A new monthly feature celebrating designers + creatives that inspire us. Are you a mover/maker, too? Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org to be highlighted in the future!
We've been a bit quiet around these parts since the first of the year-- mainly due to the extraordinarily time-consuming process of relocating that seems to drag on quite literally forever. Thank you for sticking around with us, though, and we'll be posting new content daily again starting this month!
We have many new features on the way. Speaking of, are you an artist? If so, please contact us at email@example.com to be highlighted on a new feature we will have coming up soon!
Here are some fresh looks that are inspiring our home renovation right now. Happy Saturday, folks! :)
(.) Graphic tile can add dimension to a kitchen or bathroom.
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On a global level //
It was a year in flux.
Beyond all political rankings, one could say that the year was an uneasy year. There was a tension in the air from a social standpoint. 2017 was an abusive relationship marred by feelings of self-doubt and fear, looking over your shoulder, and anxiously waiting for the other shoe to drop.
But within times of dissension, a catalyst is often born. It starts as a small, wavering voice in the din. It coaxes out more timid souls-- those who have had enough of what they have been served. Suddenly there is an eruption of change and evolution occurs. In some ways, 2017 is the year many realities shattered with utterances of "me, too" and the realization of the disparate state of the world. It has been the year of the bottom dropping out-- but when you hit rock bottom, the only way you can go is up.
And up we went this year-- into the unknown to the farther reaches of space. We also reached deep within ourselves and debunked countless longheld scientific theories. We are coming to terms with a reality of being small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. We also collectively have wrestled with our own frailties and the realization that things we thought were sure and true were simply band-aids placed on larger global issues. It had been a year of excess and poor planning. A year where that which grounded us simultaneously shook us to the core. But it has been a year of growing, of collectively seeing errors, and change can be seen on the horizon as the curtain of current events draws to a close.
On a personal level //
This year was formative for me in so many ways. I think up until the last few years I had been quite malleable— changing frequently to satisfy others and preoccupied with relationships and objects. I was dissatisfied, constantly in a state of proving my worth, and utterly exhausted. I was a workaholic, consumed with my career, and could not slow down for anything for fear of experiences escaping me. I was in ill-fated relationships with people that, although may have been okay on their own merit, were not good for me creatively or spiritually. There was an ongoing theme where my creativity was stifled, I was expected to fit inside a mold of their choosing, and everything I was became folly for criticism.
I felt suffocated, restricted, and complacent in so many aspects of my life. I was separated from my creative spirit and drowning in messes of my own making. I was troubled, in a perpetual balancing act of people and places, and somewhere within the chaos lost who I was and my purpose. A few years ago I was merely a shell of my best self, jaded, and vulnerable. I felt my creativity blocked, was confused, and also intensely lonely because I placed my worth in less stable hands. I always thought I needed someone else to ground me, to balance me-- I now know only I was capable of that.
A few years ago I went from making $40k a year to $15k almost overnight. I barely slept, I barely ate— I lived and breathed architecture, work, relationships, and socializing for almost six years. It felt like the death of my soul because everything was a fog and I was just going through the motions or what was expected of me at that point. When I found out I was pregnant, I saw everything I had worked so hard for come to a grinding halt. I was scared and for the first time in my life I lacked a trajectory or system. I no longer knew what my future would hold or what my place in the world was. I stopped trusting my own intuition and going with the flow. I stopped and the world became very still— until it wasn’t anymore.
As I began the process of rebuilding my art portfolio and getting back into fine arts, I realized there was this huge empty space in the truly creative aspects of my life that had occurred sometime in the past decade or so. I used to create and draw and do all the time-- it was my lifeblood and what defined me as a person. And I recognized that I was much like clay— yielding, limitless, and adaptive but still clay nonetheless. Indented, fragmented, able to be shaped and reshaped over and over again. And I was-- over and over again.
It was in 2017 that I entered the fire and came out a beautiful object— brazen, hard, impenetrable. Strong. Fearless. Brave. All those things I thought out of my reach. When everything else fell away, I was still here and more alive than ever before.
