An Interview with Brittany Campbell

Photo by Megan Boltz

Links of Interest

One of my hobbies in high school was making beaded bracelets (mostly with seed beads) nothing complex — or actually aesthetically appealing, now that I think about it — by any means, but it was both a therapeutic and painstaking hobby. I spent my freshman summer nights making bracelets that I then sold to my mom’s coworkers and while the beaded bracelets were fun to make, I soon found that I didn’t have the patience and steady hands (there were literally dozens if not hundreds of seed bead universes on the carpet of my bedroom floor) for it, so I eventually gave up the hobby after the summer was over.

I enjoy discovering artists who work with beads and natural findings, like talented jeweler Brittany Campbell of The Home Ground, who creates some of the dreamiest nature-inspired necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that are perfect to wear for virtually any occasion. I find Brittany’s handiwork fascinating and she makes it look so effortless! I remember when I worked with jewelry pliers and wire cutters that there was much gnashing of teeth involved, something you won’t see in the video below.

Read on to find out more about what led Brittany to jewelry-making, who influenced her work, and what she loves about nature.

Share a little bit about yourself.
I was born and raised in Grand Haven, Michigan, a smallish beach town on Michigan’s west coast. I now live in Plymouth, MI with the best husband ever (I’m not biased, I swear).

Growing up in a house in the woods was the best. My sisters and I were always playing outside, discovering frogs, baby snapping turtles (we lived on a creek), new trees to climb, and new muck to get stuck in. I usually brought home treasures from our adventures, including all kinds of stones when we went camping up north. I see my jewelry making as an extension of this collecting habit, each new stone I find being a new treasure. I also hope that my customers see my jewelry in the same light, as a new piece to add to their collection.

My mom has been making jewelry since college and both of my parents always encouraged our creativity. My first jewelry memory is when my mom bought me a bead loom. It was awesome! I had the special graph paper to design my own bead patterns for each cuff. I’m not sure how many bracelets I actually finished, but I know I designed a ton.

Brittany Campbell's tools

I didn’t become seriously interested in jewelry design, however, until my mom opened up her bead store, The Creative Fringe, in downtown Grand Haven. Being her first employee, I had to learn the ropes of jewelry making pretty quickly so I could teach our customers. I loved it. (And still do!)

Share a little bit about your shop.
About halfway through college, I began to realize that I wanted to be a studio artist in some way or another. I wanted to be an independent designer/maker, which soon expanded to include owning a brick & mortar shop. I wanted to spend my days creating and collecting beautiful things.

I had been selling my jewelry at CCS’s annual student/alumni art and craft show every December, but it was time to take the next step. I approached a couple of local shops about carrying my work on consignment and so began my relationship with Haven, in Plymouth, MI. I’ve now been selling my work there for over 3 years! Once I graduated, I dove head-first into the making of the Home Ground. That summer was all about the Home Ground (I even worked on it during our vacation to Hawaii! I was crazy). I officially opened the “doors” to the Home Ground shop on October 14th, 2010 and am so glad I did.

jewelry by The Home Ground

[images above]: Daphne / Aster / Anemone / Echeverria

What’s the story behind the name of your shop?
My style has always been minimal, with a focus on integrity of material. My husband and I spent that entire summer trying to come up with a name. I had pages and pages of brainstorming notes, word associations, everything. With a future brick & mortar in mind, I finally settled on the Home Ground. Not only does it embody the natural, grounded aesthetic of my jewelry, but it’s universal, lending itself nicely to anything I wanted to carry or make.

How would you describe your artistic style?
Minimal, nature-inspired, modern. I like to keep things simple, in order to focus on the stones I use. To me, the stones are the most important part. I love designing the rest of the piece, but every necklace, bracelet and pair of earrings starts with a stone.

