An Interview with Laura E. Pritchett

Photos by Laura E. Pritchett

Links of Interest

October is here already and 2012 seems like a blur with life seeming like it’s passing by at 100mph! Who’s ready for a new month and a new interview? I’m ecstatic to share some wonderful photos by artist Laura E. Pritchett, whose photos immediately caught my eye on instagram.

photos by Laura E. Pritchett / featured on discoverpaper.com

To say Laura’s photos are a marvel would be a huge understatement. Each photo she captures (with her phone!) is a masterful work of art full of rich colors, liveliness, and an overwhelming sense of peace. Read on and get to know Laura a little bit more with her interview and be sure to follow Laura on instagram — she goes by the username “bythebrush” — and have a look around at her lovely artwork, too.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Southern, DE and am primarily self-taught as an oil painter. I have been pursuing art since childhood and began receiving portrait commissions around 14 years old. Currently, I am working on a figure series and preparing for gallery representation.

photos by Laura E. Pritchett / featured on dearestnature.com

How would you describe your artistic style?
I hope it simply feels alive.

In paintings, I’m allowing my brush strokes to relax more and more to help create the energy that I want. I find that in my photos I apply tilt-shift in an effort to achieve a similar result. Several people have mentioned lately that I have a cinematic style – which was something I had not considered at the start, but does express my love of capturing action.

photos by Laura E. Pritchett / featured on dearestnature.com

Who are some of your artistic influences?
I learn from many current realist painters, but am also drawn to the moodiness and controlled tones of Andrew Wyeth. I love Vermeer’s light and Monet’s palette, but I cannot choose a favorite artist. I learn from everyone. Certain music can affect me as much as visual arts do – anyone who helps me to experience life to a new dimension is an influence.

What’s one of your favorite photos you’ve captured with your phone?

photo by Laura E. Pritchett / featured on dearestnature.com

A recent photo that I captioned “awe” is a current favorite because it was clearly God’s doing — I merely set the self-timer app to snap the photo. That sky was just something I could only stand in awe of and is a scene I am powerless to properly re-create (though I’ll probably try!).

What are three of your desert island must-haves?
I really only have one “desert island must-have:” my husband Nicholas. I’m sure that together we could figure out how to either happily survive there or get back home (smile).

What are a few things you love about nature?
I love the day-to-day unpredictability of nature, the fact that we still have so little control over it, the ability it has to spellbind me with its beauty and remind me that I am very small.

photo by Laura E. Pritchett / featured on dearestnature.com

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.

An interview with Briana Taylor

Pooling rains quilt by Briana Taylor

I’ve never really been one for quilts namely because the ones I typically saw were in my grandparents’ home and always looked so … old-fashioned. They’re comfy, yes. But a little too grandmotherly for my taste.

But enter Briana Taylor and her brilliant and nature-inspired lively style and creates artistic quilts, fabric bowls, pot holders, and more and I think I’ve changed my mind about quilts forever. Today, she’s sharing a bit about herself and what she enjoys about nature.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I am from Western Massachusetts and have been a New England girl my whole life. Since I was very little, art and art making has been a predominant endeavor. I finally went to art school at 27 years old and studied painting. I think being an older student helped me have a more grounded idea about what I wanted to do with my art and abilities. Anyone can go to art school, it’s just that they really don’t tell you how to “make it” as an artist after you leave … there’s no real road map, like being a lawyer or a dentist. You get out and look around and think “now what?” You can’t just hole up in your studio making art and hope that people find you.

fabric bowls by Briana Taylor / featured on dearestnature.com

I became interested in making quilts in an organic way. I’d been working hard to develop my painting and establish a way to exhibit and sell my work, at the same time I spent periods of time working full time jobs. I’ve always been interested in sewing and started making some quilts and selling them from my painting studio during Open Studio events … then I found Etsy. I was making mostly small stuff, like pot holders and coasters and found that I could make some extra money that way. Whenever I listed a quilt it would usually sell right away, so I knew there was something to this and that I could eventually quit my day job and work at sewing and painting and hopefully support myself. And that’s what I’ve done!

Who are some artists you admire?
Mark Tobey, Helen Frankenthaler, Louise Bourgeois, Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko, to name a few.

Briana Taylor quilts / featured on dearestnature.com

Who are some people that have inspired you to pursue art/quilt making?
My mother, she passed away in 2009 … she was probably my biggest fan.

Of the quilts you’ve created, which is your favorite?
The one that I gave to my boyfriend for his birthday two years ago. It is a really complicated gradation quilt made from many tiny scraps of fabric. It took a gazillion hours to make, but it was so worth it. I’ve since tried to make others in this way, but that one just turned out the best.

pot holders by Briana Taylor / featured on dearestnature.com

What are some things you enjoy about nature?
Let me count the ways :) It’s quiet, provides a peaceful atmosphere in which to rejuvenate and recharge the spirit. Most of the moments I want to remember in my life have happened in some outdoor place. There are so many fantastic places to explore and discover, and I’ve even started to learn to like the cold New England winter by immersing myself in it through cross country skiing, snow shoeing and I’m just beginning to learn to downhill ski! We’ll see how that goes. And it is also an endless source of inspiration for art.