No longer limited by anxieties, fears, or opinions I have become the phoenix I always knew I could be.
I stopped caring what others thought of me or how I was perceived and began validating myself while continuing supporting others. I stopped letting other people’s opinions about myself transform my own. I was no longer preoccupied with the things that confined me. I was so limited by trying to be everything to everyone all of the time, buying into ill opinions and feeling the sting of being abandoned and ostracized by some. It took me a while but I now know none of it mattered and the smoke and mirrors of other people or the pictures painted do not define me as a person. I used to think it was selfish to validate myself but now I know better. I was too dependent on their criticism to realize that I was doing just fine as a human being. I thought I needed to be accepted to be loved or have value and I was so wrong. I did not love myself or respect myself enough then, putting my passions and needs to the wayside, and it should never have come to that in the first place. It wasn't my standards that were the problem (they were surprisingly minimal and realistic)-- it was the fact that the people I chose and the standards were not compatible.
I developed a thicker skin because I chose to do so— not because of what others thought I needed and threw my way. I developed an incredible amount of patience. I gained more compassion and more reserve. I saw clearly where I was wrong in so many situations and right in so many others. I became connected with the universe again in a way I could not see for so long. I began to appreciate how small I was in this vast world of ours and how much joy came from the simplest of things. I learned to focus on the meaningful and disregard most everything else. Living life with an amazing, brilliant, hilarious toddler has made me see the world through her eyes in a new and vibrant way. I am constantly amazed by the challenges and rewards of motherhood and found that, even if I failed at everything else, being her mom is the definition of happiness for me.
My life is almost unrecognizeable from my previous one but I am now a more satisfied, more polished, less frail version of myself. The past few years have been a wake-up call of priorities— for the first time in my adult life my career is no longer #1. Everything took a backseat to my family and finally my “self” which was all long overdue. I stopped taking on projects and obligations that I could not maintain. I stopped focusing on relationships and friendships for the most part— which although wonderful in their own ways were a huge source of stress and ultimately draining for me. I stopped being a social butterfly and began developing skills with the excess energy I had been devoting to that. I was always "good" at everything so I never really mastered anything. I want to master some things while I still can.
I journeyed back into creating for the purpose of creating. I found that though my time to do so is more limited the feeling of creating is transformative in itself. I learned to tune out the dissonance and change up the frequency in my life. I found my strength of purpose came from being a mom, bringing beauty into the world, and from being happy in the moment. I still don’t have all of the answers and I still have a LOT to do in this world and in this life. I have a lot of growing to do yet to be sure.
But the main takeaway from this year was that I could adapt to constant change with ease. I could become better, stronger, wiser. I gained confidence last year but this year I gained more strength of character than I ever thought possible. This year found me making choices that were painful, going against the grain, and paving my own way. This year meant letting go and finding joy in cracks of sidewalks and in the laughs of babes. My daughter brought back the “song” of my life and this year brought back the color and the wonder. I found my purpose, not only through motherhood but through getting back to basics. I dusted off the pages of my life and am ready to experience it again with passion and tranquility. I now have the awareness and fortitude to succeed because I have peace and a wealth of experience at my fingertips.
2018 is a big year for us, not only because we are moving (closer to Asheville! Woohoo!) but also because it is a chance to grow new roots, to establish new habits, and to be closer to nature. In essence to build a new life as a new person, which are both scary and exciting prospects. As we renovate the new house, I've been painting everything white and I think it is such a symbol for new beginnings. It is the feeling of getting a new sketchbook and opening it to the first page--a blank slate within the realm of possibilities-- and there is something very exciting and invigorating about that. Things like losing weight and eating better are also on the agenda, of course, but exploring life with my little one and spending more time with family are the top priorities this year.
Wishing all of you a joyous 2018 filled with great experiences, growing, and the fire of new beginnings. Much love to you and yours in the coming year. Thanks for sharing this journey with us.
