Tuesday, January 13, 2015

* interview: artist jael baker *

When I started gg, the main aim was to simply create a visual scrapbook of the beautiful things I saw. It would be wonderful if this blog had a huge following and if one day I'm needed in Paris to do a book signing, but for now, I love that I can get my teeth into a subject and jot down my thoughts here. 

Lately I've been trying to keep up with the gorgeous work of my creative and prolific friend Jael Baker. With her equally creative husband, Jael is living not too far away in Upstate New York and agreed {not sure I left her with too much choice...!} to discuss her work with me. 

When did you start to paint and create? 
I dabbled with painting and drawing a little when I was younger, but I really didn't start creating anything until my late teenage years. I had a very close friend who's mother was an artist and she has been a great influence to me. When I started college I studied art, primarily focusing on jewelry/metalwork and watercolor. At that time I also became interested in encaustics.

How do you refuel yourself creatively? How do you find the time in your daily routine?
Refueling myself can be difficult at times, with a busy schedule, but as I develop more as an artist , I find myself giving myself more time to create. It's the one thing that I can lose myself in. I try to find time on a daily basis to think, whether it be during a workout (yes I think when I workout),or on a bus ride, I focus my thoughts on something that gives me emotion, developing that emotion usually gives me a thought for a project.

How has your style evolved since you began painting? Do you have any goals for developing your work?
I definitely gravitate towards the abstract. When I started with watercolor, I worried about my drawings and paintings being "perfect" , but then I realized that it was holding me back. I like to create a feeling or emotion and I like the idea that everyone sees and feels it differently. Do I still work on my technical skills, like figure drawings and basic principles of design and composition? Yes, but I don't let it rule my work. My goals are to produce things that give people a feeling or an experience

Abstract art is difficult to define - how would you explain your style? Where do you begin and how do you know when you are finished with a piece?
I define my style as whatever moves me. Sometimes it can be a color that I connect with a feeling or maybe an experience, but in any case ultimately it's whatever the viewer sees or feels, whether they love it or hate it, that's good because it evoked a response. One of my teachers constantly reminded me not to overwork. That to me means that to an artist it will never be finished, but you can complete your thought. I know I'm finished when I have completed a thought. If I have something else to say, I'll do another piece.

Could you describe the process of encaustic painting?
Encaustic means "to burn in" put simply, it's an ancient process of melting beeswax, adding pigment for color and damar resin to help harden. It can be done on many surfaces, I prefer using wood panels or specially made clayboards.

How does creating art make you feel?
It makes me feel like I'm talking and getting everything out. I'm not a hugely social or outgoing person. I prefer to watch and listen, when I have something to say , I'll say it, but I like to take a more creative approach.

Thank you so much my generous friend for sharing your expressions! Dear readers, Jael's paintings are untitled, which I love - let the viewer decide what he or she sees. If you are interested in discussing the paintings with her, please leave your contact details for Jael in the comments section below. 

:: all images copyright Jael Baker - please do not reproduce without permission via this blog :: 

Saturday, January 3, 2015

* indigo-go *

Greetings from a rather chilly, snowy Brooklyn. Slobby Saturday has kicked in with some good old British bacon and eggs sizzling away courtesy of my hungry husband. Other weekend plans include checking out the ice skating at Central Park and pulling together some ideas for my first guest blog post for the wonderful Ivy Pip & Rose..I'll keep you posted on that one!

The new year has begun and thoughts turn to making the nest even cosier and homey {not homely, as we would say in Blighty; here that means something ugly or unsightly! I learnt the hard way by complementing a new acquaintance on her 'homely' apartment. We haven't been back}. At this time of year when the silver light makes black look too harsh and grey look a little drab, the majestic indigo kicks in as my colour of choice. Ever since travelling in 2010 to Abeokuta in Nigeria and watching the distinctive Adire fabric being created, I've had a love affair with the depth of tone that can be achieved with indigo. The Japanese Shibori fabric is everywhere and makes for a perfect DIY project {there is a great tutorial on Design Sponge: Shibori Designs 4 Ways}. I'd love to grab some paint and slosh it behind my mustard coloured loveseat, but that might not please the landlord too much. In the meantime, I've gathered a few inspiring ideas and do let me know how you use indigo in your home! 

