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.

Whale of a Tale

Arctic stamp set by INK+WIT

Whales have been on my mind a bit lately, ever since we featured these colorful whale totems by le animalé and Jessica Swift a couple weeks ago. They are such majestic gentle giants, aren’t they? Though I think I’d probably get the goosebumps if I was ever in close proximity to one, you know like in the whale scene from Castaway.

roundup of whales / 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.

Wild About: September 7, 2012

All image sources linked below

We’re already seven days into September! This entire year has almost seemed like a blur, hasn’t it? I’m not sure what our weekend plans are, but I hope they entail a little bit of rest and relaxation for me. Perhaps a little crafting or reading under a tree.

Any of you have any exciting weekend plans?

Check out these links I’m currently loving:

  • A beautiful autumn leaves photo by Shannon Pix. I wish autumn would arrive sooner in my neck of the woods, but we usually don’t see leaves turning colors until October and November.
  • Beyond adorable baby bonnet (I want one!) by Gail of Probably Actually.
  • My parents recently constructed an A-Frame tent based on Rubyellen’s (of Cakiestutorial on A Beautiful Mess, and here’s another featuring one with lovely lace fabric. (link via baby space)
  • A darling sneak peek at Whitney Deal’s nursery. Get a load of that wallpaper!

Highlights from our blog this week

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 Apple Tree

Photo by Chris Stetson

Around here you wouldn’t know summer is on it’s way out because it’s still so warm. My friends and I decided to take advantage of a warm evening and do a little photo walk around our friend’s property. I thought this would be a great opportunity to get a shot for Dearest Nature and I wasn’t disappointed.

As the sun went down the light softened and everything around begged to be photographed. And while it is tempting, especially in this digital age, to just shoot everything in sight, I tried chose my shots carefully. Walking slowing through the rural property I came across a few things that caught my eye, a small tomato garden, the chickens eating in their coop, horses in the coral, and then I saw this one apple hanging from it’s branch. I had probably walked past it a couple of times that night already and plenty of other times when I had been at the property. But it was just then that I realized this was an apple tree, and it has actual apples on it. This made it that much more intriguing to me.

There’s something so interesting about the things that we just walk past day by day without giving a second glance. It’s one of the things I love about photography, seeing some beauty in a place or thing that most people would just walk right past. It gives me a reason to slow down and pay a little closer attention to what’s happening right in front of me instead of worrying so much about what I’m doing, where I’m going and what I need to do when I get there.

So even though summer is coming to an end and the kids are back in school or you’re back at work from a summer vacation, take some time out of your busy life. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and when you open your eyes back up, take a look around. Look out the window, see something that’s always been there but you never noticed before because you were in such a rush. It could only take five minutes out of your day and then you can get right back to the daily grind, but trust me, it won’t feel like such a grind any more.

Happy September.

About Chris Stetson

Chris is a photographer and graphic artist living in Temecula, CA. He grew up in a small beach town called Carpinteria which is just south of Santa Barbara, CA. He doesn't remember a time in his life when he wasn't doing something creative, whether it was drawing, painting, playing music, or playing around with cameras.

In a Word: Wool

I know you’re probably thinking, “Wool? Jamie, really?” It’s still 90 degrees outside. I know, I know, but you see autumn is my favorite season and it’s just around the corner. I can’t help myself. I am ready for the cooler weather and everything that comes along with it, including lots and lots of wool.

wool roundup by Jamie Bartlett / featured on dearestnature.com

The last few days I’ve been knitting a friend of mine a wool scarf. It makes me wish the weather outside was a little drearier so I could cuddle in a chunky wool blanket and drink a nice mug of hot apple cider. We’ll get there. I guess I just need to be more patient. For now I’ll pass the time crocheting the granny square blanket I’ve been working on. By the time that is done it will be nice and chilly outside. Just the way I like it.

About Jamie Bartlett

Jamie is a graphic designer and co-founder of A Pair of Pears, a blog and design company based in Los Angeles, CA. She and her husband started their blog as a way for them to share their adventures and all things design. Since college, they've both fallen in love with letterpress printing, and now have two presses of their own.