Now if you’ll excuse me— I have more growing to do. :)
We have all sorts of amazing items hitting the shop this coming week! A new round of necklaces, some unique vintage pieces, and more!
Also, be sure to check out our BIGGEST SALE OF THE YEAR going on right now! xoxo
WHAT YOU NEED TO SUCCEED
1 Minwax Fast-Drying Polyurethane Spray (2 coats is ideal!)
2 Marie's Gouache (I used the black gouache as it was water soluble-- a black gouache of any brand will probably do the trick)
3 KILZ Adhesion Bonding Primer (2 coats! You could get by with using 4 coats of regular KILZ if you are on a tight budget but the adhesion bonding was totally worth it when working with formica!)
4 Shur-line-style Foam Flocked Painting Edger (These were in the paint supplies section. Super low cost but amazing product to use!)
5 Apple Barrel Paint in Pewter Grey, Granite Gray, Bright White, and Lavender Sachet (The lavender and pewter help offset the higher contrast tones.)
6 Sponges (optional-- I ended up using wads of paper towels as they left less of a texture but either one works well)
7 Olympic Paint in Thin Ice (I used a small trial size-- if you can find a similar color in the seasonal trials near their paint chip area it can save you some serious $$$)
8 Scotch Blue Painter's Tape (is your BFF. For real.)
BACKGROUND I had been looking for a tulip-type table probably forever to match my Bertoia chairs and had zero luck. I finally decided to try to just find something visually similar for now. One day I was on Facebook Marketplace and saw this table for $10. It had just a standard white Formica top and needed a good paint job but for $10 I figured it was worth a shot. The previous owner was a rad lady and it was cool to carry on the legacy of something that was very dear to her.
STEP ONE For my project I needed to paint the base, so I used a few coats of a rust-inhibiting spray paint.
STEP TWO Seeing the chairs with the table helped me to better visualize how I would "marble" it to match. I have several actual Carrera marble pieces and other furniture so I used those as my loose inspirations. If you have an image or object to reference it can be helpful. I primed the surface of the table with the KILZ Adhesion Bonding Primer twice, giving each coat about two hours to dry before proceeding. The foam edger made it super easy and kept it from looking too streaky.
STEP THREE The next step is the most expressive. I took a wad of paper towels (a sponge or old rag could work similarly) and dabbed on the Thin Ice paint in diagonal streaks (about 3-4 inches in diameter and a couple inches apart across the table) and then feathered the edges as they began to dry. Then I added 1/2" drops of the acrylic paints (a little bit of each color in each section) and sponged them around while dragging them periodically. The white and lavender gave good highlights and the pewter added a more yellowish undertone. This helps to give a more "lateral" depth to the individual colors.
The keyword is layering and you pretty much make multiple layers and as they begin to dry you add more. Add painter's tape to anything you don't want to get excess paint on and drop cloths/newspaper are a must. The table will look "painted" but it has a really neat quality that still gives you a marble-like appearance.
STEP FOUR So the next big step is to add the black gouache streaks. Many people use feathers but I just used a round 01 paintbrush and a little bit of water and dragged it across from one end of the table to the other, frequently lifting up to add breaks in the lines (think dotted lines.) I added a few veins here and there as needed stretching out from the original line. Then I added extra thicker areas on each end made it more realistic. This looks like absolute crap at first but I promise it is worth it. You can add as many as you feel necessary.
As the gouache begins to dry, you will want to sponge over with the mixed acrylic colors very faintly so that you don't remove all of the black. Then you sponge and drag and sponge and drag, until you achieve a more marbled look. The beauty of it is if you mess up, just keep layering! If the paints are going on too thick, adding a bit of water to your brush will give it more transculency. The details will eventually work themselves out as they dry.
I made a higher-contrast layer and ended up nixing it because it was too much and went back to a more low-key version like before. Through trial and error I did something like this three times in an evening before the layers ended up exactly the way I wanted them. I then let it dry overnight and (optional step) sanded it down with a fine grit sandpaper where any excess paint resided.