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.

An Interview with: Rebecca Long

Sea glass and starfish mobile by The Rubbish Revival

I recently had the pleasure of discovering Santa Barbara, California-dwelling Rebecca Long’s shop The Rubbish Revival, where she sells a slew of decorative sea glass creations. I am smitten by Rebecca’s ombre sea glass mobiles, that are a perfect representation of the ocean’s gradients.

I emailed Rebecca to find out a little bit more about her, the inspiration behind her shop, and what she enjoys about nature. Read on for an inspiring and heartfelt interview with Rebecca.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I grew up running around barefoot in the woods in rural southwest Virginia. I studied at Virginia Commonwealth University where I graduated with a BA in Graphic Design, even though half way through my junior year, I knew I wasn’t cut out to sit, starring at a computer screen all day. The design training works it’s way into my life almost everyday, but I have never worked exclusively as a graphic designer.

sea glass mobiles by The Rubbish Revival / featured on dearestnature.com

Share a little bit about your shop.
I opened my Etsy shop in August 2011. It started off slowly, but has turned into a flurry of activity with customers from Australia, to Europe, even the next town over.

Who are some artists that inspire you?
Everyone. Everything. I know that’s a vague answer, but I can’t even begin to explain how I get inspired for most of the things that I make. The sea glass mobiles are definitely inspired by a woman in Maine, named Jane Moran Porter. She makes beautiful mobiles and to my knowledge, is the first to do it.

sea stone magnets by The Rubbish Revival / featured on dearestnature.com

Of the things you’ve created so far, what’s one yoou’re been most proud of?
The first sea glass mobile. It’s kind of ugly, but I’ll keep it forever. It was the beginning of a new life for me. It was the first step to starting my business. I went from being an unfulfilled stay at home mom, to a successful business owner AND fulfilled stay at home mom. This first step is always the hardest, right?

What’s one of your most-prized nature possessions?

green sea glassIt is a piece of green sea glass. It’s the first one that my daughter ever spotted and picked up on her own. She was just a little over one year old. She had been me from birth, strapped to my chest, as I combed the beach looking for glass. She was walking well by then and just bent down, picked it up with her chubby little fingers and squealed. I was so proud.

What are some things you enjoy about nature?

Living near the ocean is such an immense privilege. I go to the beach almost everyday because my soul needs it. The ocean has an amazing restorative quality. It takes trash that humans have carelessly dumped into it and makes something as wonderful as sea glass. I love that. The sound of the waves washing up on the shore day after day, reminds me that life goes on no matter what. It keeps me centered and washes all the noise of life back out to sea.

sea glass gem magnets by The Rubbish Revival / featured on dearestnature.com

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.

An Interview with Meghann Rader

Tree line vignette necklace by Meghann Rader

I’m ecstatic about sharing the work of Canadian artist Meghann Rader, who also took some time to answer a few of our questions for an interview. Read on to find out who and what inspires Meghann and be sure to visit her website and shop to check out more of her incredible work.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello, my name is Meghann, I grew up in Victoria, British Columbia, on west coast of Canada. In 2006 I graduated from the Emily Carr Institute of Art and Design in Vancouver and I now live with my husband Tobias in Port Alberni, a smallish town that sits right in the middle of Vancouver Island. I spend my days making small scale artwork and jewelry inspired by the nature that surrounds our home on the west coast.

sketched bear by Meghann Rader / featured on dearestnature.com

How would you describe your artistic style?
I’m most comfortable working small and can usually be found with the thinnest brush I can find. I love playing with textures like the scribbled markings of a pencil or the lovely staining effects of watercolour. I also like to keep my work somewhat simplistic so I usually keep all of those textures contained in solid outlines and shapes.

artwork by Meghann Rader / featured on dearestnature.com

Living here has had a big effect on my style. Port Alberni sits in the middle of a valley and there are lush green tree lines and mountains in every direction. When we moved here I unpacked my art supplies and started painting the trees, I haven’t looked back since.

Who are some people that have inspired you to become an artist?
My family has always supported my artistic side. I started taking art classes outside of school when I was in grade three and some of the pieces I made during that time are still hanging around in various places. Now my biggest support is my husband. He is always encouraging me and together we have worked very hard to make sure that we are both doing what we love to do.

necklaces by Meghann Rader / featured on dearestnature.com

Of the things you’ve created so far, what’s one you’re most proud of?
There’s no one piece that I can think of that I’m most proud of. I guess I’m proud of getting to a place with my work where I can see my style forming. It took me several years of floundering around to get to this point but now I have a much clearer sense of what I want my work to be and where I should go with it. Now I am producing much more work than I ever have and I’m much happier with it as well.

