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“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread.  Places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.”  ~ John Muir~I was super excited to meet the beautiful maker behind Natures My Friend.  Meeting Jessica was like taking in a breath of fresh air.  Her energy is the kind that builds you up and makes you feel so good.  She was another one of the artists that I visited in Kamloops last Fall.  Jessica specializes in printmaking, but is amazing at everything she puts her hand, heart and mind to.  I had kept my whole day open for our visit and I’m so glad that I did, as it was pretty much the whole day that we spent together and it felt too short at that.  Our visit began by her welcoming me into her home which was also part of her creative space.  This is where she did her all of her sketching and drawing, marketing and creative planning.  She also made these rad little buttons and magnets and other various products right there in her home studio.

Jessica has a huge heart for Nature and animals.  It’s the driving force of inspiration behind her art.  As a child, she remembers the time she spent in the woods at her family’s cabin as the place where she felt most at home.  Those feelings that Jessica experienced; that passion and connection to the creatures of the wild; that sense of wonder found only find in Nature, those are the feelings she draws upon when creating.

At the time of our visit, Jessica was in the middle of a 100 day project.  A drawing a day for 100 days.  Each drawing was of an animal.  Before drawing each animal, she would spend time looking deeper into the symbolism of that animal.  Then while drawing it, she would let her mind explore what that animal symbolized, connecting and becoming friends, I imagine, with each beautiful creature.

Jessica had one other very important place of creativity to take me to, the actual printing studio which she shared with a number of other local print artists in her community.  This place was quite the space, full of  huge machines, old and new.  Most of which I had never laid eyes on before.  Once again, I got to know another form of art that entails many many steps to achieve the outcome.  I feel so much appreciation for each artist that shares with me their process.

I adore Jessica and connected immediately with her and her art.  I am happy to say that this visit we had last Fall was the first of many to come and now even more to come still.  I’m so excited to finally share with you our visit and if you’d like to see more of her art and products you can visit her Etsy shop here, Natures My Friend. Enjoy my friends!! xox

“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe.”  ~ John Muir ~ 

One of the things I love about doing my Spring (and Fall) Mini Sales each year, is how it allows me catch up a little with the busy and growing families that I don’t often get to see much of otherwise.  Derek and Rye are right in the thick of parenting their 3 littles, and they’re doing a stellar job at it!!

“I will always lean my heart as close to your soul as I can.” ~Hafiz~This past weekend I had the honor of photographing a renewal of vows between Jessica and John.  It’s only been one year since they first uttered their original vows and exchanged rings, but it was on their hearts to renew the moment and to include a few more personal elements.  Like for instance their beautiful newly fashioned, handmade wedding bands that they had made from Le Lou La.

I’ve photographed a few vow renewals now over the years and I have to say, I am so into them.  In this busy, fast paced world we live in now,  we are faced with so many choices all day.  There are so many things competing for our time.  Being able to steal away with your love, to slow down, to remind yourselves and each other what it is that drew you to one another and why you love them so much and to renew the commitment and promise to each other, is such a beautiful thing to me.  In fact these two have inspired me to do the same.  Thank you both, for trusting me with your day and for being an inspiration.  Congratulations on your first year of marriage and I wish you many many more to come. xox 

“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is ONLY ONE OF YOU in all time, this expression is unique.  And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost.”  ~ Martha Graham ~ (dancer)I met Kayla long before I ever had the idea for this Artist series.  We have been friends for over 10 years now.  We are like soul sisters.  Having someone who knows what I’m thinking before I even say it, is pretty special.  She is a beautiful and creative soul who lives a life full of grace, empathy, generosity and love.  We have spent many moons talking into the wee hours of the night and probably just as many (or maybe more) hours dancing.  She has been a gift in my life and I’m so so thankful for her.
Now let me set the stage a bit for you.  I had always wanted to photograph Kayla with her hoops at sunset.  Even before this project.  It had been something I had been envisioning for a long time.  However with us not living in the same city, it made it a little more challenging to arrange, especially when I was also hoping for a perfect sun set .  Well, we managed to pull it off.  In fact I got two sunset sessions.

The photos you’ll see below are actually over the course of three separate visits.  This first set of photos happened in the middle of the Summer, on a gorgeous evening.  There was Kayla and myself as well as two other beautiful friends of ours.  We packed up Kayla’s hoops, music, some wine and a big blanket and we ventured out to the most perfect location.  The evening was warm and the sun golden.  Although each of us 4 mom’s had lives full of much responsibility with many ups and downs as life tends to give us, that evening felt so care-free.  We danced, we hooped, we laughed, we truly felt like 4 big kids!!!  It felt amazing.  I even put my tripod to work a couple times and joined in on the photos.

The second visit you’ll see here was later in the year.  The Summer was nearly over but the sunset was just as rich.  It was just Kayla and I this time and she wore her beautifully handmade headpiece.  She looked like a strong and beautiful warrior.  We decided to just head across the street from her place to the river’s edge.  Another perfect location.  I brought my film camera with me on this visit and shot off a roll of film, double exposing it.  The results were stunning.

The last small section of photos you’ll see happened at yet another visit.  It was one of those nights I mentioned where we sat up and talked and laughed into the wee hours of the night.  We were on her roof top deck listening to music, enjoying the night.  She pulled out her light-up hoops and I pulled out my tripod and camera.  I experimented with long exposures while she danced with her hoops.  The results were so fun!

I know I could go on and on about how much I love Kayla and how much fun we always have when we’re together, but I’ll let the photos speak now.  Thank you Kayla Raye for letting me photograph you.  You are a shining ray of light in my life. xoxoDown by the river’s edge…Rooftop deck  –  Dancing  –  Light up hoops  –  Long exposures…
Lastly, the double exposed film photos that I took of Kayla down by the river.  She had her beautiful headpiece on and looked strong and beautiful.  Because most of the artists in the series so far have been painters or have produced some form of tangible art in which to photograph, Kayla’s film roll was a little different.  Her movements were the art.  So for these double exposed photos I simply photographed her dancing for both layers.  Such a beauty.