My work is very much in tune with the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi. It’s notoriously difficult to explain, but Wikipedia puts it nicely, “Wabi connotes rustic simplicity, freshness or quietness… or understated elegance. It can also refer to quirks and anomalies arising from the process of construction, which add uniqueness and elegance to the object. Sabi is beauty or serenity that comes with age, when the life of an object and its impermanence are evidenced in its patina and wear, or in any visible repairs.” I want my jewelry to remind the wearer of their connection to the earth, of the beauty in natural imperfection and asymmetry.

photos by Megan Boltz

What does a typical day look like for you?
Well, I work full-time as an administrative manager and social media marketer for a real estate team in Ann Arbor. That being said, my weekdays are a little crazy! I work 9:30-6, come home, help my husband with dinner, eat and clean up. By then it’s usually already 8pm! I then fight my fatigue trying to get something accomplished for the Home Ground, whether it’s making jewelry orders, writing a new blog post, or researching.

The weekends are much better, as we try to leave one day completely open. I like to wake up around 9, make a cup of coffee, catch up on my favorite places around the internet (including Pinterest!), then get to work. My husband sleeps in on the weekend, so I try to get as much done as I can in the morning.

What’s your most-prized nature-inspired possession?
I have two answers for this question. My first is a collection of prized possessions that actually came from nature: the various shells, stones and coral I’ve gathered from the ocean in Hawaii.

Brittany Campbell's shell collection

We got engaged and married on the island of Kauai, so Hawaii is a very very meaningful place for me. I love the ocean unendingly, and love that I have treasures to remind me of the smell of salt in the air and of frolicking with sea turtles (that really happened!).

My second possession qualifies as nature-inspired: my wedding ring. When Eric first asked me what kind of engagement ring I wanted (um, major clue!), I was having such a hard time deciding between handmade or antique.

Brittany Campbell's wedding ring

I chose antique. So, for my wedding ring I wanted to find something handmade that was unique but not over-the-top. I found Laura Lombardi via Turtle Love Co. and was in love. This ring is so beautiful and wearing it not only reminds me of what an awesome husband I have, but also of my love for nature.

What are a few things you enjoy about nature?
Being closer to nature helps me to exist in the present moment. When I’m hiking or kayaking or even just sitting outside, I tune in to the smells, sounds and sights around me much more than I do inside or in an urban environment. I remember to look at the details, in the way the bark has grown over time, in the way the leaves rustle with the breeze. I always feel more content and grounded when I’m closer to nature.

I also find infinite inspiration in the incredible variety nature holds. This is the primary reason for my obsession with natural stones. Every piece of aquamarine shares the same chemical makeup, the same geological history, but each stone is completely unique. I love that this makes each of my pieces of jewelry absolutely individual, even within a limited edition.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

Samuel Jan

Paloma Negra by Samuel Jan

For the past eight months I have had the pleasure of working with emerging artist Samuel Jan. In my work I encounter an exciting array of artists who have a varying degree of skill in their chosen field. With the development and growth of abstract art in the past century, technical skills such as shadowing, perspective, depth of field and

realistic portrayal have taken a back seat. This is not to say that abstract art does not require its own set of skills. I’m known for my admiration of painters who  create a series of seemingly inconsequential marks and yet the result is something both beautiful and moving. That type of art requires a certain level of looseness and fluidity, which I do not possess!

tree in winter by Samuel Jan

That being said, I think there is something remarkable about the sheer talent of artists like Samuel Jan. His ability to render humans and animals with such clarity and realism is nothing short of sheer genius. Jan has a secret penchant for shadow boxes and is equally talented with a paintbrush – but today I want to share with you his exquisite charcoal works.

the doorman by Samuel Jan

My favourite aspect about Jan’s artwork is the slight sense of eeriness and surrealism. In The Doorman, a little girl beneath an umbrella encounters a foreboding but gentle rhinoceros. The situation seems odd, but somehow delightful in its absurdity. In this piece, as in Paloma Negra (at top), the artist creates an ease and a connection between humans and their animal counterparts.

lady with the hat by Samuel Jan

In the following series of drawings entitled “Victoria Stories,” Jan again depicts a peculiar cross between humans and animals – this time the humans wear startlingly realistic masks made of fur, whiskers and antlers.

artwork by Samuel Jan

Samuel, who is originally from Taipei, claims to be a loner but believes that his art and his imagination are a great comfort to him. In that sense he is a stereotypical artist – his appearance and quiet demeanor never gives away his astounding creativity and talent.

