This man pictured above is a brilliant artist, husband, father, and kind soul. I had the privilege of meeting David Hale a few years ago, shortly after I relocated to Athens from Portland, Oregon. He did a beautiful cover up of a tattoo on my foot, and since then I have followed his work as it exploded across the internet and the world. He's a special kind of person; the popularity hasn't seemed to affect him, other than making the choice to literally stop taking appointments and instead using a newsletter system with Gratitude Designs -- prospective clients can pick from them to enter the lottery. He chooses one client for each design, and the design will never be used on anyone other than that client. He uses a donation system when accepting payment and donates a percentage of each tattoo and art sale to hand-picked charities. Included with his newsletter, every letter, are words of thankfulness, gratitude, connectedness to the natural world, thoughtful self-examination, and hope. He welcomed me into the studio and I spent some time with him and his apprentice, Evan Morgan, and he tattooed a beautiful swallow on my right shoulder. You can see the drawing of it taped to his lamp, the third photograph from the bottom. Read more about David's work at davidhale.org and his tattoo studio, Love Hawk Studio, at lovehawk.com, where you can also sign up for his newsletter.  

This tattoo carries so much significance for me. It's a reminder of the softening of my heart and the strengthening of my soul. This came after a very difficult time; actually, almost fourteen years of difficulty, with a three or four year rest that passed shortly after the move to Athens. I feel, in many ways, that I am entering into rest and abundance. I wrote about why my first three years in Athens were difficult in Issue A of Alphabet Family Journal, and the title of the piece is Abundance. Interestingly, and fittingly, the editors chose this title for my four page spread containing 500 words and a handful of photographs, showing a gathering with my friends. In one photograph, Larken, as a baby, is being held by Zelda, who would eventually introduce me to John, my husband. The hard exterior, defensive spirit, and basically survival-mode mentality that I carried as a single mother has given way to hope, joy, and, there seems to be no better way to say this, softening. 

I've written a bit about taking a new direction with my work, and while the studio concept is on hold for a time, I have been building something new and fresh, along with a lovely friend and artist, Eve Nettles. Every Thursday we meet, discuss different visual movements, gather materials, and begin. She composes and designs, I photograph. This work has brought me so much joy, and a feeling of satisfaction -- beauty created and unfolding as we work. We are in the process of building our website, where you'll be able to see each series of installations photographed, and also purchase as prints. Eve is participating in a gallery opening this Friday evening, and I'll be present with my camera to photograph some of her work on display. We'll also be handing out a few small prints with information hand written on the back, including the name of this project and our site's address. If you live in the Athens area, please join these artists in the Plaza & Bridge galleries of UGA's Lamar Dodd school of art. For those that are interested but won't be able to attend the event, I'll post a few of our pieces and more information on my site's journal sometime next week. So many aspects of this work reflect the softness that I mentioned above. 

Our family has been finding our way through a very busy time with regards to John's and my work, but through all of this we have found comfort in the company of dear friends and have loved seeing those friendships deepen and grow. We have been enjoying the girls so much; they're both so sweet and hilarious. With regard to work, the deadline for many months spent investing in Barb Blair's second book is nearing.  Though there is pressure and so much to be done, the entire experiencing of working with Barb and the other members of our team, Angie, Jessica, and Julie, has been wonderful and enriching. I can't wait to see that book in print; the publisher is Chronicle and it will be out in early 2015. I don't think I am allowed to say anything other than that. You can read more about Barb and what she does at knackstudios.com.  I have learned so much from watching her balance work and family life, while constantly supporting those around her and having a light-hearted spirit. She is truly a wise woman and I am honored to be her photographer for this book. I have only a handful of weddings left, and have some other smaller projects in process, but overall I see the light of more rest, less stress, more time together at the end of the tunnel. It has been really encouraging to see my work featured in some major places recently: Domino, The Huffington Post, and Minted, thanks to my sweet friend Emily Jeffords, and Bon Appétit (here and here) and in a German book about knives called Messer by publisher Tuebner, thanks to my people Bloodroot Blades, who are some of my favorite human beings. Their work continues to gain recognition and much like David Hale, the popularity hasn't changed them in any way. It has been so good to watch them grow and receive well-deserved exposure. 

Back soon with more information on my work with Eve and also a handful of pieces to view.

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I first met Raven when she modeled for a look book that I was photographing, and we had such a connection in that relationship. She has a rare, natural grace in front of the camera; I think this simply comes from who she is. We became friends that day, and stayed in touch through social media. I saw that she was painting again and had a space in the Redux Studios in Charleston, SC. We met there one late summer morning; she arrived riding her bike with flowers from the farmer's market, wearing a dip-dyed caftan with milk maid braids and lace up boots, and lots of jewelry. So perfectly Raven. 

