Monday, February 22, 2010

tara o'brady: artists who blog

Tara's blog:

Why did you decide to start a blog? How did you come up with the name of your blog?

I am almost embarrassed to admit the story behind the name, as it was one of those whims that hits you like a ton of bricks and immediately means the world to you and you alone. But we’re friends, right? So here goes. One evening, I was sitting on my couch, flicking through Donna Hay magazine and talking to my then boyfriend (now husband) about the future.

Momentum had carried me on a successful career path after university, but I didn’t feel settled in what I was doing. As he left the room, he asked what made me happy. I looked down at the magazine on my lap, and thought “this.”

Food. Making it, eating it. Talking about it, reading about it. Writing about it. And of course learning, always learning.

It just so happened that in the Editor’s Letter of that issue Donna Hay mentioned her age of 34. I was 27 at the time. 34 subtract 27 gave me sev en, a number that has always seems to pop up in lucky circumstances in my life. And right there, that was it. I picked seven for my name as my little reminder of that night, that moment of complete conviction and clarity (just in case it was fleeting).

And the spoons, well “spoons” went nicely with seven, so there you go.

I’d been thinking of starting a food blog for a while by then, and having the name settled is what got me started.

How has blogging affected your work as an artist/designer?

It’s allowed me to focus on my own voice, rather than writing for others (which was my job at the time). By writing for myself on a regular basis I have further developed and clarified my perspective. It’s worked out the kinks.

As far as photography goes, I’d studied visual arts in the past, but never photography. Truth be told, my older brother has always been a great photographer, even from when we were little. I was always intimidated by that. The blog has pushed me headfirst into an area I wasn’t wholly comfortable in, and I’m better for it. I’ve become accustomed to this simple style that is my own, and I don’t think I’d have that without seven spoons.

What are some of your favorite artist/designer blogs? Why?

This could go on for days - a number of artists already included here are my usual haunts; their diverse talent offering up endless inspiration. Two ladies (and friends) that I’ll mention are the super-cool Kate of For Me, For You and lovely Nikole from forty-sixth at grace. Kate has an flawless eye for all aspects of design and she’s totally the girl I would have idolized in high school. Nikole has a breathtaking ability to capture a mom ent in words or on film, to convey its essence in the most lyrical way. It makes me happy see the world through her eyes. She (and her father) also make the most beautiful things.

Do you have any advice for keeping a blog interesting for readers?

With so many other sites out there, it is easy to become self-conscious about your work and consequently try to change to suit trend or the next big thing. But if that’s not genuinely what what moves you, your readers will notice. Always. Having a strong sense of what you’re about, or even just what you’re not about, that’s the best thing I think.

If you’re honestly enthusiastic about something, chances are your readers will be too.

What have been the most positive aspects of publishing a blog for you?

The chance to be a part of so many amazing communities; it’s a wonder u to experience the interconnection of various disciplines, from food to design to art to writing. The exchange of ideas between those worlds, the way they overlap and shape each other, it’s brilliant to see.

I have met friends I never would have known otherwise, and it is a gift to know people whose work consistently floors me. It’s enabled me to grow creatively to an exponential degree, more than I could have ever imagined.

What do you find to be the greatest challenges and rewards of having a creative profession? How do you maintain a healthy work/life balance?

Encouraging a constant flow of creativity. There’s always a moment of terror when you wonder if one day you will wake up and have nothing to say. It’s just me and the page, and if I lose that relationship, I’m done.

I try not to give too much thought to those monsters under the bed, and remind myself that wh en I’m the most present in my life - paying attention to the details and not getting too caught up in things, that’s when I’m at my best in both my life and my work.

What would you most like to accomplish in the upcoming year?

As for my creative projects, I am lucky to be in a good place right now. I simply hope to continue. Not overthink things, not burden myself with expectation. I want to move forward with a sense of possibility, keeping myself open to opportunities as they may come.

It’s plan that’s empowering and utterly terrifying at the same time.

Do you have any personal New Year’s resolutions for 2010?

I think I could always say “write more, read more, explore more.” That’s my yearly hope. I can be shy at times, I’d like to work on that.

Thank you Tara! Your beautiful photographs, your articulate voice, and your delicious recipes are always a joy!

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