I should write Shae Detar a love letter for the beautiful and obscure grandeur she puts out there. A constant inspiration for us, she mixes film photography with paint and her images straddle the fence between watercolor dreams and reality. Pure magic!
Many people ask us what we miss most about America besides friends and family. We hear pizza, and surprisingly Brussels sprouts quite often. But the one thing we miss the most is the music culture. I look back at my pixie haircut, and double fisting photos and I get a chill up my spine. I can almost hear the music ringing down the streets, as herds of music lovers, artists, roamers, youngin’s, old hippies and techies rub knees and shoulders to their own beat. The sun is intense, but you happily earn your summer skin. Dry, dusty air can have you choking as you yell and sing out loud, then you chase it down with a cold lonestar. Everyone around you beckons for a double take and has you thinking to yourself, what are you wearing? what are you not wearing? We all look as bonkers as the next person, where do you come from you beautiful people?! Austin you were so good to us. You have us saying..America f*ck yea. I love your music culture.
Two beautiful worlds collide with these images. I was captivated by how alien these orbs of spheres looked photographed against beautiful landscapes. In the video Denis explained his background in a demanding sales job, a destructive cycle of drinking to suppress the anxiety of his high pressure lifestyle, and red bulls throughout the day to keep him awake through this monotonous cycle, until one day he saw the light. Literally. They were in the process of moving where in between he found time to pick up a camera and gravitated towards what he found exciting and freeing. Truly an inspiration for creative Independence, and how artists and or creatives alike who find themselves in a cube the majority of their days can start to feel depressed. It’s your intuition telling you there’s something more, something that will liberate you so much it gives you goosebumps. It may not be on the list of “job options” they presented to you in grade school when you were first asked the question “what do you want to be when you grow up?” As I get older, I realized this shouldn’t have been a list of options, but a fill in the blank/s exercise.
Learn more about the process of light painting in the video, or see more on Denis Smith’s site.
We have officially entered the winter solstice. As we trade long sunny days for longer starry nights we are gravitated to travel inward. Enjoy quiet days with yourself, a journal, and your imagination. Be alone with your thoughts and let go of things that weigh on your soul. Forever be a student, and play with abandon. Reflect on the past, live in the present, and move forward with intention.
So intrigued by this documentary about the rise and fall of this hippie community called Taylor Camp. The camp formed on the idea of free living, settled in this tree house village on the beautiful shore of Kauai. Clothing-optional, pot-friendly, rent free, and no politics made this village utopia in paradise. Taylor Camp was born in the spring of 1969 when artist / oceanographer Howard Taylor (brother of actress Elizabeth) bailed out thirteen hippies seeking refuge from the ongoing campus riots in America and police brutality. Hippies, surfers,vets and alternative lifestylists then flocked into this idyllic tropical hippie dream, and without any rules they grew the village and governed themselves. These nostalgic photos were taken by John Wehrheim who was a Taylor Camp resident. Such magical images he captured of this village which many look back as the “happiest days of their lives”. Sadly the community was torched and put to an end in 1977 to make room for a state park.
I’ve always appreciated the craftsmanship that went into our Hmong textiles. From the meticulous cross-stitching, to the embroidery, and their Batik techniques. Today we decided to learn first hand from Hmong artisans about the Batik techniques that I love so much in not only in our textiles but also in our wanderer ponchos. All I can say is wow, these women have great attention to detail, a deep knowledge to meanings of patterns, along with very steady hands! The Batik dying process includes tools handmade in their village which had different size points for making lines. Kind of reminded me of calligraphy pens! They use it to dip into beeswax that is harvested from their village. The beeswax is melted over a clay pot of fire which in time will turn black. They then draw their traditional patterns on a hand drawn grid all from memory. Specific patterns had different meanings and the one we are drawing below means good luck and protection for a baby, which they use to stitch into a baby carrier. I told her I didn’t have a baby yet, then she replied “When you do, bring your baby to our village”.
After the pattern is drawn, we then dip it into indigo which is harvested from their land. Winhus pictured below is showing us the indigo leaves prior to mixing it with ash and water to create the dye. From here the process can take days to weeks depending on preferred hue of indigo. You dip, then hang dry, and dip again. Once you have achieved the hue you prefer, you then dip the fabric into boiling water to melt off the wax and reveal the contrast of patterns. Ta-da! All the women in this tribe are such talented artisans and take much pride in their work. After months of working on one piece they then take it to the market to sell. Talk about delayed gratification! What a beautiful and slow process each piece is. They mentioned most of the kids in the village have started to lose interest in learning and is most interested in modern technology. Therefore only the older women in the village still hold this knowledge of their traditional Batik technique and through their textiles they work to preserve remnants of their culture.