We spent some time shooting in her studio, talking about her background in art and how she has grown as an artist. Her work continues to gain recognition (her show with Billy Reid opens tomorrow, October 2nd, at the corner of King and Queen in Charleston), and she continues to explore new mediums and concepts. Later we stopped at a coffee shop a few blocks down and talked... about life, and how beautiful but broken it can be at the same time. We talked about the richness of having creative women in your life, and how much we have to learn and share with/from each other.  We lingered and conversed, sometimes quietly and sometimes laughing loudly with childlike abandon. In that light-soaked room, I felt like I had been given one of those moments where you are able to really see that life is a gift -- with all the difficulty, all the struggle, all the pain and sorrow -- yet it truly is a gift. Those struggles and sorrows shape us and give us depth, texture, compassion, and strength... they make us who we are. And moments like this one, often unexpected, can make us appreciate life, the entire scope of what we experience. And these kind of moments make us grow as well. They make us rich. These moments give each of us the opportunity to extend the understanding and empathy we gain from our pain in this precious exchange that friendship is. 

I have more to share soon in my series on artists, and the next is an equally grace-filled, kind soul -- David Hale. I also have been working with an artist and friend, Eve Nettles, on a project that I plan to pour much of my time and energy into. I am absolutely in love with what we are working on; it has opened my eyes to so many possibilities with our combined efforts. Very excited to launch that project when the time is right. Our hopes for the Schoolhouse won't be possible, unfortunately, but we are still looking for a studio and plan to continue finding ways to work together as a family in the meantime. Thank you for reading friends; back soon. 

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I recently had the opportunity to teach a photography and styling class at TREEHOUSE. kid & craft to a wonderful group of girls ages ten - fourteen. We had so much fun learning about the elements of exposure, how to shoot in manual on a DSLR, and concepts such as depth of field and color and composition. We learned about some iconic photographers and watched just a bit of the BBC documentary on Vivian Maier. The last day we spent practicing food styling with props generously provided by Mimi Maumus of home.made catering and beautiful pottery by R. Wood Studio Ceramics. I took these photographs and a few more at the end of our last day. This was such an energizing experience for me; obviously, Treehouse itself is a beautiful space to teach from and is filled with inspiration, and it was also interesting to work with girls in that age range, especially as I thought about Piper and Larken and what they will be like as they grow older. Each one of the students was so special and I loved seeing them learn, and sensing when a concept really clicked. It was awesome to hear how familiar they were with the exposure choices they were making toward the end of the camp. You can see more of these photographs at theseedandplate.com

So I left with a bit of a cliffhanger in my last journal entry, and I didn't do that for dramatic effect, but instead wanted everything to be finalized before sharing news. Here goes: John and I have acquired a beautiful studio space, the Schoolhouse, just outside of town (maybe five miles from downtown Athens?) with a rich creative history. It's a beautiful, white, one-room schoolhouse (as the name suggests) with a tin roof and wood floors, walls, and ceiling. We are so excited for this studio... right now, our initial plans (beyond just having a beautiful space to work and play in that isn't home) include dinners, small shows, workshops, art openings, pop-up shops, recording space, and many more things. There is still much to be done with branding, promoting, designing and building the site, but thus far the response among friends and those who we partner with has been incredibly enthusiastic and supportive. We envision a beautiful space with rustic wood as the backdrop, but modernist white and neutral furnishings, vintage rugs, and beautiful floral and greenery arrangements. We plan to host our first dinner in the fall. I will be sharing the details of how we are progressing here on my journal as well as on instagram, but for now, we are in the stage of dreams and hard work.  We also plan to use the space for The Seed and Plate events, classes, workshops.  Of all the beautiful things we have envisioned, John and I are most excited about doing this together as a family. 

Piper started kindergarten this past week, lost her first tooth just days before, and Larken talks non-stop with a killer sense of humor. The girls are growing up so beautifully with personalities that constantly keep me engaged and enthralled. Their amazing little minds bring me more and more joy everyday. And they love each other so much; one of my favorite things is seeing them play together, hold hands, and hug each other. Larken tends to be the mischievous antagonist in their relationship, while Piper has come to thoroughly enjoy the role of older sister. They are very close. We are all growing closer, everyday, despite fatigue and all of the brokenness within  and around us, and add to that all of the work John and I both have. I know I have written this over and over but it remains true: I am so hopeful for the season that lies ahead. And I very much appreciate the one we are in now, even with everything that is hard. I am so thankful for the love that we have and share. And for the chance to work together more with John! Wonderful things. I look forward to sharing more when I can.