FINAL STEP Once I was happy with the result, I sprayed the table with the Polyurethane twice, letting the coats dry a few hours each time. (MAKE SURE TO USE ADEQUATE VENTILATION, FOLKS.) Then I removed the painter's tape and all of the paint from my hands.
RESULT Voila! A totally different table! This was my first experiment in marbling something and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome despite the trial and error.
Have you recently tried to marble something as well? Please post your pro tips and links to your work in the comments! We'd love to see how you did it, too!
I've always, or at least since I can remember, had a huge fascination with Metabolism in Architecture. Perhaps it was my love for the 60's-70's or the World's Fair but much of what I love in design originated in the juxtaposition between the utilitarianism and the natural world. Metabolism is essentially that. Although the majority of features are inherently space age and minimal, the forms often took an exaggerated importance with a more organic feel. This, in some ways, was reminiscent of Brutalism but with a softer touch.
Rooted in postwar Japan, the movement began with a proposal by architects, artists, and designers to significantly overhaul the classical conventions of urban design. The sky was the limit in terms of how they represented this new form of the built environment. Think colossal structures with an organic, fuzzy side.
Historically, the style was short-lived in terms of application but the longevity of different principles and characteristics lived on. The architecture was visionary and extremely ahead of the times with ideas that could be utilized now. For those more interested in the history and philosophy behind the movement, this book is amazing. Although many of the buildings now are gone, or in a state of disrepair, the extreme detail of design and ergonomics were wonderful examples of what architecture could accomplish.
I'm currently in the process of renovating a 1940's bungalow made out of marble and the interiors were severely dated in terms of having pre-minimalist bones but a lot of filler. The upper attic has a really unique layout and details which I felt would make the perfect studio to work from. I had some reservations about completely whitewashing the space but found that by taking a more organic approach it is coming together in a way that captures the spirit of this movement for me. While most modern designs don't really echo the same aesthetic, there are more distilled versions of some attributes of the style that could be utilized in our homes today. Some are more obvious than others but the organic spirit is what counts.
I know most of us can't afford to completely overhaul our spaces or give up all of our precious worldly possessions in favor of something more utilitarian. We can, however, adapt some of the principles of this design strategy and make it our own. I found some simple, relatively quick ways to echo this movement while still keeping it my own space and hope that these tips might help out others as well!
1. WHITE ALL OVER
Metabolism was an anomaly in the realm of architecture movements because it blended the grandiose and unconventional with the organic. There are some things about those bright white, pristine walls and low-intensity contrast that set my cold heart aflutter. Paired with textured woolen grays and pops of color (orange, chartreuse, and mint being some favorite recommendations,) the bright white becomes a warm and friendly environment sans the clutter. The result was more visually open, brighter, and energizing. Muted stone elements (like marble) add additional texture to a space.
The white doesn't have to be just limited to walls either. I even went as far as painting some of my midcentury furniture white and it made a huge impact on how open the space feels. Circular forms and organic shapes were key features that set off the most symmetrical/perfected qualities in the space. Repetitive geometric forms were also desirable. Finding multiple functions or uses for items, when painted a similar color, can give a sense of cohesion that reduces the scattered energy in our modern world. Of course, using environmentally responsible paints or other low-impact paints would be ideal.
2. PLANT LOVE
The unity of man and nature with technology and advancement are characteristics very apparent in Metabolism. By taking a more passive role, we can find ways to configure the natural elements with the more stoic ones. When I think of that style-- mossy forms and a good balance of hanging/potted plants, cacti, or succulents are the first things that come to mind. Basically bringing the natural world in, with organic shapes and textures, can breathe new life into your space and put you in touch with your inner spirit.
3. HIGHLIGHT (A FEW OF ) YOUR FAVORITE THINGS
In an age of the maximalist, it is difficult to go minimalist. But it is good to *wabi sabi* your life a bit and put meaning into the objects that inhabit your space. If it does not serve a purpose or bring you joy, it needs to go. By having more minimal features in your space, it gives you an opportunity to highlight the things you love in a more intentional way. This speaks volumes about who you are as a person and can be a mechanism for growth (as well as reducing your carbon footprint)-- all good things.