:: all photos copyrighted, see the links below for more details :: 

{top left: Shibori kitchen towels from ShopDEND; top middle: mix up your fabrics in the bedroom like this masterpiece in Marrakesh; top right: sleep deeply by painting the bedroom walls in a deep indigo just like Lesley Graham; bottom left: from sfgirlbybay, various tones together looks classic and fresh against a white wall; bottom middle: pops of indigo look warm in the living space as seen in Domino; bottom right: I am madly, deeply, desperately in love with these ceramics from Michele Michael at Elephant Ceramics and I love the Marimekko fabric too!} 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

* i'm in love with some pots *

Oh yes, ceramics are my weakness. Handmade, earthy and versatile. I love my little yellow cups from somewhere in Notting Hill {a gift from mama!} which have been used for tea, flower buds and storing Sharpies. Thanks to Poppytalk I've fallen in the love with the muted colours of Cathy Terepocki's creations, which would look marvelous in my little NYC place and really do cheer up these succulents in the top right image. My jade plant is doing ever so well on my window sill and a nice pot would complete the look {darling husband...are you reading this?!}. Through my daily obsession Design Sponge I discovered Brit McDaniel of Paper & Clay and thought how gorgeous her Danish and Scandi-inspired pieces were, almost like they've been dipped into summertime and the colours have stuck. Imagine slurping a hot chocolate in one of her chunky mugs {bottom left}.

Live in Brooklyn and interested in learning more about ceramics? Brooklyn People's Pottery start the next round of classes on January 5th. I'd love to check them out. 

:: all photos copyright the artists ::  

* remember when it was hot?

"The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears or the sea"
Isak Dinesen 

It was the summer of 2014...we were falling fast in love with NYC but my lungs were screaming and we needed to feel the breeze of sea air. Along with our extraordinary talented florist friend Rebecca from Ivy, Pip and Rose  we took a road trip to the mellow and beautiful Cape Cod then to the Hamptons. Lounging in every cool chair at The Surf Lodge in Montauk was on my to-do list; eating everything on the menu at the Canteen in Provincetown will have to wait for another time.

:: all pictures by me...I wish I had a proper camera and not a knackered old iphone! ::

Thursday, October 16, 2014

* brooklyn makers: raw talent *

For my first proper new gg post, I want to introduce a new category which really gets my creative juices flowing: brooklyn makers. I already follow a fabulous site called, would you believe, Brooklyn Makers, and it so if you aren't patient enough for me to slowly uncover my faves, check out this wonderful collection of handmade goodies! This area is getting expensive and congested, but I can't help feeling that I'm living in the middle of a makers paradise. More than two years ago, with palpitations and glee, I discovered brooklyn to west, the blog of ariele alasko the woodworker extraordinaire. A few years later, the 248k followers on instgram don't seem to affect her grounded, humble spirit and its exciting to me to think that she is carving away somewhere nearby! In her own words, she is a "builder, a fixer, and a do-it-myselfer", scavenging for lathe and old planks anywhere she travels. The wooden wall in her Californian restaurnat il vecchio has got me inspired for our little hallway area...or maybe I'll start with carving some spoons?

:: all photos are from the wonderful blogs linked above, copyright ariele alasko :: 

*gg is back!*

BOOM we are back! Well, dear readers, that was a very, very long coffee break and I've missed my little grasshopper of a blog! Since I was last here, my beau and I have up sticks to quaint Brooklyn in a small town called New BLOOMING York and we couldn't be more excited! We're settling in, trying our best to keep apace with the frenzy and energy of this part of town, so I now feel ready to explore and share. Brooklyn is overflowing with creativity, beautiful architecture, more delicious restaurants than you can shake a twinkie at and I hope to have a glimpse of it all! Its good to be back. Welcome aboard friends!

Monday, April 22, 2013

*having a break*

{Dear readers....you haven't heard from GG for a while as I re-group and drink coffee.....bear with, lovelies!}

Saturday, December 1, 2012

*winter woolly warmers*


J.Crew ski sweater / Toast over sized sweater, $230 / Dolce&Gabbana knit top / A.L.C. a l c / Topshop/ matthew williamson 

{Oooooh I can't tell you how cold it is! London looks gorgeous in its glistening frostiness, but what should a girl be wearing to stay snuggly and warm? One of these delicious jumpers of course!}

Sunday, November 25, 2012

*luminous and fine*

*photos reproduced with the kind permission of hiliary ann

{Pinterest gets me every time. Click, click, repin and edit....before I know it, the sky has darkened outside, my husband has given up trying to have a conversation as the dinner is left uncooked and I am concocting plans to make a 6-tier pavlova and to sew my own aprons as I'm immersed in a world of creative genius and inspiration. I know I am not alone in my obsession. There is nothing to be ashamed of people. 

Of my 35 boards and counting, my  'jewels' board is a fave, where dinky triangles, ethnic colourful beads and wonky designs seem to feature prominently; my cover love are the 'Orb Spinner' rings from an absolutely fabulous jewelry designer Hiliary Ann of Portland who sells her creations on Etsy in her lovely shop lumafina, meaning luminous and fine. Chevrons, turquoise, greys, yellows....I adore it all! Check out Hiliary's gorgeous shop right this second - and her 'about page'...inspiring for people like me who are wondering why they are letting other people have all the creative fun!}