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Last Thursday I spent a day shooting interiors with a local designer, and even though it was a long day of good work, I knew that I needed to go out to a farm in Winterville to take some photographs for a Seed and Plate piece. John and I talked and decided to make this farm visit a family trip, feed the girls supper on the way.  

Driving out to Winterville is a familiar route to John, particularly, but to me as well -- it's the drive that he took every morning and every night to come see me and spend time with the girls while we were dating. He lived on a farm in Winterville with a close friend, and we visited him there a couple of times, but we spent most of our time together at my house because it was home for the girls. This was a nostalgic drive for us... we talked about how far we've come even in these four months that we've been married, the mix of emotions that he felt on that drive from town to the farm -- ranging from sadness and loneliness, feeling a lack of purpose before we met, to the excitement and hope for something real and true after meeting me, to the love that was growing between us, and the four of us, and then the hope of marriage and being a family for the rest of our lives. 

As we got closer to his old house we realized that this was exactly where the map was taking us and we laughed. I never mentioned the address to him before typing it into my phone, I just saw that it was on the same road and didn't think anything further about it. We pulled into the driveway, got the girls out and went inside to meet Meg and Gus. It was so good to be back in that house and on that farm, remembering the whole scope of our story and how beautiful it really is. 

Meg and Gus run a meat co-op called Community. I'll post a link to the Seed and Plate piece when it is ready so that you can learn more about what they do. They were a joy to meet and so welcoming. It seems like they live a simple life, the kind that I dream about sometimes. 

I have been gone quite a bit these days, away from my family, traveling for weddings... some not too far away from home, some a good ways away. I have been missing my family. I have been weighed down with the stress of wedding season. I have been thinking about what I really want out of my work, and the preciousness of these early years in my girl's life, and of one day wanting to have another baby. I have been tired of the constant digital camera or screen in front of my eyes. I love my work, I will always be a photographer, I could never stop, I just know that I don't want to pursue a career in photography at the expense of my family and marriage. Maybe later, when the girls are older, I don't know.

So we have been dreaming and planning. There are some new things on the horizon for us, which are being carefully considered and thought through, but for now I can say that I am beginning a new chapter... one that involves staying closer to home, building into the Athens creative community, partnering with other artists and musicians and such, and bringing the girls along with me so that my work isn't something that separates me from them, but is an adventure for all of us. John will of course be my other half in this, and we are both fighting for a more holistic approach to our work and life. A simpler life. So we're hopeful, and ready for more time together, more time working with other creatives, more time letting the girls explore and create.  Can't wait.

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I had the opportunity to visit Erin McIntosh in her studio some weeks ago, and had a wonderful experience meeting her and learning about her artwork and process. She is a a sweet, kind soul, and obviously her work is incredible. One of my favorite aspects about meeting and photographing artists who work in other mediums (than photography) is talking with them about their lives, how they maintain balance (or try to), what motivates them creatively, things they have learned through their successes and failures, and the challenges of being your own brand, in a sense. In particular, Erin and I spoke about balance. She just returned from Italy where she spent three months teaching, and also is an art instructor at various campuses in and around Athens. It was very encouraging for me personally to hear her persecutive about how busy seasons come and go, and it reminded me that this season that find myself in will pass. 

You can find more about Erin and see her work on her website, erinmcintosh.com. Erin is represented by Gregg Irby and OAC Gallery. She was recently featured on Artsy Forager and is currently included in an exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Sciences in Macon, Georgia (see here). If you live in Athens, you can see her work at an exhibition at Hotel Indigo, which will be up through June. 

I have a few more artists to feature coming up soon.  I love seeing how this project has grown from an idea that I had over a year ago into something very beautiful -- it has brought friendship, creativity and more art into my life. I am so thankful to be able to use the medium of photography to share these experiences. Back soon. 

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Trouvé Volume 01 has been a beautiful journey... watching it grow from vision to completion, with steps in between, and then holding an actual magazine in my hands that I took part in making a reality. I am thankful to everyone who was involved in making this magazine, especially Amanda Marko . Please visit trouvemag.com to purchase a copy, and see my press/print section to see her beautiful layouts that include my work. Also, Michelle Armas, thank you again for letting me into your life. 

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I had the best time using wax flower and some other organic elements to photograph Lindsay Troutman's work, Copper and Torch. She, like me, is a artist/creative mother, and she makes incredibly beautiful things. I love this hanging double diamond wall vase. Right now it is sitting on the table in my work space holding some of Leah Duncan's beautiful prints.  Take a moment to visit her site, copperandtorch.com, and find her on instagram @copper_and_torch. 