4. WOOD IS YOUR COPILOT
Beyond contrasting with color, wood can be a great vehicle for offsetting the more clinical attributes of the Metabolist style Wood floors, some furnishings, or an accent wall can add an unexpected visual element to make your space more dynamic and aesthetically pleasing. Not only is it natural but it also has a story and a history as it was likely existing here before you were even a thought in the world. It is a great way to pay homage to the world by showing some love for it.
5. A SEASHELL | A MOLD | A SPIRIT
Noburu Kawazoe wrote an essay entitled I want to be a sea-shell, I want to be a mold, I want to be a spirit and within it (albeit rather abstractly) discussed the proposed unity of man and nature. Something we can adopt from this is that, in existential terms, we come from our planet and the relationship to it is symbiotic. By honoring the natural world, we can live a more genuine life. Our environment is often the shape, or mold, that we are surrounded by. To transcend beyond ourselves and to unify with the world around us in a present way can enrich our lives and relationships in ways unfathomable. I believe, out of these 5, it is the most important takeway. By being intentional with our actions and our surroundings we can build a world that is closer to nature and our origins.
AHHH! THE HOLIDAYS ARE HERE!
Holidays for me are the equivalent of being in a super-scare-your-balls-off haunted house. If you're also in a bit of a panic this month, feel free to chill out with a stiff drink and rest easy dreaming of these sunny vistas and beautiful destinations.
We touched base with our founder and editor Taylor Parker earlier this week to discuss the act of creating design work and the pitfalls she has experienced in her profession. This is part of an ongoing series of experience-based articles dissecting the subject of why we create and what motivates us.
SA: How did you get where you are today and what has impacted you the most?
TP: I always had an entrepreneurial spirit and wore a variety of hats over the years. I spent the last six years getting my Bachelor's in Architecture and truly believed that was my calling. In retrospect I think it was always just a stepping stone to something more creative and less restrictive. Architecture, being a highly rigorous profession, was very good for me in terms of exercising design skills and strategies. Design is such an intrinsic part of my person that I jokingly liken it to breathing. Getting creative blocks can equated with drowning for me so I try to constantly be in a state of creative output.
I’ve always been a bit of a workaholic so the future I saw for myself was a very lonely one— working at firms in a bigger city and basically just existing. I always saw myself alone as serious relationships or children I believed to be beyond my scope. I worked full-time, went to school full-time, barely slept, and really didn’t practice self-care on the level I should have at all.
The turning points for me were pretty significant ones: I had a close-to-dying experience and a few years later found out I was pregnant with the most amazing little girl. I would say that those two things made me really look at the trajectory of my life and realize that what I thought was my destiny really was not at all what I had planned it to be. I was always good at most anything I tried to do which made it more difficult to narrow down to a common niche. I had the ample ability to do anything I set my mind to but in the end lacked focus and execution. Ultimately this tenacity and fearlessness would always be my undoing although I strive more now to remedy those things. My work became a series of failures/experiences where I half-assed things simply because I thought I was a more seasoned sailor than I was in reality. I believe that in some regard I wanted to DO everything and BE everyone to such an exhaustive extent that I could not maintain it. To do such things would be impossible and idiotic. But nevertheless I found it quite unfortunate and had to come to terms with the fact that there is not enough time or energy to experience everything in this lifetime. I wanted to spend every moment doing and being. It never occurred to me that just being myself was enough. I guess I thought I had something to prove and I know now that I don't have to prove anything to anyone.
The realization of this was disappointing, but it takes courage to fail and pick yourself back up again and again. So I picked myself up again and again and again-- Over and over and over. I made a colossal amount of errors and l mistakes. And I made a lot of good decisions, too. I am grateful that I had an amazing support system through family and friends who didn’t fault me for trying and encouraged me if at times that courage would falter. But at the end of the day I became stronger and I learned from most all of those experiences. I now look for the pitfalls and find alternate ways of dealing with them. Being self-aware is incredibly important and I highly recommend that people periodically examine their decisions and are honest about their motivations, especially when working in the creative field.
