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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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

Gatherings- Side project made of linen

Linens for special gatherings.

Gatherings is what I’m naming this new undertaking. It was born out of my desire to have fabric napkins I could use when I had guests over for gatherings. Paper towels and little cloths work just fine, but I’m a maker! I can make napkins.

Determined, I wanted to create a napkin that I could use for gathering and I wanted to use my favorite fabric; LINEN! Linen is a beautiful cloth often used and worn in the summertime because it keeps the body cool and fresh.  Linen is clean and simple. It’s natural and earthy.

So my sewing machine has been kept busy sewing linens to create napkins and tea towels but I’ve also been creating half aprons, full length aprons and kitchen towels as well. I hand dye the fabric to match moods and personalities and decor. Cloth napkins add a nice touch to a sweet dinner or gathering for tea or coffee. It adds a pop of color and handmade feel.

My hope is to push this to the maxwith organic linens and natural dyes but for now I’m having a lot of fun experimenting, designing and creating.

So here’s to linen and gatherings both big and small.

Come see my etsy shop! gathertextiles.etsy.com

Sky Blue Napkins1

Summer tea towel

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Sky Blue Napkins tied up with a bow

Napkins

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Summer tea towel 3
cups

Madelyn Photo Shoot November 2014

Last weekend I spent an afternoon in the last of autumn’s beauty to capture Madelyn, my niece,  in a set of portraits. It was a very chilly afternoon and in between shots she threw her jacket on and we shivered our way to the next location. Madelyn is a beautiful young lady so even though it was cold, her beauty shined through in the images.

Madelyn wanted to look serious and glamorous but it was fun making her laugh so as to capture the Madelyn I know…silly, fun, hilarious and sweet.

The series from that day is posted on my website tessadowns.com. Come check them out!

 

 

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Madelyn 2

 

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Downs Family Portrait Session: November 2014

This past weekend I photographed my brother Noah and his wife Mary and their children. It was a beautiful autumn afternoon in the park spent being silly and getting in some shots to capture their sweet family. We got a LOT of images in the hour we were in the park and I think they turned out beautifully!

Enjoy this sneak preview and the collection will be up on my website tessadowns.com by weeks end.

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Fathers Day Down the Shore

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The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free! ~Bryan W. Procter

Down the shore. It’s the expression Urban Dictionary defines as “Where folks from Philadelphia and southeastern PA go during the summer.” There’s something about the Jersey shore. Bright blue ocean at a distance (if the sky is just right),  people in stages of undress everywhere and I mean everywhere,  screams and laughter, tip jars encouraging patrons to donate to employee college funds (or party funds for the night) The smell of French fries, funnel cakes and the ocean waft through the air…the sounds of screams from the carnival rides,  the sun attacking all exposed skin….the sea gulls attacking all exposed food. “Down the shore.” It IS where we go in the summer. It’s vacation. It’s the day trip or the skip-work-head-to-the-beach trip. It’s where we gravitate to when the days grow longer and hotter. 

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I love it there. It’s my childhood and young adulthood and adulthood. It’s familiar. It’s the boardwalk I’ve walked down each summer since I was a little kid. It’s the ocean I’ve been pummeled by and gently rocked by each summer past.

This is the Jersey shore.  Love it or leave it. I love it.

My dad loves the ocean. Salt and sea. I too love the ocean. We have this in common.

My large and glorious family arrived in Ocean City for Fathers Day on June 16th. It is the family tradition that has grown to include the blooming branches of our family tree. My older brother takes his two children and my oldest sister and her husband take their 6 beautiful girls. Three of my four brothers, my two sisters, my mom and dad were all there too and this was enough. The mighty Atlantic remains the backdrop to this family tradition.

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The day melts on down the shore. Time doesn’t seem to move. Nieces and nephews spent their time building sand castles and playing the water, my sisters and my mom sat on a bench and chatted, my dad and my brothers walked the boardwalk  hitting the arcades. The day melts at the Jersey shore and we melt along with it. Pizza at Manco and Mancos (my dad’s favorite pizza ever! ever!), salt-water taffy at Shrivers and 8 addicted children asking for a taffy. ANY taffy. I snuck in with my mom to pick up an Americano from the Ocean City coffee co to feed my own addictions. One cannot simply walk by the coffee shop without grabbing a cup.

The day ebbs and flows with relaxation and excitement; energy and exhaustion.

I always itch to get onto the sand, after hours, once the beach goers have left in search of dinner and entertainment. I love to stand on the edge of the water and look out over the great expanse of the sea. My mom and I walked down to beach to the ocean this year together.

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As I stood there, waves at my ankles… it reminded me of how tiny I am on this great big earth and how glorious it is to be alive and swirling in this universe with the people I love. Having shared the space, admiring the ocean with my mom made the moment even sweeter. It was the best part of my day.

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It was a nice Fathers day at the shore. Spending the day with my entire family is always lovely. The background noise and scenery is never important. Spending time with family matters.

 

It matters.

Gosh do I love trips down the shore.

 

What traditions do you hold true on Fathers day? Share a tradition or a memory or story about your father below. I’d love to hear from you all. 

New Jersey, Sommers Point