Friday, December 02, 2016

Settling into the Quiet

December. Beautiful December is here and it's time to get quiet. This past September, October and November were the busiest and most stressful months in recent memory. And with the sale of our home and our huge downsize complete, I am taking the month of December to get quiet and recuperate. I'm also coming off of a nasty little ear infection. (Isn't it always the case that when you finally have a free day or two, your health goes south?)

But December is here and the hush has begun. In her book review of "A Book of Silence" by Sara Maitland, Dominique Browning writes, "The world is a booming, rustling, buzzing place to begin with (though many of us have shut out nature’s clamor), and to that we have added every conceivable vibration of our own making and every possible means of assault, whether it’s the vast, thrumming climate-controlling systems of our sealed buildings or the tiny earbuds nestled against our cochleae. What chance does quiet have against all this?"

My road to getting quiet has been very difficult. I have two small children, volunteer hours for multiple non-profits that rely heavily on my initiative and energy, my own creative work and all this while I'm surrounded by the fourth largest metropolis in the country. In order to claim lasting and long term quiet space I sold my home, paid off my outstanding debts with the proceeds, retracted promises, canceled appointments, divested myself of 2/3 of my belongings, boycotted my Facebook feed, and ceased all holiday travel. It sounds dramatic, right? I suppose it is. This is how I chose to simplify my life.

Now that I've made space for simple living, the quiet I sought as set in. And the quiet is both delicious and totally unfamiliar - unfamiliar and unnerving. But I also sense deep in my bones that this new found quiet is absolutely necessary for my well-being and my future creativity.

When you cease to fear your solitude, a new creativity awakens in you. Your forgotten or neglected wealth begins to reveal itself. You come home to yourself and learn to rest within. Thoughts are our inner senses. Infused with silence and solitude, they bring out the mystery of inner landscape. 
- John O'Donohue

Suggested Reading: 

"A Book of Silence" by Sara Maitland (Here's the NY Times Book Review)

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Storyteller Series | Aja Monet

I'm a story teller - whether its plays, poetry or paintings. Stories can connect us, change us, and save us. That's why I'm beginning a new series here at La Maison Boheme called Storyteller Series. Today, I'm kicking it all off with one of my favorite poets, Aja Monet.

Aja Monet is an internationally recognized poet, song writer, and human rights activist. Aja is a Brooklyn native of Cuban-Jamaican descent and lives in Miami where she runs Smoke Signals, a music studio. I've included two videos below of Aja sharing her work. But you can find more of her spoken word videos HERE. She will change you.


And here's a gorgeous video of Aja reading her poem "What I've Learned":

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Tribal Necklaces for YOU (or ME)

My clothing choices tend to be in the black, white and denim palette. But my jewelry tends to be large colorful statement pieces. I've always loved the adornment traditions of the Masai, Ukrainian folk jewelry, rural Tibet, India, Native American and other tribal communities.  Etsy is the best place to find amazing pieces, so I did a little "shopping" this weekend - on the hunt for the perfect tribal-ethnic-statement necklace. Here are some of my favorites intermingled with inspiration photos! Enjoy.

Find it HERE

Find it HERE.

Find it HERE.

Find it HERE.

Find it HERE.

Find it HERE

Find it HERE.

Find it HERE.

Find it HERE.

Monday, November 28, 2016

2016 Holiday Gift Guide

It's time for my annual Holiday Gift Guide! I've just completed the downsize of the decade and am not in a position to fill my space up with Christmas gifts this year. In fact, this year my husband and I are holding it to one gift each for our children. (We'll try, at least.) But I love gift giving and will happily fill other people's homes with beautiful and useful things. 

You'll find that most everything below is made by a single artisan or a small business. These are all items (or experiences) I love and use, or they are items that I saw, loved and jotted down on a wish list. I hope they inspire your bohemian-style gift giving this season. 

And if, like me, you're trying to slow down this season and chill the eff out, then please check out Laura Gaskill's FREE month long course: Slow the Season. I'll be doing it all month long. 

For the Budding Naturalist

This beautiful Audubon bird call necklace will attract a wide variety of birds. It's a perfect gift for the budding naturalist (like my 9-year-old son) or the well-seasoned bird watcher in your life. The piece is hand painted by artist Keiko Brodeur.

Bird Call Necklace from Taproot

For the Eternal Wanderer

I cannot say enough about the quality and comfort of Aurora Shoe Company shoes. They are, as Barbara Streisand might say, "like butta". I own a pair of their Chinese Mary Janes, but these high top, leather tie-shoes look so comfy!