In ways that were exponentially significant, and with limited timeframes, I found that not only did I really love teaching but the very basic creative activities that I grew up learning with my own mother. The way I felt about architecture once upon a time (a shimmering star that significantly burned out in the end) paled in comparison to the synergy I now feel when I am just creating and instructing. So in a way, my “current field” became a meadow full of many things that brought me joy. The incredible thing about that type of joy is that it can spread like a wildfire if you let it. The good kind of wildfire that causes things to grow better-- not the bad-shitty-arsonist-kind, of course.
SA: How do you research the business/marketing side of Tamer Animals?
TP: One of the most fantastic inventions in my lifetime was the Internet. When I think about how I used to huddle over encyclopedias with their limited facts and figures in comparison to now with the world at our fingertips it is a very humbling thing. I have, in some form or another, been a lifelong student of business practices.
I will be the first to tell you that I suck at marketing, especially when it comes to marketing myself as a "brand." I am not a fan of the limelight and prefer to sit on the sidelines whenever possible so it has been very character-building to have to exhibit a more sociable version of myself than I am generally comfortable with sharing. That is not to say that I am not an exhibitionist on some level (most creative types are) but I would rather delegate these things to people who enjoy them more than I do. I am constantly in a state of “most-improved-but-needs-improvement” and it has become a dedicated mission to figure out what motivates people to make the choices that they make. The internet, in some respects, has simplified much of this but ultimately complicated things as well.
To begin research I usually sit down and list the questions I have. I am a huge fan of making lists, especially because I tend to be more on the “messy creative” side. Although a minimalist at heart, my mind is constantly going a mile a minute at times and clutter reigns supreme. I talk about as much as I type and about as fast. I try to curb my verbosity as I have a tendency to seek clarity to a fault. Part of being Type A is being too thorough, I suppose.
So lists are my co-pilot and keep all that clutter at bay— until I accidentally lose the list in the clutter of course. Apps like to:day are a boon for me because they combine a really beautiful UI/UX with text and visuals. Being a visual person, I find this is very helpful. It is also helpful that I don't lose my phone quite as often as I would lose my lists.
I then systematically go through and search each one and write down any information I feel is exceptional. Sometimes this leads to more questions or notes but I think the process of asking those questions aloud is very helpful. Tax information, marketing, and basic business practices are all easily accessible and constantly in a state of flux. If you can learn something new every day, you are putting your time here to good use.
Product research is a bit trickier. I am constantly pinning and taking screenshots of things that inspire me but I do have an unspoken fear about unconsciously emulating others. I think gathering inspiration can be very helpful but there is a fine line between being inspired and being lazy. While the knee-jerk reaction is to mimic via inspired means the better questions to ask are more meaningful: How can I improve upon this? If I couldn’t get anyone to buy this, would I enjoy it for my own use? Am I being truthful to my mission and my evolution? Am I being genuine with clients/customers by releasing this product?
SA: What is your greatest motivator?
TP: That is really a hard thing to pin down. I have always tended to be a very complex person with heavily structured ideals about the act of creation. In a physical sense, my daughter is probably my biggest motivator. I want her to have rich experiences in her life and to be able to expose her to a wide variety of objects and subjects. I am eternally grateful for my mom for she instilled a deep respect for creation within me and taught me not only to have strength but also integrity. These are things that alone are powerful but all together create a high level of perseverance and a hotbed for creativity.
My mother is incredibly skilled in all things creative and I like to think that the majority of my successes were a result of her letting me make messes, think independently, and create without limits. Seeing the recognition and curiosity my daughter exhibits not only motivate me but also make me appreciate the sacrifices my mother made to help me become the person I am today. I strive to be better every day and release kindness into the world any way I can.
