A Change of Address

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So this is it for now. My Last Post on Design Wonderland. But you can find me here at Plume & Hook. It’s where I make things.

For months I have been trying to decide what to do with Design Wonderland. Do I keep it up and running or do I retire it altogether? I have decided to retire it. Actually, retire is the wrong word.

When I moved to NYC 2 years ago, I figured that the blog would go with me unchanged or better yet more exciting. However, when I tried to stake my claim in the city, I slowly began realize that I felt disconnected to something that once brought me a LOT of joy. It felt like a burden to disclose my every whim and discovery as I was also rediscovering myself as both a designer and a person in my new adopted. Suddenly, I needed to become more private; A blogger recluse if you will. I was becoming NYC Jessica rather than DC Jess. That transition though very exciting was also kinda painful.  I had to learn to let go.

I also struggled a bit as a creative and an artist. Who was I now? Am I creative or corporate? Am I still a designer or something else. Can I be an artist too? Guess what? The answer was yes to all of those questions. But the answer was not easy to come by. In fact the answer came recently after a lot of soul searching. Soul search by way of outreach and reflection.  I became a mentor to a design student. I decided to volunteer. I encouraged my friends to live their dreams and I tried to connect as many people as I could to help them. I walked through some nature, went to a museum or two. I called it Church and found the spirit. I talked to someone. Someone talked to me. I lived alone in singleness and I loved it. No really I loved it. I crocheted. I wrote. I took on some lettering work (not calligraphy) for a wedding. Then another wedding came my way with more design involved. Handwriting, drawing and paper cutting are lucrative sometimes.

Most importantly, I made things again. I was an artist/maker/designer who found her voice again.

Indeed, Me as Maker could still live in my wonderland. However, this island on the interwebs began to feel like a snow globe of pretty, perfect things and I felt trapped in a world of my own making.

So I’m busting out of this place. I’m creating a new world that seems more authentic to the person I am now. Plume and Hook is celebration of my power tools, my Pen and my crochet hook. It’s about love, life and what I made. It’s about me now and my own evolution as a designer/maker. But It’s not the daily diary Design Wonderland once was. Do you know why? Because thoughtful, good design, though fast paced and messy,  can’t always happen when you don’t have a chance to process the inspiration you see on a daily basis. I’m a designer and sometimes a writer but I’m not a journalist.

Plume & Hook will be pretty and there will be design, but most importantly there will be honesty and heart.  That’s what matters most to me a this moment.

Thank you for reading through the years. Design Wonderland will still remain up for the forseeable future as many have shared that it is a great design resource for them.

Just for Fun.

Happy Friday! It’s right on time this week!!

Things have been insane lately and I have been trying to get the creative juices running to soothe my creative soul. To do that, I have been making things for fun with my calligraphy and crochet tools.

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My Home: A Work in Progress

This year marks two years since I moved into my Brooklyn apartment. Because I work in design,  initially I felt a lot of pressure to make my home to look perfect, but soon realized perfection didn’t really suit my needs or my lifestyle. Here’s a photo of me scheming from the early days:

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And here are some of the other pieces that made it in to my home over time.

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Today, these things have been redistributed throughout the apartment, For instance the rug is in my bedroom and the chair is in my office/entry area. There are pictures to be framed hung, art being delivered and I constantly remix things around the apartment. That’s one of the joys of having a small space. And the more I live in it, the more I learn the space; the architecture, the quirks and the beauty of both.

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Here is a  sneak peek of my living room and where it is today. It is a perfectly, imperfect room with a fun mix of pieces that I love and have collected. That chair, yeah, I won that in a raffle, and in the beginning it lived in my bedroom. The elephant side table is a vintage piece gifted to me by my mom, who knew I had been obsessed with a similar table that we had when I was a child. I’m sure things will change some more, but today this is perfect. And more importantly, this is the place I call home.

Excuse Me While I Redecorate

 

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Hello My Loves. There’s a bit of change happening around my piece of the interwebs. As you probably know, I have taken a few months off from blogging. I even toyed with the idea of closing down the blog completely. Clearly I decided against because I love truly blogging and talking to you about design. In truth, I needed those months off because I lost myself and my inspiration. Every time I typed i felt more and more like something special, maybe my spark was missing from the screen.

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image elle décor via pinterest.

So instead of closing down the blog or changing the address, I decided to redecorate my webspace. You will continue to see tweaks here and there to the site. It will also take me a little while to get my new content up and running, but for the first time, since I moved to NYC I feel like I have my voice back. I will spare you the details for now, but just know that I got a little beat up  in which my creative spirit struggled to recover. Not a good space to be in, but it helped me determine my worth as a designer. What followed was a resurgence of new ideas and exciting creative projects seemed to come of it.

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image vis the glitter guide.

I can’t share everything…but it encompasses my love of art and design in a fun way that I didn’t imagine. To celebrate, I’m redecorating!!!

Flirting Again

Hey Loves! Happy Hump day.

Just wanted to share a little inspiration for a fun little project that I’m working on. It’s sassy and cheeky and has something to do with food. I have been researching all things vintage and stumbled upon these Rene Gruau Advertisements for Christian Dior. I’m obsessed.

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See what i  mean? Obsessed!

Monday Inspiration: Au Cinema

I almost forgot to show you my final film about my muse… Crafting Love.

crafting love: a crochet story from Jessica Caldwell on Vimeo.