Meghann Rader's most prized nature-inspired possession / featured on dearestnature.comWhat’s one of your most-prized nature-inspired possessions?
My most prized nature possession is a porcelain vase that my mom gave me several years ago. We had stumbled across a small ceramic show on Granville Island in Vancouver featuring the work of artist Rachelle Chinnery. Rachelle makes the most beautiful hand carved vessels that reflect the rhythmic waves and crashing surf of her home on the edge of the Pacific ocean. I was immediately taken in by them and I guess it was obvious because I was lucky enough to find one of her pieces under the christmas tree that year. I always keep it out on display even if I have no flowers for it because it’s just so beautiful.

What are a few things you enjoy about nature?
I love the refreshing energy that nature brings. It clears my head and makes all of those little worries that build up over the week not seem so important. I especially love walking through forest trails. Forests are ancient, strong and sturdy places. They are quiet and peaceful , but also teaming with life, wild and dangerous. They have an effect on all of the senses.

On a smaller scale, we’ve just moved into our first house and now have a yard and a garden. I’m looking forward to learning all about my new plants and how to take care of them. In the future I’d like to try building a vegetable garden as well. I think that growing and caring for my own plants and vegetables will give me a whole new perspective on nature that I’m looking forward to.

 

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.

An Interview with Jacqueline Chan

Bottom portion of Jacqueline Chan's "Mushrooms Under the Moon"

Happy Monday, folks! You might remember a while back when we featured simply lovely jewelry by Whimsy Milieu and today, we’re chatting with talented Sydney, Australia-based creator and artist Jacqueline Chan.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I was born in a place called Kuching (City of Cats) in Malaysia, and went to Sydney, Australia to further my studies. I grew up doing lots of creative things at home and at school, but somehow ended up being an engineer. After working as an engineer for a short while, I realized that I did not want to be doing that for my whole life, thus I took the leap to pursue my creative dream. I went on to study a few more years and graduated with a degree in Design.

My dream has always been to have my own design studio and design label, so I started Whimsy Milieu.

artwork by Jacqueline Chan of Whimsy Milieu

Tell us about your shop.
Whimsy Milieu started a few months ago, with a focus in jewelry, accessories, small objects, and illustrations. I chose the name ‘Whimsy Milieu’ because I want to surround people with whimsical and happy things, be it jewelry, fashion items, houseware, and so much more that I dream to design in the future. For now, my jewelry is mostly handmade by me except elements that I could not possibly do by hand, ie. laser-cutting, and every single piece is lovingly made with care. I sell my jewelry on my Etsy store, at design & crafts markets, and also they are stocked in several shops.

Who are some people that have inspired you to pursue art?
My mother has always been very encouraging when it comes to creative activities during my younger years – she is definitely the one person that instilled creativity in me. I have a few very dear friends who have supported and encouraged me when I decided on my ‘career change’, and they are still as supportive today. My mother and my friends’ support have inspired me to work hard to achieve my dreams of being a designer.

geometric artwork by Whimsy Milieu

There are so many designers and artists out there (thanks to the internet!) that I admire, and their amazing works inspire me endlessly, and pushed me to develop my own style and aesthetics so that one day I may become like them and inspire other people.

jewelry by Jacqueline Chan of Whimsy MilieuHow would you describe your artistic style?
I would say my style is whimsical – both in terms of playful & quaint as well as fickle and capricious. I am inspired by a huge range of things – from old illustrations, natural curiosities, vintage wares, apothecary, Japanese crafts & design, to French patisserie – anything at all that catches my attention at the moment. That being said, my upcoming jewelry collection is going to be very different from the previous collection, and I am very excited about that.

When/how did you become interested in jewelry-making?
During the first year of my design degree, I was actively making one-off jewelry to sell (in the hope of earning more money for my tuition fees), but stopped doing that when I became too busy with full-time studies and part-time work. Further into the degree, I took up an elective course in jewelry design and was introduced to the many amazing techniques of making jewelry, and the love for jewelry-making just sprung back. I am not a big fan of conventional precious metal jewelry, so I decided to design and make what I call unconventional, contemporary jewelry that uses materials other than the usual gold, silver, or precious stones.

It is very satisfying to make something that someone can wear and feel good about themselves.

 

What are a few things you enjoy about nature?
There are a lot of things that I enjoy about nature – I grew up in a place where there is always lots of nature around us. I love it how nature can always amaze me – from small little plants and insects to vast expanses of untouched land – how they (the ecological system) all work together in harmony, and how nature always brings me a sense of peace. Every element of nature is very well-designed.

For further inspiration from Jacqueline, check out her website and stay updated via her blog and facebook page.

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.