From a personal sense, I think my biggest motivation is seeking balance. It has been a running theme throughout my life— the pursuit of tranquility— and I think it is such an important part of who I am. I strive to make a mark on the world each day in a limited capacity, even if it is just in my tiny universe. I spent a large early portion of my life seeking stability through relationships and thinking that those would make me whole and happy. I thought that once I found my "soulmate" it would "free up" the time i was invested in such things. I believed that by doing so I would have the the newfound freedom and energy to devote more to my creative pursuits. I thought love was the answer to everything and was very naive about the world and human behavior. I think I lacked the self-confidence and self-awareness to realize that they were obstacles and not bridges. I spent an embarrassing amount of time sinking into those murky waters only to find that the happiest place I could be in was when I was producing.
SA: What have been some of your biggest hurdles as a business or individual?
TP: *Consistency is always a hurdle for me because life tended to have ideas of its own. I always had good intentions but follow-through can be ineffectual. It is still something I am mindful of even now.
*I was always very “hands-on” with any work I did. Having to step back due to time constraints and become more passive in my approach has been very challenging.
*Financials are always a hurdle. I think it helps to treat it as a second job and not a hobby, but keeping a good cash flow going from a reliable source is very importance. It seems counterintuitive in some ways. As much as many of us hope we will be at the right place at the right time, the reality is that it takes a ton of hard work, dedication, and hustling to get where you want to go.
*Scheduling under very strict time constraints (such as having kids or an intense job) is extremely difficult. While I find it inspiring that some women are able to juggle four kids and a high-profile job while running their small business, most of us are under severe constraints. Dedicating even an hour a day is helpful. Write everything down as you think of it. Don’t look at other people to assess your value.
SA: What advice would you give to makers who are just starting out?
TP: *Don’t get caught up in what is trending. Pave your own way. Choose your own adventure.
*If you fail, don’t just fold or wallow in a big ole pile of self-pity. Ask yourself these three questions: 1) What did I do wrong? 2) What lesson should I have learned from this? and 3) How can I do better next time? Take responsibility for where you have fallen short and looking at failures as gifts and lessons. Not only can you place a positive spin on things by doing this but looking at them as experiences (whether good or bad) ultimately gives you the gumption to move forward.
*Don’t obsess over perfect. Perfect is for the infallible people that are in denial. Be human and create things that expose your humanity and breadth of experience. Don’t be afraid to deviate from all that you know and love. Perfect can also be dull. Dare to go against the grain.
*You will have $0 days and you will have $500 days. Make sure whatever you are doing is for the right reasons or you will never be satisfied with your output regardless of how much you make.
*Work-life balance SUCKS sometimes. If you overextend yourself too much and don’t take the time out to charge your batteries, you’ll burn out. Not only does this decrease your productivity severely but your lousy lease on life can affect the folks around you (which is a crummy thing to do.) Don’t be an asshole. Get some actual sleep, step away from the phone/computer/whatever, and eat an actual meal.
*Evolution is important. We are constantly revolving and evolving. Don’t get stuck in old, bad habits and always keep in mind that your origin is not your destination. You and you alone are responsible for the direction your life can take. Don’t be afraid to experiment and don't be afraid to fail either. Become a newer, better version of yourself every chance you get and this will be reflected in your work as well.
SA: How do you develop your work?
TP: I try to clear my mind. I was never really adept at this or good at meditation so I start by making forms or words on a blank page and see what develops. I think my personal design style is very intuitive— a series of unconscious movements to arrive at a nondescript location. Everything is in a state of being chaotic and unplanned and as a more rigorous person I enjoy the freedom of the disarray. I like to think that I am a scientist more than an artist. I want to throw all of the elements in and see what comes out in the end. They are all experiments to me. Creating is exhilarating and sometimes even a bit scary. But when your excitement overrides your fears you will know you are in a good place. There are unintentional moments in design that can make or break what you are doing but you should never be scared of that. It’s far easier to close your eyes and leap in to the unknown. You can say a few prayers beforehand but the outcome is largely dependent on your frame of mind in the moment.
SA: What is your typical process day-to-day?
