Visual Inspiration- Week 1

Welcome summer ! I know that I promised myself and my fellow followers that I would post every Thursday and as beautiful as the intention was, Thursdays sometimes slip by on the river of summer livin’ and workin’.

And life is GOOD these days. I’m teaching full time at an art school that I absolutely love! Teaching seems to keep me from my photography and art but instead of trying to do it all (teaching, making art, traveling) I’m learning that I’m fulfilled and content with a few things and not all things. THIS is most definitely a slow learning process when you’re the type of person that I am. Taking on everything. Not wanting to pass up opportunities. Thinking that busyness equals being fulfilled and happy. It actually just makes me scatterbrained and crazy.

I’m learning to be happy by just taking on teaching right now…(oh and learning to swim.) I’ve made it a ritual to wake up early in the morning so I can read some pages of my book and finding moments to sit down, sleep more and listen to music more.

When the time comes, the art making will return.

Yet, in the back of my mind I still think of ideas. Instead of acting on them I write them down in a small notebook.  I have a book that I’ve started to collect ideas and images in for myself. I have written down photographers and artists that inspire me. I’m discovering artists who are making art that I connect to on a level I don’t completely understand. Why do I like this artist? Why do I like this piece of art work? Why does it speak to me? I guess, if it clicks, it clicks. Sometimes it doesn’t have to make sense but it’s fun to examine reasons and ask the questions.

So, I thought I would share some of my visual inspiration with y’all.

My first artist inspiration is Isa Marcelli. Isa is a french photographer. She has a small website of work and has images on flickr. There is not a lot of information about her or what her work means to her so all of her work is left up to interpretation.

Reading “Wabi Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets and Philosophers” by Leonard Koren I’ve been thinking more on the Japanese aesthetic of impermanence, nature themes and imperfect beauty. Isa has a series called “impermenance” and to me it speaks to these same ideals.

It’s so lovely to come across artists who focus on the same ideas, subject matter and concepts. Isa and I seem to share a love of hands and using hands in photography. I think that is one of my main reasons I connect with her work. It’s personal, the hands are her own. It seems she is trying better to understand herself through her work. I can understand that. She is a visual writer. When words fail, she and I turn to photography to create and make space for our poetry and stories.

It’s understated, quiet and intimate. She is not shouting from the rooftops. She is neatly and quietly presenting to us pieces of her life, her vision and her story.

Her photographs are poems. Read them, sit with them and roll them around in your mind.

Visit her artist website. It is full of beautiful images.

www.isamarcelli.com

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From the series ‘Les adventices’ from http://www.isamarcelli.com

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From the series ‘Impermanence’ from http://www.isamarcelli.com

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From the series “Hiver” by Isa Marcelli http://www.isamarcelli.com

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From the series ‘Mécanisme de l’oubli’ by Isa Marcelli http://www.isamarcelli.com

charity:water

My birthday is almost here! So let me spend this blog post explaining my ONE simple birthday wish.

Every year is a celebration of another year and a toast to a beautiful, challenging and adventurous life that I am deeply grateful for.

However, I recently had a long talk with a good friend about how often we take our lives for granted. After a discussion about water, I started looking at the ways we consume water and how often I take this simple part of life granted. We have SO MANY choices. Many of us have easy access in our kitchens to water, we swim in it, we shower, we take soothing baths, we cook with it, we are able to pick a bottle of water bottled from sources in France for a few quarters. Water is a life source and most of us have yet to know a few hours without easy access to clean, filtered water. Yet, millions of children around the world don’t live to see their fifth birthday because they don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water.

WE can help change this.

My goal is to raise 1,000$ for charity:water’s effort to give human beings access to clean water. EVERY SINGLE PENNY of the money we raise will directly fund clean water projects in developing countries. Even better, charity: water will show us exactly which projects we funded once they’ve been fully completed (which takes about 21 months). That means we’ll know the locations and names of the communities we helped.

In honor of my birthday, I am making a humble request. Please, if you are able, donate whatever you can to help me reach my birthday wish goal. Every penny counts.

Margaret Mead once said ” Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

Thank you for reading this. I appreciate you all. Love and love only.❤

https://my.charitywater.org/tessas-b-day-wish

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I encourage you to watch this video about the campaign.

“Almost a billion people live without clean drinking water. We call this the water crisis. It’s a crisis because it only starts with water — but water affects everything in life.

Health. Education. Food security. The lives of women, especially.

We can end the water crisis in our lifetime. But first we have to let everyone know it’s happening.”

Make it a happy birthday!

Love, Tessa!

Wabi-Sabi

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I finally started this book by Leonard Koren. It’s been on my amazon wish list for ages. I started to learn about Wabi-Sabi while reading Junichiro Tanizaki‘s ‘In Praise of Shadows.’ ‘In Praise of Shadows’ is an essay on one man’s view and personal experience with Japanese aesthetics, nature centered architecture, and living.

Wabi sabi represents a Japanese aesthetic centered around imperfection and impermanence.

From the book:

Wabi sabi is a beauty of things imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete. 

It is a beauty of things modest and humble. 

It is a beauty of things unconventional. 

I’m also listening to the music of Dustin O’Hallaran tonight as it rains outside. I can barely keep my eyes open this evening. I’m exhausted and endlessly happy now to be spending my week day mornings teaching art. However, I am ready for bed at 7pm these days.

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Dustin O’Halloran composes and plays gorgeous soft, quiet music. The kind of music you put on on dark, rainy days and fall asleep to or listen to in the early morning hours with a cup of coffee in a handmade mug  and a cat wrapped up on your lap.