National Geographic “Your Shot” community is such a visual discovery through the lens of everyday photographers, travelers, and spontaneous adventurers. They posted a “foodscape” assignment and we immediately thought about my uncle Jong whom we recently visited during our stay in the Philippines. He’s quite a man of the wild, knows how to fix anything, build anything, catch anything, and cook everything. We have a little family compound by the ocean off of the island Mindoro. Below is his photo captured by Aaron as he cooks what he’s caught for us over an open fire. Below this photo are the top photos from the NCS foodscape assignment. Aren’t they incredible?! So many stories these photos have captured. They open our eyes to wonder, and evoke a sense of adventure.
Early morning markets, Hoi An, Vietnam
This was taken in a small village in southeast of china called Lishui.People are busy gathering and picking the pumpkin to the market.
These are two sea gypsies that are cooking the catch of the day.
Iranian villager woman carries the tray of fruits and traditional nuts at the yard of her house during Chaharshanbe Souri.
Click on images for photographer profiles and while you’re at it, check out their amazing shots!
Give an artist space and let it become their canvas. This past weekend we explored the curious world of Jakawan Baandin settled on the mountainsides of Chiang Mai Thailand. My mind was blown, creatively stimulated, and curiously peaked. Everything inside and outside of these colorful concrete mounds were envisioned by the artist and translated into a playful journey down the rabbit hole. Every corner evoked wonder, and every detail was magic. Each home on the compound are themed differently such as the Moroccan room or elephant room and filled with his work of carvings, weldings, paintings, and installations. Completely spontaneous and full of discovery, we will be back for a stay of mind expansion and inspiration. After leaving his compound I can feel my views on living evolving to a change. How beautiful it is to completely express yourself down to every inch of your living. On the drive back, me and Aaron found ourselves sitting in silence daydreaming about our earth mound compound in the middle of the desert one day. <3
We stacking high with lots of tribal textiles for you indigenous hearts, teepee makers, festival fairies, and gypsy crafters! Some shiny, new and fresh off the hands of the Hmong tribe artisans, while others have been passed down for generations and have now made it into our vintage series of textiles. Whichever tickles your fancy, we’re sure these tribal beauties will keep you warm, or have you winning the raddest picnic blanket award. Each one of a kind, so call dibs on your favorite before it gets picked up! Check out our textile collection HERE.
Small villages amongst breathtaking mountain landscapes of Laos
Incredible layers of mountainsides made for a scenic ride
A temple within a cave
Through film: Temples along the river
Through film: At the boat dock
Through film: Monks accompanied our long boat ride. It was interesting to see them meditating while on the boat!
Through film: Temp rooftops over the Mekong
Sundown on the Mekong
One of the biggest realizations we’ve had on the road is the reality of being rich with time. All of a sudden I am happily hand washing our clothes, when it used to be such a chore sticking them in the washing machine and pressing a button. It’s an incredible feeling to get up early, to listen to bird songs, watch the sunrise and write in my journal. Quite a contrast to the days where I’m frantically running out the door and listening to beating horns of early morning traffic. Now I slowly sip my coffee throughout the day for the aroma and bold flavors, not to “have to get through the day”. The more I see different walks of life, the more I realize that the unmarked paths are there for you to create your own. Knowing that has been such a freeing feeling, and I don’t think it’s anything I would have understood without seeing it for myself.
We decided to take a “slow’ trip to Laos. We had nowhere we had to be at any time and creating an itinerary just seemed unnecessary. The slow boat took two days slowly riding the current of the Mekong river. There’s something so therapeutic about sitting still for hours as the wind blows your hair, and views of the majestic mountain regions of Laos pass by. We live in such an “instant’ society where you’re expected to do more with less time. We can answer 10 emails in one hour, but it’s hard to establish any true connections that way. It’s getting harder and harder to sit still, because it’s seen as lazy or unproductive but reflection is imperative in clearing your mind and centering your priorities.
As the sun started set, the boat came to stop at a small riverside village for you to sleep and find some local food. We came with no expectations therefore everything became a discovery. Some good, some so-so. I’ll have to save our story of when we played pin the tail on the map of Laos and ended up in a village where we felt stranded. Or that guesthouse where all you could smell was cat pee. We laugh about it every time, and can honestly say these moments color our travels.