And on a personal note, I am very much looking forward to some personal work that I have coming up... a couple of different artists, food and more Tybee Island for The Seed and Plate, more photographs of my children (possibly some with me actually in them, how crazy would that be). Also -- some work I am doing with other mothers and their children, partly in honor of Mother's Day, but mostly because of the incredibly beautiful moms I am surrounded by that pour out their lives to love on their children. And the children are of course beautiful themselves. 

And tomorrow is my darling husband's birthday, and our two month mark since marrying. If you don't know anything about John, you can read a bit more about him here, which is the interview he did with Trouvé Mag, and you can listen to his second record on Spotify. I don't want to spend too much time saying things to an online audience that are best told to him personally, in quiet moments together, but he is the most loving, talented, brilliant soul that I have ever met. His choice to love me and our girls has forever changed my life, and the joy and lightness he brings into our home is beyond value. Maybe one of these days we will have some family pictures taken... until then, you can see some photos of our wedding on Paige Jone's blog and in our feature on Green Wedding Shoes.  Take care friends, be back soon.

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Spring is here where I live, in Georgia, and everything is green. After a long weekend of being apart -- traveling and shooting for a wedding -- we had some time to be together as a family with friends; it was badly needed. Wedding season is picking up which means more time away from my girls and my beautiful husband. But this particular Saturday, I drove through the mountains in Appalachia and saw beauty. I listened to Redbird's Moonshiner, and Drunk Lullaby, and Ithaca.  It made me want to go camping. It made me want to back to Oregon, just for a bit, to visit friends and remember. More than that, it made me love the South and everything about where we are, exactly right now, with all the good and bad. My girls are growing and I feel really good about where they're being raised. We live in a very special place called The Hill; it is this hidden, idyllic, green and beautiful parcel of land a few miles from downtown Athens. The people who live here are almost like a family. We gather with them from time to time and it is always special... I am looking forward to more of that this summer, and new growing friendships, and old friendships that continue bringing joy and community to our lives. I am thankful for these moments of rest and being together. 

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I have been spending a good bit of time at Barb Blair's shop, Knack Studios in Greenville, SC. She is working on her second book with Chronicle Books and I have the privilege of being her photographer for the project. I am absolutely thrilled about all the aspects of our work together -- she is a wonderful, vibrant woman that I respect and admire and learn from, and we get to shoot her beautiful work in a beautiful space. These are just a few shots I took during free moments during our shoot yesterday. You can purchase her first book, Furniture Makeovers, here.

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I don't typically post weddings that I shoot because I am not a 'wedding photographer'. But these two people are dear friends, and lovely souls, and I loved sharing their day with them. They were so in love that day. And I love the photographs. Thank you Anna and Nathan. This was a gift.

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Last week I traveled to Tybee Island with Jodi and Erin, my darling team (minus John) from The Seed and Plate. We were invited to come to the island by a local PR firm and I am blown away by their hospitality. We had so much fun meeting with shrimp fishermen, going out on a clam farmer's boat, meeting and talking with local restauranteurs, learning about local seafood markets and the dynamics of eating seafood in tourist-heavy areas, sitting in the sun on Tybee's beautiful beaches, and eating some amazing food. I learned so much from this this visit. All of the people we met were so intelligent, well-spoken and interesting. Tybee was beautiful, and so was the little bit that we saw of Savannah. Being near the ocean was healing for me. I think sometimes it requires me to be literally lifted out of my day-to-day environment to get focused and reflect honestly on what I am doing with my life. I did think long and hard about how much I love this kind of work and getting to have these experiences. There are quite a few photographs from our trip, and we will be sharing them intermittently on S&P. I'll be sure to pass those links along when they are published. In the mean time, I am back home and happy to be with my lovely family.  

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So this is my new internet home! I am super happy with it. It felt like the right time to have a fresh start with my internet presence. I won't be blogging at pilgrimblog.com anymore, and instead will use this journal to share new work and updates on recent events, write a little about our life and home, and it will basically be my new blog... I will continue to share photographs of creatives and their studios, some of my work for The Seed and Plate, etc.  The rest of the site is pretty rad too -- you can click the links on the top right of the page to explore. The work section includes my portfolio broken down into basic groups: farms / food, gatherings, makers, artists, and homes / studios.  You can click press / print to see recent work that has been featured in print, including my recent 8-page spread in Four Magazine. The bio part is self explanatory. For contact info and to connect with me on social media, click contact on the left side bar. I think that's pretty much it! Coming soon -- a shoot with artist Emily Jeffords, an update on Trouvé magazine in print and my work with Michelle Armas for issue 1, and some news about a big project I am working on this year. I'm excited to share those things and to see what will come with my new space. 

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