Thankful for this cool, rainy evening.

Good night folks! Keep discovering good books and good music and anything else that will brighten even the rainiest of days.

-Tessa

Shadow Play

I recently started working on my collage work again. I like telling stories or attempting to create narratives through the collage work that I do. Sometimes i have a theme and sometimes I just experiment to see what can be created organically.

I created this one late night this week. I set up my gear preparing for a portrait shoot. Lights, background, and camera on a tripod.  But instead of standing in front of the linen background, I stood behind it and set the lights up behind me. This cast an large shadow on the natural linen fabric.

This sounds straight forward, but on a VERY warm May night on the east coast it involved tripping over wires and cats, sweating in front of large, hot lights and lots of frustration in getting the right position before the camera timer took the shot. Sweat and tears and then an hour of looking at the images and trying to combine them in an interesting way. It’s good practice for the creative mind but experimenting with something new is fun but can be incredibly frustrating!

So…shadows. I think I can see potential. It’s an idea. Something I need to perfect. I’m going to return to this idea this week and attempt to get some more shadow shots. For now, I simple share this collage.

“Gift” 2015.

Have a great weekend everyone! I’m getting ready for a weekend of work work work! How about you?! Hope you make it a good one!

Tessa
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Week in Pictures – May in Pennsylvania

Hello!

What a gorgeous week of weather here in Pennsylvania. This past week I was lucky enough to spend a lot of time outside.  I spent last weekend in a small town in central PA visiting some friends which was a nice slow down. This weekend I’m looking forward to planting in our plot at the community garden!

I’ve been revamping my photography website and adding some of my newer still life images. I’m proud of the way my site is coming along. Check it out! tessadowns.com

I’d like to share some images from the past few weeks. I’ve been busy creating new photography postcards, editing new still life images and attempting to get my photographic work out into the world! It’s mostly a lot of “behind the computer screen” work so I hope to get it done so I can spend next week making photographs next week!

What’s inspiring you all lately? Drop me a note! Say hello!🙂

Tessa

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Morris Arboretum

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Patrick Dougherty: Stickworks

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Philadelphia

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Easter flowers

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Reading The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery.

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Apartment hunting.

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Home still life

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Still Life Photography

Hello wordpress world! I’ve been a busy bee and have neglected my little bee hive blog of photography and craft . In an effort to return with a more consistent presence, I’ve decided to blog weekly every THURSDAY!

Look for me! I’m dedicated! I promise!

So.

Happy Thursday. It’s Spring here in Pennsylvania and the weather is finnnnne. It’s been a relatively cool spring so these mid 60’s and 70 temps are more than welcome these days.

With Spring come rebirth and color and a lot of work. Teacher work. Photography work. Happy work. I have been subbing in at wonderful schools in the area and spend weekends teaching at an art center near by and in my spare time I’ve been sewing and photographing up a storm!

I’ll have to tell y’all about a book I recently discovered called “Wild Color” by Jenny Dean and Karen Casselman. “Wild Color” is about the processes of dying fabrics with natural dyes made from plants. This is so exciting to me to begin to dive in and really explore natural dyeing processes. It will be fun to adventure into natural dyeing techniques and I hope that you’ll share with me any knowledge or tips you may have.

Okay, the topic at hand!

I wanted to share with you all some still life photographs that I’ve been working on and experimenting with. I love styling my own table-scapes by adding mood, texture, color and the right light to showcase a certain curated idea or thought. Arranging and re-arranging objects that are sentimental along with natural materials collected from trips, adventures or right in my own garden is my newest obsession.

Enjoy these images I took this week in my ‘home’ studio. My studio ( simply a wooden table)  tends to move with the light and I’ll lovingly follow that sunlight depending on which window it’s coming through. So mornings my studio could be my living room and come afternoon my studio could be my kitchen. It depends and changes with the time of day! Way to be flexible!😉

I was able to create these images in my living room while listening to Townes Van Zandt and drinking tea. Ah.

Oh, if I could only do it more often.

Enjoy! If you haven’t yet said hello to me, please do! I’d love to chat and discuss anything on the blog or something you’re working on or creating at your own home studio.

’til next time!

Tessa

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spoons

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Gathering textiles has an Instagram!

My NEW brand “gatherings ” has an Instagram. Stop by sometime! I would love to hear your thoughts about my textiles and what you would like to see in the shop!

Gathering Textiles new instagram!

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Working on new linens and towels for the shop! Updates in May. I’m excited to share with you all.

About ‘gatherings’ :

I have a minimalist yet classic style. Gatherings started with a simple idea. I moved into my own place and wanted to create and design textiles that would fit into my personal lifestyle: Down-to-earth and simple yet stylish, elegant and classic. Having friends and loved ones over for brunch, dinner or coffee made me realize the importance of table linens, napkins, aprons and towels. Instead of looking for textiles that would suit our simple and elegant gatherings in stores, I decided instead to design and create them.

Gatherings is a brand inspired by moments of coming together for conversation, good food and drink. The most precious moments are those we spend with people we enjoy and these textiles add an additional spark of classic and timeless elegance. We engage with textiles during a gathering the way we engage in conversation and I believe it’s important that the fabrics we use during our special gatherings should speak to comfort and elegance and should be made from natural, warm fibers.

Gatherings is about the most important moments in life. The times spent together sharing a drink, good food, conversation and time.

Natural, earthy and classic, the objects I make are designed with all different types of gatherings in mind. Time together with family and friends are moments that I treasure and love most. I want to bring my love of gatherings to you and your own moments of food, drink and conversation.

I hope you enjoy my shop and feel free to drop me a line!

**Tessa