When I find myself becoming complacent, even a little jaded and dull around the edges, it is then that I am more likely to miss the beauty that exists amongst the ordinary, the mundane and the chaos around me.
It is always there, it just takes a different perspective to see it.
'Next Time' by Mary Oliver always seems to help me get in the right frame of mind.
Part of the Nourish and Nest philosophy is to Connect and Create. So, to bring that to life here on the blog, today I'd like to kick off a series of interviews with some fabulous individuals who 'create' in some way or another. Think of it as a glimpse into their world. A chance to connect and, hopefully, to be inspired to create in our own ways.
First up today is the (incredibly talented) artist, Amy Cuneo. If you're not new to the Nourish and Nest tribe, you'll have met Amy before. She first graced the blog back here.
Today she is sharing with us about how creativity fits into her world, her rituals and routines and what is inspiring her at the moment. I really appreciate Amy's honesty and humility. I got so much out of this interview personally - I hope you do too!
Thank you Amy for letting us into your mind and your home and to Aaron Hughes for the fabulous photos.
How long have you been an artist? How did you end up doing this?
Not sure how long I have been an artist for. Somewhere between 7-32 years.
I always loved art all through school but didn't have the confidence to go on and pursue it at Uni until I was 21. It has been something that has crept up on me. I loved it, I played with it and then eventually it became part of my daily essentials.
Do you see yourself as a creative person? How do you get to be creative in your day-to-day life?
To be perfectly honest I don't feel overly creative in my day to day life. I like the stability of sausages and mash and the constants of routine which help to keep my creativity burning in other areas.
How do you stay inspired/passionate? What helps for you when you're not 'feeling it'?
I stay passionate in spite of myself. I will lose motivation and inspiration for a while and then something I come across like a colour combo on a house, or someone's face, or being in nature revives something in me and I create again.
Things I have found helpful to stay inspired are:
- not beating myself up for having a break/trust that inspiration will come again
- keep making time to create and change up what you do to keep it fresh.
- be part of a community of creatives in real life or online.
What do you love most about your craft?
I love the thrill of the unknown when starting a new painting or new concept.
What do you find hard?
Not comparing myself to others.
What does an 'average' day look like for you?
It's a very simple routine that we have right now. I have a 2 year old and 6 month old baby so we are home a lot.
7am -wake up with kids
9am-leave the house with kids for some fresh air/park/coffee with friends
12- kids go to sleep for *hopefully* a couple of hours and this is when I paint/read/sleep
3pm-afternoon chaos, dinner prep etc
8pm Grown up time to watch Netflix, talk, read.
What are some of the non-glamorous aspects of your creative business that most people don't see?
-The amount of fails involved to achieve one successful painting.
-The need to be financially viable or have alternate work
- Working alone can mean too much time in your own head. (Which is why I now listen to podcasts when painting).
Anything cool you're currently reading/listening to/thinking about?
I'm listening to 2 brilliant podcasts one is the New Yorker Poetry podcast and the other is OnBeing where people of different faiths, professions and opinions talk about what it means to be spiritual in contemporary culture.
Bands: Phosphorescence, Bon Iver and Elbow
I am reading Annie Proulx's new book Barkskins.
What are some of your favourite daily or weekly rituals?
Any advice for someone thinking about making a living from their creative passion?
Remember that all work has its frustrations, it's not going to be easy but it is satisfying.
Go get 'em tiger.
All photography by Aaron Hughes of In Your Shadow
Amy wears the Nourish and Nest Linen Apron in Navy.
What is hygge?
I like that hygge isn't just a marketing push to stock up on cushions and throws for Winter, it is something that you can find with friends, with a loved old jumper, a vibe you can bring to your space and to your interactions. A feeling of cosiness, gratitude, contentment, security and haven.
Comfort and cosiness cannot be the single goal of our lives - often our greatest feelings of fulfilment and purpose are derived from situations that we feel rather uncomfortable in - doing things we've never done before, meeting new people, standing up for causes we believe in - living passionately often equates with having courage and moving beyond our comfort zones. But that's why I think we need hygge all the more. When we do have our times of rest, when we gather in our homes and have some precious down time, it's important that we know how to replenish ourselves. And not just for ourselves - personally, I think it's a pretty beautiful feeling to bring a little hygge into our interactions, into other people's lives as well.
It seems commonsense - having small rituals that help us enjoy the simple things, finding things to be grateful for, choosing contentment over comparison, but sometimes we need the reminder.
