Hampton, 2014

Oh! Hello.

I have been keeping busy catching up on work. Did you know I shot more film in 2014 then I did last year?

At that time I was obsessed with documenting the towns around where I lived (which was Hampton, CT). That area is known by the locals as “The Quiet Corner” because it is a very rural, somewhat low income pocket in the northwestern corner of CT. These towns used to host mills, factories and farms but now they are mostly residential.

Driving around Hampton made me feel like I was living in an old New England story. I couldn’t help but photograph it.

More to come.

Advertisements

Chapter 7: Back to Georgia

Hi there.

Remember me?

I know its been a while and I’m sorry about that.

But I’m back… in black… and better than ever!

Seriously though, a lot has changed since my last post. I’d love to share with you, if you’ll have me back that is.

The last time we spoke I was making jam in Asheville and it was summertime. Asheville sure was fun and it was a necessary change, a much needed adventure, but I began to feel stagnant by mid summer. The mountains can make you feel infinite at times, like they charge you with their immense power, but other times they can make you feel trapped and claustrophobic. After spending so much time in Connecticut away from my family in Georgia it seemed silly to move to a city in North Carolina where I didn’t know anyone… so close to my home in Georgia, yet so  isolated in my mountain town. I suppose the real issue was I needed to reconnect with my roots.

Move #7: Back to Georgia

In August I high tailed it back to Alpharetta, Georgia, the town I did most of my growing up in and also a place I only visited a handful of times in the past six years.

Life works in mysterious ways. This year began with a feeling; a feeling I needed to change my life, a feeling I needed to move, a feeling much like growing pains. I decided to follow my gut and I moved. I created a life that was truly and completely mine up in Connecticut, independent of my family and friends down south. I left all of that behind because something was telling me it was time to move on. The new path I fell onto was rough and I got hurt badly this past year but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. I learned things in Asheville that I needed to learn. One of them being say goodbye when you feel it’s time to.

I had no idea why I felt the need to return to GA, but the feeling was so strong I could not turn away.

Almost one month after moving back I met the love of my life. Malcolm and I knew we were in love right away and it is like nothing I’ve experienced before. At the same time it is the most natural and instinctual relationship or even part of my life to date.

This year I learned to listen to my instinct and trust my intuition. It sounds cheesy but guess who doesn’t care? This girl. You know what you need even if you don’t know you know it. I finally feel like I’m the person I’ve always wanted to be. I love myself, I love the world, I see beauty all around. I love the hurt and sadness that brought me here. It was worth every second. I am in love.

When you know, you know.

abiandmal

 

 

How to make wildflower jam

Last year I began a photo series of portraits of wildflowers. They are beautiful close ups taken with my Mamiya and I love them dearly. My goal with the project was so identify wild plants, forage edible wildflowers and preserve them as jam. Once I finished shooting for this project, the wildflowers were past their prime so I decided to finish the last step of my project here in Asheville! I went out on some lovely hikes and gathered daisies, red clover, honeysuckle and spiderwort. 

I’ve been making jam almost every year since I was a toodler with my grandmother and mother, then I continued to make our famous strawberry jam with one of my sisters every summer as we grew up. I didn’t follow a recipe for the wildflower jam, just used what I already knew about jam making, but I wanted to share the steps I took because this stuff is amazing and everyone should try it! 

 
First I gathered the flowers, I ended up with about a cup and a half total once the buds were picked and washed. 

 

 I then picked all of the buds off the stems and washed them in cool water. I put them in a bowl and steeped them in 2 cups of boiling water.  

  The flowers sat in the water for about 24 hours.

 
Next, I straind the wildflower infusion into a pot (ended up being about a cup and a half). I added one box of pectin and the juice from one lemon. 

  
I stirred the mixture on and off til it came to a boil, then I stirred in two cups of sugar and continued to stir until the jam mixture came to a roaring boil.

  
I continued to stir the jam mixture for another minute. While this was going on I boiled a pot of water for the mason jars to process in.

 
This is the part where you have to move fast. I had prepared heated jars before hand to ladle the jam into. I filled up the jars as much as I could and then I put some freshly washed wildflowers on top. 

