finding inspiration in maui

Finding Inspiration on Maui | Olowalu Sugar Mill Ruin

I just returned from visiting my father on beautiful Maui.  I’ve traveled to Hawai’i many times and with every visit, Hawai’i becomes more special to me … it’s one of my favorite ways of finding inspiration.  In the 9o’s, I was fortunate to call Maui home.  And even then, as a self indulgent teen, wanna-be tough girl, I was able to momentarily appreciate Hawaii and  its beauty, history and otherworldliness.

Wondering through Nature

This trip home was quite special. It was filled with a LOT of family time and thanks to my fearless father (whom was born and raised in Hawaii) my time was also spent with lots of exploring. Wondering through nature and stretching my eyes are favorite pass-times of mine – and as an artist, very necessary tasks.

The Sugar Mill Ruin

My dad took us to one of his new discoveries. The beachside Olowalu Sugar Mill Ruin – one of the first sugar mills on the island – dating back to 1864.  And when I say “beachside” I mean beach side – you can even spot a tiny seashell wedged inside of a crack in the foundation! *insert gasp*

 

 

Inspiration in the Desert II | DesertX

If you are on Instagram (you should be following me)  I am sure, like me, you’ve seen people on your feed  “posted up” next to a trippy white and black zig zag wall with #DesertX in the captions and wondered “what the heck its this #DesertX thing and how can I be part of it?”

With a few clicks hopefully you learned that DesertX is an outdoor exhibition of art instillations put up by 16 artist from around the world!  I was super excited to find that it was scattered about my former home; Palm Springs, California!  I usually never need an excuse to go the desert!…but this? This was a mandatory visit!

So, on a bright sunny Sunday morning, my fiancé and I piled in the’ol trusty Element to partake in the most amazing artist scavenger hunt in nearly 100 degree weather! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DesertX was scheduled to end on April 30th.  But the recent news mentions: due to the popularity, a few instillations will remain open a bit longer.  By longer I’m thinking a few weeks, so if you are local or within a few hours driving distance from the desert –  you wanna get yourself down there to check it out!

We made a list before hand of all the instillations that interested us and planned about 4-6 hours to see a totally of 9.  But, because we know the desert we were able to knock it out in 3 hours!  So just plan ahead, make a day of it, or better yet make a weekend of it!  As I said before ” you don’t really need a reason to visit the desert  – but this is a darn good one!

My DesertX list:

  1. Claudia Comte
  2. Doug Atken
  3. Glenn Kaino
  4. Jeffery Gibson
  5. Jennifer Bolande
  6. Phillip K Smith III
  7. Sherin Guirguis
  8. Will Boone
  9. Travares Strachan 

You can check out all the details about the extension, the locations and artist that partook in this exhibition and which installations are still up for view by visiting the DesertX website here!

Happy Hunting and Thanks for reading!

cv

 

 

 

 

 

Living where you are

this morning i awoke at home after 5 days of travel up north visiting my fiancé’s folks.  there is a feeling of appreciation that i get in my own space when i return from travel.  there is also a feeling of somberness in the following morning  –  as i get back to my routine.  this time the appreciation part was more strong as i walked around my home enjoying its openness and warmth and familiarity.  soon after, though, i found myself on the couch, coffee in hand dog at my side; browsing instagram.  i scrolled pass an old neighbors post about the leap he took to move from the states abroad and how some people are “cut out for this life while others are not”.  it was no doubt a nice post – inspirational even (as my fiancé put it), i really enjoyed it.  but i couldn’t help but feel as though i was “missing out”.  like i should be traveling abroad taking photos of my discoveries and meeting amazing people and eating decadent foods – something i always see myself doing.  right then, at that beautiful moment, my feelings went from appreciation to envy.

but, and here is a big but, because i have been in such a good place lately, i chose to check my thoughts and remember that i AM doing ALL of those things.  i explore california and other state as frequently as i can – occasionally i get to travel abroad.  i have wonderful friends and colleagues that i adore and whom inspire me.  i get to cook delicious meals for my fiancé, friends, family because i enjoy it.  i have a pretty decent eye for iPhone photography (one day i’ll get a real camera) and i share my photos with joy on my personal instagram feed.  i do all of the things that i admire about ‘world travelers’ –  it just so happens that i do all of those things in my home country.  remembering that made me think of a profile quote of someone i follow on instgram:

“the mind is its own place, and in it’s self can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven”

perception is everything.  how you perceive things to be is true for only you.  do i still aspire to travel abroad more frequently – heck yes! but i should not feel like i am missing out because i am not footing through foreign lands at this very moment.  my belief is;

“if you can’t make the most of your life where you are currently, then you can’t do it anywhere else. period”

so with that wisdom i look back just a mere 5 days to my time roaming around the historic town of Auburn with my loving fiancé and his parents – a town so rich in american history and inspiration, it was impossible for me to put my phone away!

 

it is crucial that we learn to LIVE where we are –  to bloom where we are planted.  once that sentiment has been conquered and is part of our habits, then, are we able to enjoy our travels and journey through life that much more…sans the feeling of “missing out”.

 

thanks for reading,

cv

 

 

 

Daydreams of a future space

I’m a lover of spaces! Whether it is home or creative work spaces; dwellings are my thing!  So much so, sometimes, I believe I should have explored a career in interior design.

As you know, I moved out of my creative work space this past August and am currently setting up shop in my humble garage. (you can read more about that here).  And though a jewelry studio away from home may not be in the works for a while; I cannot help but dream a little, about what that space will look like and what it may offer me!

If the stars align in my favor, my future space will be open, bright and calming.  I imagine concrete floors and clean white walls. Maybe a wall or two of exposed brick that is painted white. Tall ceilings and large metal framed windows that face north.  There is a sink this time! Yes, and plenty of outlets.

Every now and then I allow myself to sit and daydream about the start of my day in that future space:

I imagine walking into the studio on a rainy day, with my [future] Grate Dane “Otis”.  Making myself some coffee (black) and turning on some music while Otis finds his way to his bed atop the cowhide rug that lays below the windows.  After I finally settle with The Knife station on Pandora, I begin my ritual of “awakening the studio”.  Turning on the pickle pots.  Then the torches at the soldering station. Uncovering tools and equipment. And warming up the laptop to later check open orders and answer emails.  I imagine I would light a few candles before I began to sweep the floors.  And as I turn to see Otis curled up in attempts to stay warm, the sound of the rain urges me to play around with some new ideas…

I do wish to share this future studio with 1 or 2 other jewelers or other creatives.  If it is to be a shared space, It will be one of openness, encouragement and kindness. I would love to host many creative workshops and gatherings.  The idea is to build a community and network of true, authentic friendships! Ah, I cannot wait for this to come to fruition!


*all photos via pinterest

Bittersweet

If you ask most artists or makers what their ideal creative space would look like, they’d  probably say something like:

“… it would have lots of natural light, polished cement floors, large windows that over look the city, exposed brick walls and lots of room to spread out; right next to cool bars and restaurants”!

Well, I was fortunate enough to have such a space!

bless the theory studio lounge area

I shared it with two other studio mates for about a year.  Over time, various opportunities and priorities lead my mates to journey out of the studio.  And not long after, I found myself hit with a pleasant opportunity; my boyfriend and I finally found a beautiful 1920’s Spanish style house to call our own!

There was one dilemma; our beautiful old new home is literally on the opposite end of town!

At the time, I wasn’t quite ready to give up my space, so I commuted 18 minutes everyday to work in the studio.  But after a few months, it actually became daunting.  Now I know you’re thinking “its only 18 minutes”.   But, when I got the itch to get up and make, that 18 minute drive diminished that feeling.  Not to forget the time it takes to shower and dress good enough to be seen, pack lunch (which I usual forget to do) and pay for parking.  It didn’t take too long for my downtown dream jewelry studio to loose its luster.  So, on August 30th 2015, I moved Bless The Theory out of the cool brick and mortar building and relocated all my tools and contemporary wears across town to my garage.