So I have attached below Meik Wiking's Hygge Manifesto for your home. Your personal guide to hygge may look a little different but his suggestions might be a good place to start. If you're living hygge 24/7, maybe the reminder for you is to stretch yourself, even just a little bit, to be moving out of that comfort zone and doing something small every now and again that scares you but helps your grow. If your downtime doesn't restore you like it should - maybe these simple suggestions will help you find your hygge groove.
Enjoy the season of cosy!
This month I am:
Relishing... the true beginning of Autumn. The beautiful light at dusk, the refreshing crispness in the air, pumpkins in my garden and the freshness that comes with a change of season.
Reading... The Little Book of Hygge. Consider me officially on the bandwagon.
Listening to... A Seat At The Table by Solange
Watching... Borgen. There is definitely a Danish theme going on here.
Burning... our 'Autumn' candle which fills my house with the aromas of chai tea, sweet pear and mandarin.
Harvesting... butternuts pumpkins! It is the first time we have grown them and they taste incredible (and do well despite neglect - win!)
Eating... pumpkin soup, roast pumpkin salad, mashed pumpkin.. (see above)
Making... candles in our three new aromas. They're finally here and I can't wait to share them. More on the blog in the coming days and you'll find them in our online store next week
Planning... on attending this dreamy weekend.
Working on... a really exciting project for Nourish and Nest.. to be released next month. I can't wait to share!
I was sharing in this post that it's taken me a little while to find my groove this year. You know, adjusting to the new schedules of the fresh year, emerging from cruisy January with some focus and purpose and finding a rhythm to the day that works in this current season of life.
I love a good list and also find that having a daily focus, small rituals to look forward to and gratitude reminders all help me fall in to a good groove.
So I put together a daily list with a few little Nourish and Nest-style extras to help myself along.
There's a place for the necessary 'to-dos' but also somewhere to write down a simple focus for each day, some self-care rituals to incorporate into our rhythms plus space for notes and gratitudes.
Sound like something you'd be in to? Then print yourself out a few copies of the Nourish and Nest Daily Rituals sheet, click on the image to download.
Sometimes creating things is as much about the act itself as the end result. The slowing down, the therapeutic mindfulness that comes from concentrating on the task at hand. And when you're using elements from nature and the resulting work is both beautiful and simple, I believe the act becomes rather soul-filling too.
What could make it even better? If you are crafting something that is a total breeze to create.. Cue, the flower garland!
I first made one of these for my youngest babe's birthday (her 1st, 2nd? the details are hazy..) We had a whole lot of marigolds growing in the vegetable garden and I had loved the idea of trying to create this style of flower garland since seeing masses of them in the markets of India on a trip years ago. The simple little garland I made from those marigolds was the perfect backdrop for my little babe blowing out the candles on her cake.
I actually think a flower garland works for all kinds of gathering. Admittedly, they last a few days at most, but it makes them all the more special while you have them. You could experiment with using natives that dry beautifully to give your garland some longevity.
It's a fun and relaxed thing to do with friends too, kind of reminds you of making flower chains as a kid.
This garland has been created with all the flowers close together but you can also spread the flowers out to give you more bang for your buck when it comes to garland length. Completely up to you!
I didn't have an abundance of of marigolds on hand this time, so we used carnations instead. Any flowerhead that is sturdy and has a dense structure would work.
Here's the simple how-to:
1. Cut flower heads off stems.
2. Thread a long, thick needle (like a mattress needle) with cotton.
3. Starting at the base of the head, push the needle up through to the top of the flower.
4. Gently push your flower head down the cotton.
5. Repeat until you have used up all your flower heads.
Currently I am:
Setting myself a few creative, fun goals for the year ahead - one of which is to sew these gorgeous overalls. I've got the pattern and the fabric... now just to remember how to work my sewing machine ;)
Getting back into candle production so that we can re-stock the online store, including our two new aromas!
Planting radishes, leeks and plenty of greens.
Harvesting tomatoes, eggplants, basil, cucumbers, cos lettuce and more (basically.. Summer in the veggie garden rocks!)
Loving this interview with Elizabeth Antonia. I have been reading her blog since my eldest was a babe and love her simple but beautiful motherhood inspiration.
Looking forward to launching a few exciting new ventures for Nourish and Nest this year - stay tuned!
Trying to remember that Autumn will be here before we know it and taking the opportunity to eat meals outside, feel the sand between my toes each week and linger outside when I can of an evening.
Loving pretty much every single piece in this collection and the ethos behind the brand.
Feeling like I haven't really found my groove yet this year. I'm looking forward to creating a little more rhythm in our days, starting as always with a few small rituals throughout the day.
I hope you're finding your groove for 2017 and are enjoying the possibilities of the year ahead.