*Little side note: technically speaking, jam has little bits of fruit in it and jelly is made from an infusion. I thought that if I put whole flowers into my “jelly” that I could then call it jam. 

  

I covered up the jars and put them into the boiling water to process for ten minutes. Then I removed them and let them cool over night.

  

The jam came out exactly how I had hoped! The consistency was perfect, just like any other jam or jelly, and the taste was…well, floral! It was a little sour and delightfully sweet. 

I had so much fun making my wildflower jam! I hope you find my instructions helpful and decide to make some jam of your own!

Sometimes things break

So, I broke my laptop. It was the weekend before my birthday and I woke up super excited to drive to GA to visit my family. In a rush to turn off my alarm I knocked over a glass of water that landed on my poorly placed laptop. Didn’t think the damage was that bad… But It turned out to be pretty bad. Luckily, the lovely gentlemen at geek squad helped save my hard drive. Silver lining. 

Photo work has been slow going since the incident. Since I can’t edit photos right now I’ve been focusing on artist statements. I have a few almost completed bodies of work that are missing statements and it feels great to finally explain my intentions and flesh out my ideas. Finishing an artist statement is like putting on lipstick. 

Here are some photo sketches of a new series I’m working on, Urban Flora.   

     

Where does the momentum go?

You have a dream! Then you get organized and the dream becomes a goal, then you plan for your goal so that it becomes clear and obtainable. Somewhere along the way you lose that boost of inspiration and excitement that sparked the quest in the first place. Where did that initial momentum go? The law of momentum conservation says that whatever you collided with gained what you lost. So if you are colliding with your dream/goal/plan then that is where your momentum is! Boom!

Inspired again?

You should be. You are giving life to your dream. It is all to easy to lose sight of what you’re working for once you put yourself in the middle of it. It’s like looking at a garden and making up your mind that that is where you want to be and what you want to work on. But once you are in the middle of that garden, on the ground surrounded by weeds, it’s a lot harder to see where you should focus your attention. I say look down at what you’ve got and go from there. You’re heart may say start at the far corner and work your way back. There isn’t a wrong answer.

A friend posted this article by Sarah Von Bargan on facebook earlier, I think you should check it out: How To Actually Do The Stuff You Say You Want To Do. My favorite part of this post is the end where Von Bargan says doing begets more doing. Our potential is like a flower in that garden I mentioned before; once you start “doing” that flower grows more and more util it drops its own seeds…then more flowers grow.

I get really hung up on the financial side of things. I need some photography equipment that I can’t exactly afford. So I’m focusing on what I have available to me right now and I’m doing what I can. Last night I did this: BlindBanditPhotography.tumblr.com. Reaching people is so important to me. I’ve said before that one of my main goals is to inspire others to follow their own hearts and dreams. The web and social media make it so easy to reach people all over the world. So cheers to you friends from facebook, instagram and now tumblr! Go get ’em!

IMG_1958 This is what work looks like.

New is all Around

Well, Asheville, aren’t you pretty!

IMG_0715 (1)

This past month flew by so fast I’m spinning. Still living half out of boxes, but let’s be honest, I have been living out of boxes for like five years. It is so good to be back down south! Asheville is home to lots of outdoor activities like hiking, kayaking and mountain biking… in fact, I can actually hear the mountains calling my name. I have gone on some pretty impressive hikes already and seen some breath taking views.

Check out Little Bradley Falls in Saluda, NC

IMG_1229

This past week some of my best friends from Georgia came to Asheville for their annual spring break (mini) road trip. I haven’t seen these girls in about three years but it felt like five minutes. Best friends are timeless.

IMG_1289

Another wonderful thing about this city is all the AMAZING food! Seriously, this place is a local foodie’s dream come true! Organic, vegan, local, delicious, you name it, Asheville’s got it! My first restaurant stop was Tupelo Honey Cafe right in the heart of downtown… and they stole my heart when they brought me this yummy biscuit ❤ Oh yeah, and the mimosa was excellent!

IMG_0485 (1)