora, farm to table food and the views of other islands were all so magnificent. Belle Mont Farm is a hotel up in the mountains on 400 acres of fertile, organic farmland and tropical forest. It was remarkably special and now etched in my memory. I’m so grateful for the experience.
I had a realization while staying at Belle Mont Farm that I often live with a strange sense of guilt when I enjoy nice things. Why in the world do I feel this way? After a little soul searching, here’s where I landed. I believe some ancient part of me feels that there’s only so much abundance in the world and I’ve already been granted my share. I’m not really deserving of more.
This thinking is more than a little absurd, right? Life is not a zero-sum game. I’m genuinely happy when other people get to experience cool things. I don’t think, damn, now the universe has less for me.
a situation in which one person or group can win something only by causing another person or group to lose it
Thank you Belle Mont Farm for the lesson learned I learned about abundance.
Last week I had the pleasure of watching the American Masters documentary on PBS about one of my heroes, Great Depression photographer Dorthea Lange. Her work has greatly influenced my abandoned farmhouse hunting and photography whenever I visit my family in South Dakota. Dorthea’s compassion and unyielding desire to tell the tragic and heroic stories of our nation’s poor, interned and displaced through photography woke our nation up. Dorthea’s images prompted more action than print alone could possibly ever have conveyed.
I’ve always found great beauty among the ruins in all forms. Things that are new just don’t give me much creative juice. I like to see everything worn out, faded, distressed and destroyed. To me there’s always a lot more stories among the ruins.
“It is not enough to photograph the obviously picturesque.”
“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion… the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.”
You can watch the American Masters documentary online or look on demand from your local listings.
These images I shot with my niece south of Burke, South Dakota in January. I’m guessing someone will recognize the house, my sincere apologies for trespassing. The pull to see what was inside was just too much for us to resist.
There are links to Dorthea’s biography and images if you scroll down.
“In 1986, artist Tyree Guyton returned to Heidelberg, the street where he grew up on Detroit’s East Side, and found it in shambles, riddled with drugs and deepening poverty. Bruised by the loss of three brothers to the streets, Guyton was encouraged by his grandfather to pick up a paintbrush instead of a weapon and look for a solution.”
It’s understandable that everyone would have a very different reaction to seeing this ever-changing installation. It’s a passionate artist’s answer to the the streets, the poverty and the violence. ART CAN BE A GAME CHANGER. I was amused, saddened, awakened, sickened, inspired and so much more during the time I wandered around. That’s what art is all about to me. You can’t help but be moved by the spirit and mission of the Heidelberg Project. It had a profound impact on me. I’m uncertain how to explain it exactly. You will just have to see it for yourself on Detroit’s East Side. Thank you Tyree Guyton.
MISSION + VISION: The Heidelberg Project (“HP”) is a Detroit-based community organization designed to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art. Our mission is to inspire people to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and to improve the social and economic health of their greater community.
Your own photographs are a treasure trove of images for color inspiration. Often it’s subject matter you’re drawn to (like my daughter Lucy’s hair flying) but often it’s color. The way the colors are perceived next to each other, the saturation & depth can create unexpected combinations that work beautifully in a lot of different applications—interior design, fashion, make-up and graphic design. I wanted to show how full saturation of the colors can look pretty intense—however, move a few steps up the color sample and unlikely colors can really work together. I had my living room painted a few years ago and it was sooooo wrong—it made me sick to my stomach. Often with color it’s a process of elimination which is a pain, but when we get it right. We know it’s right.
I am working on a new series and my muses are: flea market discoveries, mid-century palettes/patterns and old carnival signs. I am trying to keep my interpretation very loose and original. It’s so damn hard to be original. I plan to give it my best shot this week. I’ll post as I get pieces done and I promise to show my mistakes too. Wish me luck.
Her work is stunning and truly for every woman. Her pieces are meant to be layered and worn for everyday and actually work with everything you have—contemporary, costume, vintage…Ina’s jewelry looks modern, laid-back, cool, dressed up, dressed down…these pieces work with everything. Ina gave me a necklace in June, that I haven’t taken off since she put it around my neck. I can swim wearing it. I can put on pearls. I can wear jeans or a dress—it works with everything. Our model for the gorgeous Vermont afternoon was…
Lindsay Sweet Gardner. She was so easy going and completely reflected the ease of wearing Ina’s jewelry. It was great for me just meeting Lindsay because it was easy to give direction and I also quickly knew that she had worked with other photographers. She was very very quick to take direction and knows how to move in front of the camera. We encountered some light problems late in the day and my battery ran out, but we got some beautiful Vermont shots on a stellar early September afternoon.
It was a great Vermont day indeed. I think Ina has some good shots to work with. Here are a few of my favorites.
I will have much better shots of the SEABA (South End Arts & Business Association) STRUT fashion show from Saturday night in a few days. The evening was blast and I am already planning what I want to work on in the studio this week.
I would guess a lot of you have poured yourselves into projects and when they’re over a little malaise creeps into the psyche. This usually happens to me on a much greater level after a big creative push, but this time I feel so inspired to keep working on a process I developed that it doesn’t feel like a let down at all. I am all about using scrap in my studio (wood, leather, fabric, paper) to turn it into something either beautiful or useful. I began working on this for the show not knowing exactly what it was…a bracelet, a headband, a belt, a choker, a dog collar or a strap for a bag…the possibilities are endless. I learned so much by the process that I think I can now work smarter, a little bit faster and way more deliberately when I know exactly what I am creating. I have an idea for a sculpture. I’ll keep you posted.