TP: I try to harness creative energy through experience. Rituals are very important to me. The more stress I am under or deadlines that are imposed the more I begin to wane in productivity so I try to limit stressors and prioritize better. I used to set an unrealistic amount of tasks on my lists and became dissatisfied and disappointed with myself so I am not much more realistic about my constraints and energy levels. Rituals like morning coffee or tea, nature walks, crafting with my daughter, singing, and reading are all things that feed my soul. Once I feel energized, I will devote a couple of evenings in a row to distinct tasks after my daughter goes to bed. I am a night owl so working at night is my modus operandi. Being a single parent means that my free time is effectively a hot commodity so I try to make every moment count now.
I spend my days focused on what matters so at night I will be able to celebrate that freedom by calling on a stream of consciousness. I will sometimes knock out four or five illustrations in an evening if I am on a roll. Whether they are perfect or not is immaterial. It is the act of creating that I respond to— the journey rather than the destination. As an INFJ I enjoy my solitude unimpeded in those times and I think those are the moments especially when my work is able to take on a life all its own.
SA: Where do you hope to see yourself in five years?
TP: We are in the process of moving to a sleepy mountain town near Asheville, so I hope I have become established a prosperous career in that time and can continue creating and experimenting. The idea of being nestled in the mountains surrounded by nature is an irony not lost on me who always prided herself as a city girl. There is something magical though about starting a new life and being a new person. Five years down the road I hope the continue be a good mother, a good daughter, a good friend. I hope to be an even better version of myself whether my ventures are successful or not. I would like to bring more to the table than just myself and to be able to be of service to the world in some capacity.
Taylor Parker is an architectural/textile designer, illustrator, blogger, children's book author, and maker from Knoxville, Tenn. Through whimsical designs and vibrant colors she hopes to capture the beauty of abstraction through a marriage of nature and the built environment. She likes to combine hand-painted objects with some digital manipulation as her signature style. She has also been in the vintage business for over fifteen years and loves finding unique pieces for wear or environment. She has a daughter and furkid, loves soul and shoegaze (she is also an occasional DJ,) and enjoys getting her feet wet in new projects and mediums.
If you've noticed things being a little on the quiet side lately, not to worry. The wait is finally over and we're ready to unveil our new and improved shop! We've been seriously hustling the past few months to get new handmade products, illustrations, and design your way as well as some unique found fashions.
Want to peruse our new stock? Just click on the "shop" link on the navigation bar at the top of the screen and have at it!
There are more awesome things in store for TA in 2018, including:
*We'll be launching our Spoonflower collections early in the year. Whether you just casually sew or are a dedicated crafter, we got you.
*We're in the process of adding Society6 to our roster as well as some local printers for our stationery, calendars, and greeting cards for the Spring 2018 collection.
*Our TA Kids Lookbook is slated for Summer 2018.
*We'll be working with Blurb and Chatbooks to bring you some really amazing books.
*Curated vintage accessory boxes. Need we say more?
*We'll be extending our handmade/illustrated collection to include more custom orders!
Thank you all for your continued patience with us and support!
Less than a week to go and we are getting excited about it! Is your kiddo the ultimate procrastinator? We curated some of staff favorites that are sure to inspire!
1) When all else fails-- Dollar Tree.
2) Some of the most amazing costumes can include household objects-- painted, decoupaged, or paper mache magic can be quick and fun projects to work on with the kiddos!
3) For inexpensive fabrics, thrift stores are a boon! It's the least expensive route for velvets and other luxury fabrics in a pinch! They also tend to carry a wide assortment of children's clothing that could be repurposed or added on to easily.
The family that trick-or-treats together stays together, right?
Halloween is almost here and we couldn't be more excited! Every day this week we are going to post some Halloween-inspired costume ideas to help ya'll if you're having trouble deciding what to do last-minute. If you already have a costume, there's always next year, right?
Space babes and aliens have been a staple for a long time, but there are so many variations and amazing ways to make the style uniquely your own. Whether in metallic vinyl suits or glittering stars, some of the following could be combined to boost your costume level out of this world! (Yeah, I went there.)