Jen Renninger is someone that won’t let me forget her because she writes the most expressive and kind emails that really touch my heart. Beyond words, Jen is also a lady that I find impressive based on the talent she exhibits through the graphics she creates — I’d love to explore my own talent in the arts at some point and it’s ladies like Jen who give me a little push in that direction without even realizing it.
Jen said that she visits decor8 because the content reaches far beyond design, “Your blog is really about positive inspiration and creative joy,” she says. I think that she makes a good point because I’m constantly moved by the work I see from so many of the talented men and women that sharing it here comes so natural. I’m obsessed with decorating and all the elements that make a beautiful home, but I don’t blog because I’m obsessed with trends, shopping, and owning the latest finds, I write because the many projects that people work on truly make me happy and help me make sense out of all the bad things in the world that co-exists with the good. When I see beautiful art or fabric made from a person who put so much of themselves into it, I can’t help but be inspired by that level of talent and skill but also the determination that went into bringing the concept to reality.
I can’t imagine living in a world without creativity, without the ability to create things. Lately I’ve been a bit hard on myself because I haven’t been ‘making’ things that much. I’m pretty busy with other things that don’t involve sitting at my sewing machine or working on a fun DIY project, things that fuel me. I haven’t even taken on a new design client because my current schedule does not allow it at the moment. But then as I thought about how little I’ve spent on creating things I realized through Jen’s email that I do make things. I make words that promote the talent out there and that inspire each of you to continue on or to find your path. And after realizing that, I felt a lot better today. I think that a lot of writers suffer these feelings at times, if you are a writer perhaps you understand what I’m saying here. You can sometimes feel like a cheerleader who just wants to get out there and play ball.
Jen, an artist who just so happens to run a lovely etsy store Still Room Studio, has been working on a project this year called 365. It’s a blog showcasing a year of everyday images she posts that is the decor8 blog of the week. Some of her images are collages, others are paintings and drawings, and lately she’s been photographing the drawings with collages under them. The results are beautiful. Her sister, Raydel is another amazing talent that I’ve talked about here before but I wanted to point you to her work again today too. These sisters are fantastic!
Congratulations Jen on your new project and the way you are encouraging us all to be creative everyday whether through art, the way we handle a problem, how we prepare a meal, or the words we write — thank you for encouraging creativity in all its forms.
(images from jen renninger)
I believe you are the company you keep. Surround yourself with positive people who, despite hard times, keep their eyes fixed firmly ahead and press forward to accomplish their goals and good things will start to happen in your life. I prefer to be around such ones. I had my share of draining relationships when I was in my 20′s so once I hit 30, I decided to change all of that and ‘weed’ my little friendship garden because people are a huge part of our life – they really can make or break us. We can flourish or die inside simply by maintaining regular contact with those who aren’t good for you. Your gut will tell you if you listen. That’s why I’m so excited to share these two friends of mine with all of you today because they encourage me, support my work, and I know for a fact that they are authentic – what you see is what you get. I’m honored to be around so many creative types who are out there shaking the trees and making some good stuff happen!
First up is Marisa Haedike of Creative Thursday fame, a friend who came to me via this very blog! We have been friends for exactly one year this month. It’s funny how we came together, it has to do with a person who wasn’t so kind to us and as a result, we started to talk about the experience and became great friends. It’s funny how friendships blossom. Today I noticed that Marisa’s name is up in lights over on Erin’s wonderful Design for Mankind blog so I have to point you over there to check it out. I’m so proud of you Marisa. And she’s in great company. When my grandfather passed away last month, Erin sent me a gift package of chocolate and homemade cookies because well, Erin is that kind of lady.
Marisa is an artist who, like me, had to explore the non-traditional approach to making a living because the common path didn’t work very well for us. Often in life the paths we are told to follow or that we think are the best for us when we’re fresh out of college don’t always pan out. Sometimes the realization that it’s not working doesn’t hit until we’re in our late 20′s or beyond, some don’t see the need to make a life change and explore a new career until they are in their 40′s and beyond. I read about a lady recently who attended law school in her 60′s so there’s no ‘cap’ when it comes to the time in life when you are meant to explore whatever it is that you were put on this planet to do. You’ll just know, so the next step is to act. And that’s what Marisa did. She’s a 35-year-old painter who has not only built up a huge following through the internet, but her art goes beyond the canvas as she explores the business side of being a freelance artist on her blog through her podcasts that have a cult-like following. Her encouragement and advice seems to resonate with a broad range of people, me included. Topics she speaks about openly include Artists are Sensitive, Trust the Process, Dealing with Adversity, and my favorite, You Can?t Give A Sh*t What Anybody Thinks. Now that’s honesty, people!