I already have plans in the works for another video muse project and I have signed up for another skillshare class about animating title sequences. And by the way, Skillshare is awesome and I highly recommend it if you are looking for affordable creative classes. It’s all about what you put into it, but the rewards are great and you have access for a lifetime.

Since we are talking muses and video, I thought I would share with you an artist that I had an opportunity to work with as an intern for an art gallery in DC, Kazakhstan-born and Berlin-based Almagul Menlibayeva. Over the years, I never forgot her energy and the words she said to me about creativity, being an artist, and going to Paris. I took all of her words to heart. That’s what makes stumbling upon this video even more special to me.

LOUIS VUITTON – ALMAGUL MENLIBAYEVA from lawrence blankenbyl on Vimeo.

Hopeful as I am, I’m sure she would never remember me, but as an artist she continues to inspire. I couldn’t ask for a better Muse.

It’s the Remix

I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Partially it’s because things have been a bit crazy with a capital CRA and also because I taking a few classes to build new creative skills.

Right now, I’m taking a Skillshare course called Muse: A Video Portrait Workshop. My Muse is about the beautiful way I learned the craft of crochet. While I working on my project which is a little more sentimental in tone, I thought it would be fun to share a few silly bits with you.

Crochet: The Remix from Jessica Caldwell on Vimeo.

I figure having fun is the best way to learn. Don’t you agree?

In Defense of Beyonce’s “Life”

I know it’s a random post title and Beyonce doesn’t need any affirmation from me, but bear with me for a moment. Beyonce as a public figure stirs up a lot of thoughts in my mind. I literally see news about something in her life everyday on the Brooklyn news which for me makes her fame and persona inescapable and slightly annoying. And as much as I love her music, once it catches on I hear it everywhere, which is why I’m usually about 2 years late downloading her albums though somehow I still know all the words. Go Figure. I’ve even had to semi retire my Freek’um Dress(es).

Because of that same bit of overexposure, I was a little reluctant to watch her documentary, “Life is But a Dream.” I don’t EVER deny her as being a musical talent. I, mean I have seen her in concert. That, folks is a SHOW. But the Promos for the doc, left me a bit underwhelmed. However, after reading several posts and articles about how she didn’t reveal anything and people saying she was weird but at least she curses, I decided to look at the movie for myself. I found both the posts, the people and I as someone prejudiced against her, wrong. While there was minimal gossip exposed (this was not an E True Hollywood Story or VH1′s Behind the Music), when it came to Beyonce the artist and business-woman she laid everything bare (without being weird).

Watching her documentary was enlightening, not because she is a world-class entertainer, but because at the end of the day she is both an artist and business-woman. Though the Dynastic wealth of the Roc may currently elude me, creativity and the struggle it brings with it do not.  Do you know how hard it is to be both artist and business woman? Not to mention that she is a wife, sister, aunt and daughter. Those titles all come with different responsibilities. Like many people, she’s made professional sacrifices sometimes at the cost of her personal relationships, but always in an effort to find her own independence and truth as an artist. I find that willingness to be so true to oneself to be admirable even though you see a bit of her questioning its worth in her eyes.

In viewing, “Life”, I saw the dichotomy between her work; as she writes and sings in the studio,where she artistically feels most at home, versus the business side as manages herself, declaring how things should be for a performance. Though this space is where she seems less comfortable this is where I saw the most growth. At one point during the doc, she says, “Why do I feel like no one is listening?” I uttered those same words on Friday at work. And guess what? In both cases, no one was listening to me or Beyonce. It was good to see that she too, struggles with being both shot caller and artist, as she lets go of being nice in an effort to be clear and direct when it comes to saying what she wants. She talks about the valuable lessons she learned about work ethic, drive and artistry from those most important in her life, including her father and Jay-Z just as easily as she speaks about needing the support of women, trusting her instincts and the injustice about being a woman in a male-dominated evironment. Yeah, she’s Beyonce and all, but I am sure someone has tried to talk down to her a time or two. And don’t the best lessons in life and business often come from those we look up to?

Like many women artists, balance feels hard to maintain. We want to be true to ourselves and art yet composed and respected in a room full of business people. Many of us struggle to say or ask for what we really want, whether it be money, the corner office, or a promotion, but somehow we find the guts to do it it anyway. In life we aim to not let the art consume us though it is an extension of our inner selves. In work , we as women want to channel our personal power, be respected for our talents and strategize our next steps by using our best business minds. And as we witness with in Beyonce’s “Life,” that work space can be equally lonely as we sometimes find ourselves competing with one another for no reason well as deeply fulfilling as we build and lead fantastic teams and inspire other women to follow our lead. While I don’t want to be Bey any more than when I started watching the doc, it’s nice to know, in art and business, creatively speaking, we share some common ground.

Now, I’m off to download her album. You know the one from 2 years ago.

 

A Tuesday Texture Swoon

Since I’ve taken up crochet with a newly-minted verve,  everything for me is about texture and exploring the complexities of yarn. Oodles and oodles of yarn.

{images via nancy flowers, the lane & dustjacket, items by designbird}

I am finding that my explorations in craft and yarn are beginning to inform and inspire what and who I am drawn to in design. That, my friends, is an fun turn of events, for my never-ending design adventures.

 

Paris When It Snows

Post Blizzard NYC, reminded me of Paris. Evidently is is a rare occurrence for it to snow in Paris. Lucky for me, while I was there it snowed for about 3 days. It was lovely even if a bit treacherous as I slid around the city trying to get from point a A to Point B.

I’ll take Paris in the snow any day.

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