Now, lets not cry over the departed studio, instead lets take a minute to look back on its glory!…

bless the theory studio under construction

The photo above was shot weeks before I even signed the lease! I remember begging the owners to leave it “as is” so that I could finish the rest. I was SO egger to have a industrial space, I didn’t want them to touch a thing! It did not take me long to get settled in. I love decorating, so I did quite a bit of re-arranging, especially after my former studio mates left and I had the space all to myself.

bless the theory studio work area

 

bless the theory studio work tools

It was unbelievable the amount of light that came into the studio! That lead to somewhat perfect product shooting days. (I say somewhat because, when do we ever have a “perfect” shooting day?)  The light just seemed to last forever…or at least until he sun dropped.  My electricity bill was always under $12!  There was also so much great texture.  I would find myself gazing at the walls on any given day!  Those cement and expose brick walls made their way to my Instgram often! (See for yourself here)

And the views! Oh the views! On a clear day I could see ALL the way to DTLA.  I could see Signal Hill and San Pedro! And most of all I could see beautiful Downtown Long Beach! The best view of DTLB was on a rainy day…

bless the theory jewelry stuido view down town long beach

I’ll be honest; It was hard to say goodbye to such a fantastic jewelry studio.  My second jewelry studio, in fact!  I must say that I made some decent progress with Bless The Theory in that space! And I finally had a chance to host a fun Holiday Party/Sale with my former studio mates (that turned out way better that we could’ve wished for)! Which was something I’d been wanting to do for a while!

Yes, it was a great atelier… and I will miss it dearly!  But, I know deep in my core that I will find another creative cave to call my own when the time is right.  I know exactly what I need and what type of environment I want to create in.  And I know that I want to be in it for a long while.  So for now, I shale make the best of my humble, one window, garage and allow it to teach me patience and resourcefulness.

 

I do not look at this as a loss or a step a back (maybe a little of a step back).  Instead, I’m CHOOSING to see it as: letting go of past opportunities in order to receive new and greater possibilities!  And I CAN and WILL wait for that perfect space to come to me!

 

Thanks for reading

Char

 

Inspiration in the Desert

 

This past Memorial Day Weekend my boyfriend and I decided (last minute) that we needed a desert escape! So we packed our one bag and drove 2 hours to Palm Springs!

 Now, I have always been inspired by this beautiful oasis. The desert was, after all, my home for about 7 years!

But there was something about this trip…

Maybe I was in need of some continuous sunshine no mater the season?  Or maybe it was because my prior visit was 6 months ago?

Whatever the reason, I felt as if I was visiting for the first (maybe second)  time!

As a jewelry designer slash metalsmith; I am always seeking new inspiration.  Something special!   Something that most people may not notice.

That subtle discovery sends a tingly sensation through my lower core!  So I tend to pay close attention to the visual details of life! 

As of late, I’v been influenced by bright white, shadows, contrasting  colors and textures.

And thankfully, the desert delivered!

With every head turn, I was noticing little things.   I tried my very best not to take a picture. Just observe and move on, you know?  But, the amateur photographer in me could not let it be.

My good friend Greg Peterson‘s condo complex is one example.

Built in the early 80’s, its salmon pink stucco with dated Art Deco details, totally reminded me of designer Paul Poiret!  An aesthetic some visitors may not appreciate…or even notice!

This photo, to me, is classic Palm Springs!

In the photo to the right: the grate window cover is what caught my eye initially.

Then the fans of the palms.  Then the contrasting ridges on the wall, where the light hits!

Even the  satellite/antenna on top of the roof!  I imagine fabricating its industrial form in sterling silver.  Topping it with a pearl or a granule of  gold!

Every surface and texture played together harmoniously!

We had a quick moment to check out the Palm Springs  Architecture and Design Center. This is such a great space! A renovated bank designed by E. Stewart Williams in the early 60’s.

In the photo below, the cement wall really stood out to me.  I have experimented with using cement in my jewelry in the past.  And I had a few good test. But I never gave the idea my full attention.

After visiting this building…maybe its time to re-explore that concept!

This trip defiantly sent me home with some ideas that I’m excited to dive into.

It also has me wondering: what inspiration will I take home next time?!”

 

Have you ever been to Palm Springs? When was your last trip?  How were you inspired?

Please share! I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Simply – Char