Click here to read all about the lovely Marisa and how this L.A.-based painter spends her day as a freelance artist.
Next up is another friend of mine who has her name up in some major lights this month, yay! It’s Maryam Montague of the blog My Marrakesh. I found her huge spread in the April issue of Budget Travel starting on page 62 and so I have to share this great article with all of you. If you have access to Budget Living please pick up a copy and read it. She talks all about the best places in Marrakesh to shop, eat, see… It’s an extraordinary treat and will make you want to instantly hop on a place headed toward this gem of a city in North Africa. Beautiful job, Maryam.
(image from marisa haedike and design for mankind)
I’m completely smitten by the photography of California-based prop stylist Jen Gotch, her flickr photos had me at hello. I can’t wait to spend time looking through all of them over the weekend, it’s like a virtual candyland and if you click here you’ll see exactly what I mean.
I can’t wait until her website launches but for now, we have her blog called My Polaroid Blog to enjoy. I particularly like the photos she shot of the Parker Palm Springs in California (blogged here last April). It’s the one hotel in America that I’m dying to stay at, it’s #1 on my list. I imagine spending a weekend there lounging poolside with a pina colada, then slipping into my spacious room designed by the one and only Jonathan Adler to dream the night away. Jen’s photos entice me to fulfill this dream very soon.
A special thank you to Jen Altman from Nectar and Light for writing in about a book she started where she invited 25 photographers to join efforts and we’ll see the results in July under the title For the Love of Light: A Tribute to the Polaroid. Through Altman I discovered Jen Gotch, one of the photographers involved in this special labor of love, her photos above.
(images photographed by jen gotch)
I was reading I Heart Berlin this morning since blogger Frank wrote in introducing himself and his blog to me. I’m trying to tap into what’s going on in German design right now so that I’m up to speed when I spend the summer there. Here are a few good links that I found totally worthy of sharing, I think you’ll like them to. Especially helpful if you’ll be in Berlin anytime soon.
First up, a modern take on a classic piggy bank. Theo the pig was designed by Morphorm and is available in white, white with blue, white with gold, and more that you can view right here. American store owners should totally look into bringing some of these over here as I’m sure these pigs would fly off the shelf.
Here’s a cool shoe store/coffee bar called Latte Wie Hose, a play on a German expression “Jacke Wie Hose” which is like saying Nobody cares or It doesn’t matter it’s all the same, not in a negative sense but more in a laid back no worries kind of way. Perhaps it’s also like the American expression, “6 of one half dozen of another”. I guess since they sell coffee, they’ve exchanged Jacke with Latte. In German there’s a lot of expressions like this which as a student of German, I find frustrating but oddly fun at the same time since I love word games. And did you know that it’s becoming increasingly popular to add a coffee bar to a clothing or home design store in northern Germany? I absolutely love the idea. Do you remember when we toured La Merceria in Toronto here on decor8? It’s part design store part coffee shop. I’d love to see this become a trend here in America — cafe meets design store. :)
The Lido Creative Fair (info in English here at Berlinista) kicks off on May 4th followed by the DMY International Design Festival Berlin a few weeks later which is an experimental platform for fresh new talent. At the Arena Berlin young designers will showcase their work from May 21-25, 2008.
Frank at I Heart Berlin interviewed the American shop owner of Barcomi?s Kaffeer?sterei, Cynthia Barcomi. She owns a popular deli in Berlin Mitte that I have to visit because not only do I love that neighborhood but her cakes look amazing. Read his interview here.
In June, a monthly creative fair called TrendMafia will begin in Berlin showcasing art, jewelry, fashion, photography and much more over in the Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg area at the RAW in hall 40 located at Revaler Str. 99. The dates scheduled for ‘o8 are: June 7, July 5, August 2, September 6, and October 4th. Details in German here. I’m planning to hit the August 2nd event.
03 Berlin is a craft store that has a rotating gallery, meeting space available to rent, and there’s even a little garden in the rear of the store where you can hold events. I’m so glad that Frank blogged about this place, I have to check it out as there are lots of things in the photos I’ve never seen before.
Frank also talked about a shop in Berlin called Redspective that I’d not heard about before, so I’ll be adding that to my Berlin shop links in the right column. Great blog, Frank. If you are interested in viewing more Berlin-related stuff, click here.
(images from I Heart Berlin)