North Pacific Shoe from Aurora Shoe Co.

For the Crafty Mama

The Squam Art Workshops have now become legendary. I've been to three retreats and done one online book club. Squam Art Workshops offer in person retreats, podcast, online classes and more. Their next gathering is June 1-5, 2016. This is the perfect gift for that art-making woman in your life who is always giving giving giving to others. She needs a little time for herself. Squam Art Workshops might just be the thing! Gift certificates can be purchased HERE.

Spring retreat at Squam Lake is June 1-5th. Register HERE.

For the Contemplative Papa

The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday has been on my coffee table all month long. Both my husband and I read the daily meditations. This book has changed the trajectory of my days and would be a wonderful gift for the man (or woman) in your life who needs a brain break. Take a look at THIS article from "Brain Pickings" for a little taste of what this book holds in store for you.

"The Daily Stoic" by Ryan Holiday

For the Memoirist

These have long been my favorite journals and I recommend them every year as gifts. Watermark Bindery is a small press bindery and the beauty and craftsmanship of their products is remarkable. The best part about these notebooks is that they stay open and flat while you write! Bliss for the memoirist in your life. 

Journals from the Watermark Bindery

For the Feminist Couple

I love Pheobe Wahl and have written about her and her work on the blog before. This shirt, designed and illustrated by Phoebe Wahl and hand screen printed by Red Boots Design in Bellingham,WA, is the perfect his-and-hers gift. These shirts are 100% cotton American Apparel brand. Warrior women (and men who love them) UNITE!

"Warrior Woman" T-shirt for HER and for HIM

For the Moon Gazer

I found this beautiful 2017 moon calendar at We Are 1976 in the Bishop Arts District of Dallas, TX. Since they don't have it available in their online shop, I found it at the museum shop at MOMA. This calendar is a beautiful visual of the 2017 Moon Phases. Perfect for the walls of any moon-gazer's home. 

2017 Moon Cycle Calendar via MOMA

For the Easy Breezy Lover

I love wearing linen and would happily live in any of the clothing from Not PERFECT LINEN on Etsy. This is a small company making gorgeous handmade linen clothing. I want this boxy linen pinafore pictured below, but seriously - take a look at their whole line of offerings. So pretty!

Shop Not PERFECT LINEN on Etsy

For the Truth Seeker

Crime Against Nature, by artist Gwenn Seemel, is a compelling and beautiful book that exposes the true diversity of natural behavior. As one book reviewer wrote, "This book is guaranteed to spark conversation. It belongs on the coffee table as much as in the classroom." Buy it HERE as a digital or hard copy.

"Crime Against Nature" by Gwenn Seemel - Digital or Hard Copy HERE

For the Little Weaver

Get your little one off of the iPad and onto this sweet loom from The Unusual Pear. It's perfect for little hands (or big ones). Simple, lightweight and easy to use, this loom is suitable for all ages. It's especially good for beginners. Find it HERE.

Bamboo Loom from The Unusual Pear

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Art Sale in the Shop

Black Friday weekend is here 
and I am offering 25% off everything in the shop! 
Check it all out HERE

Monday, November 21, 2016

Artists Martyn Thompson & Dove Drury Hornbuckle

I happened into an article in NY Magazine from 2015 that caught my eye. It was a tour of the home of photographer and textile designer, Martyn Thompson. He shares his home with his partner, artist Dove Drury Hornbuckle. The first image below is of their living room. The mural is by Hornbuckle and the textiles by Thompson. Looks to me like a marriage made in boho heaven. Here's a sampling of their home, art and photography.

Interested in other artists I've featured?

Friday, November 18, 2016

In The Studio | Tour & New Work

Today, I thought I'd share a quick tour of our studio space at the Continental Gin building in Deep Ellum, Dallas. The space has evolved quite a bit in the past few months. We still have a lot of work to do to bring it up to speed, but my studio mate and I are happy with the size and functionality. It's been a dreamy place to work. 

I have a small 100 square foot room in which to paint. It's perfect for me and I love that I have two windows - each shedding light from different directions.

Pictured below, is our communal teaching space, 
which is currently filled with the work of my studio mate, Jay Bailey. 

Here's a glimpse at some of my new work:

Fire Fall, 36 x 36 inch acrylic on canvas - available HERE

Infinite Expectation of the Dawn, 24 x 24 acrylic on canvas - COMMISSION

Lucid Dream, 18 x 18 inch acrylic on canvas - Available HERE

And of course, a portrait of my studio assistant.

Have a lovely weekend!