About Kaitlyn Webb Patience

Kaitlyn is the editor of isavirtue blog and the creator of isavirtue stationery. Using these outlets, she shares her profound obsession with contemporary art and snail mail. She lives on Vancouver Island in the beautiful Canadian province of British Columbia — here she finds inspiration from the world around her and the spirited people within it.

Miles of Light

Photo by Miles of Light

Links of Interest

Hello again! For this installment of inspiration, I thought I would introduce you to the wonderfully styled photographs of nature, created by Miles of Light.

Photos by Miles of Light

Miles of Light is the original botanical photographic prints shop created by Romina Bacci. Romina creates beautifully simple arrangements using little treasures from nature. When looking through the Miles of Light shop, you will find leaves neatly organised, feathers delicately laid out and layouts that are reminiscent of old botanical illustrations — showing every little detail of a plant, leaf or flower.

Photos by Miles of Light

Each print has a very striking impact, with Romina using the simplicity of colour, tone, shape or material to create interesting arrangements and catalogues of nature.

About Mr Yen

Mr Yen creates paper cut art work and designs inspired by nature. Having taught himself to paper cut through years of practice, persistence and patience, he finds natural forms to be the most inspirational when creating his paper cut designs. You can see Mr Yen paper cut art here and buy Mr Yen paper cut art pieces here.

Sarah Dennis

Fishing by Sarah Dennis

I’ve said it many times before, and I’ll say it again: I love fairy tales. I grew up reading kid-friendly versions of stories by Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Perault, and the Grimm Brothers. The illustrative and paper-cut works of Sarah Dennis exemplify the beauty of nature in fairy tales and whimsy of childhood dreams.

artwork by sarah dennis

These look like illustrations from books that I’d love to read to my little dearests.

paper cut art by Sarah Dennis

If you live in London, be sure to check out her work in person at Le Garage Gallery, more details here.

About Donaville Herrick

Donaville is the Founder of Dearest Nature and also Co-Founder and Creative Director of Hello Hello Hi. When visions of nature and web design aren't dancing in her head, she enjoys spending time with her three munchkins, baking cupcakes, and trying her hand at various crafts. Follow her on Twitter to stay updated with her day-to-day musings.

A Focus on Fungi

Photo by Kelli Shedd

Hi Everyone, I’m Kelli, the Borealchick and I’m so excited to be sharing here today on Dearest Nature!

For my first post I thought it would be fitting to explore one of my current inspirations, the world of fungi. Nature plays a strong role in the art that I make, and every now and then I become enchanted with a subject within it. My recent drawings are an exploration fungi using a combination of found and imagined patterns to describe these delicate and sometimes colorful organic shapes.

Fungi illustrations by Kelli Shedd

The climate in the Northeast is the prefect breeding ground for a variety of fungi year-round with polypores being the most abundant this time of the year. Polypores are small to large in size and look like a shelf or disk attached to the side of a live or dead tree.  With spring only slowly creeping in, my hiking has turned more into a search for new fungi unearthed by the snow and ice.

fungi on fallen trees photographed by Kelli Shedd

The photographs shown above are of fungi on fallen trees, the round variety may be a colony of insect galls, but the jury is still out!

About Kelli Shedd

Kelli is an artist, designer, and all around maker! Her passion for line drawings, nature and all things paper are the driving inspiration behind the creations for her stationery and paper goods company, Borealchick Designs. Based in New Hampshire (North of Mt. Washington), the art she creates are a whimsical translation of the beautiful environment in which she resides, all while maintaining a chic and modern edge.