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I don’t have a smartphone, but thanks to an incredibly generous boyfriend I get to instagram to my heart’s desire! Favorites tend to include food and fashion. Can you blame me?

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creative masters: jeanée ledoux of finely crafted

While I enjoy sharing the struggles and triumphs of my own life, I thought it might do everyone well to start exploring the lives of others who are also striving to manifest their dreams. I’ve decided to entitle this interview series “Creative Masters” because all of these individuals have mastered the art of forging their own paths and are a great inspiration to me (and hopefully you too). They listen to their inner selves and are willing their unique visions of grandeur into reality. I’ve had the extraordinary privilege of coming across so many talented creative professionals in the past few years and I’m so excited to be sharing with you how they came to be the amazing pathfinders they are today.

Atlanta is so pleasantly filled to the brim with extraordinary people who make it their life goal to enhance your visual living experience. Jeanée Ledoux, of Finely Crafted, is exactly one of those people. She and I met through the blogosphere and I was immediately enchanted by all the colorful and charming goods her store has to offer. After finally meeting her in person, I knew I had to do this wonder woman justice by sharing her awesome story on T&B. Jeanee is one of those girls you’d love to have in your friend group because even upon first meeting (an impromptu one at that) she is so lovely and easygoing. Not to mention she obviously could decorate your house at the drop of a hat. Jeanée opened Finely Crafted less than a year ago (seriously) and is already making her mark among the ranks of the awesome. If you don’t have a chance to check out Finely Crafted at Paris On Ponce, do not fret. Finely Crafted is officially going online in September of this year!.. Just in time to make our holiday season that much merrier.

Jeanee Ledoux of Finely Crafted

Describe Finely Crafted in three sentences.

Finely Crafted is a cheerful destination for home decor, gifts, and personal accessories inspired by modernism and mid-century kitsch. My boutique supports independent artists and small companies who pour their hearts into their creations, many of which are handmade. The Finely Crafted blog delivers store updates and artist info, but it’s also a source for DIY projects and a community that celebrates the craft movement and modern design.

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

It’s a delightfully curated store for sure! Tell me more about your background and how it led you to this.

I’ve been hot and heavy with the craft movement since 1999, when I took my first job as an editorial assistant at Storey Books in North Adams, Mass. We published DIY books on cooking, gardening, sewing, etc., and I’d spend lunch breaks poring over projects and dreaming of writing my own craft book one day. In 2005, after several years of thrifty decorating projects in a few apartments, I wrote “Abode a la Mode: 44 Projects for Hip Home Decor,” published by Sterling. “ReadyMade” magazine was new, and book publishers seemed to be scrambling to find young makers with a fresh point of view on crafts. That same year, my sister Suzanne and I founded Honeydoux jewelry, which featured vintage buttons and stones. We got into several boutiques and sold directly at craft markets, which gave me some merchandising practice. In 2009 I designed the projects for the DVD “Re-Construct: Eco-Friendly Crafts Made Easy,” co-hosted by Garth Johnson of Extreme Craft and produced by Eyekiss Films. All my crafting seemed to hover around hobby status, financially speaking, so I took a break in 2011. I stayed involved in the handmade community by volunteering at craft shows, like ICE, and supporting makers I admire. I began thinking of myself as a craft cheerleader rather than a crafter, but I knew I wouldn’t be content on the sidelines for long. Last summer I felt drawn toward retail, so I made an “If I had a store” Pinterest page. I made a casual inquiry at Paris on Ponce and showed my page to one of the owners, and I had a signed contract for my own mini-boutique just a few days later!

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

Wow. You’ve had quite a journey! What gave you the courage to make the leap to begin Finely Crafted?

I’ve never been afraid of starting businesses — Finely Crafted is my third! Renting booth space at Paris on Ponce is a low-risk way to dip my toe into the retail pond and see whether I like it. I do need to give myself lots of pep talks, though, to feel confident about designing the store. I’m not an artist and have very little merchandising experience, so I can spiral into heart-wrenching “who am I to do this . . . ?” thoughts. Having a space that hundreds of people judge every week makes me feel quite vulnerable! I’ve always been a fast learner and hard worker, though, so in the end I trust that I’ll scrape together enough know-how and style to be successful.

I know how you feel about being vulnerable. But your love for the work of the artists you represent obviously shines through. Who’s your current fave among the Finely Crafted artists and why?

I’m crazy about Leah Duncan! Her wall art and home decor (I carry prints, tea towels, and pillows) are inspired by diverse genres — from impressionism to Scandinavian folk art — but the patterns and colors are always distinctly her. There’s a joyful, dynamic movement to her drawings. For example, the paddle cactus on her tea towel looks like it’s dancing. Her oh-so-50s colors are some of my personal favorites, like sea foam, peachy pink, and goldenrod. Leah and I are collaborating on limited-edition prints that will be sold by Finely Crafted only, beginning this fall. I’m so excited and grateful that an established artist I admire is willing to take a risk on a retail rookie!

Finely Crafted in Paris On Ponce, Atlanta GA

I can’t wait to see them! I doubt anyone could call you a rookie of any kind with the life experience you’ve had and the collaboration sounds perfect. The craft and DIY movement is very hip right now. How do you set yourself apart from others like you, yet still remain relevant? 

paris in atlanta

Sometimes I fall into the delusional trap of thinking I’ve seen it all. Seen all the places, eaten all the food, roamed all the markets. As much as I try to convince myself that sitting at home on the weekends is the best course of action, it just isn’t true. There is just too much to be found out there in our wonderful city and even the things you think you know can surprise you. Case in point: Paris On Ponce.

antiques and boutiques at Paris on Ponce | Atlanta

antiques and boutiques at Paris on Ponce | Atlanta

I used to go to Paris on Ponce pretty frequently when I first moved here to ogle the mass amount of antiques (not gonna lie, also because they so adorably laid out cookies and lemonade too), but had fallen off the wagon due to the fact that I could never take home the secondhand furniture I coveted. A chance whim took me back there recently and I was stunned at all the changes that had taken place, in a very good way.

Paris on Ponce | Atlanta

Paris on Ponce is now Paris on Ponce & POP Marché. Still housing a crazy amount of antique treasures, but now also home to unique vignette boutiques filled with home goods from various vendors and curators from around the city. And here I was, thinking it couldn’t get any better! Every booth is like a miniature world with a landscape abundant with patterns, texture, and color.

antiques and boutiques at Paris on Ponce | Atlanta

Kitchen Papers at Paris on Ponce | Atlanta

antiques and boutiques at Paris on Ponce | Atlanta

Despite my best efforts, I didn’t manage to make it out empty-handed.

pattern play

Thanks to the flourishing film industry in Atlanta, I’ve gotten the chance to make a few bucks on the side by doing extra work on tv shows and films. It’s not as exciting as it sounds, but all the sitting around gives me a chance to play with some pen and paper. Perhaps someday soon I’ll get to see these come to life! Do you like this pattern? What would you like to see it on?

geo pattern by Christina Kwan

iman

artist Iman Person

Iman works at the art gallery where I first began my journey here in Atlanta. She wasn’t hired immediately after we interviewed her, but she was always lingering in the back of our heads. She exudes a quiet and graceful beauty that sneaks up on you and stays. I try to visit the gallery for every opening night and at the last one, Iman looked completely stunning (in that subtle way she has). Her pairing of white jeans with this sheer shirt-dress is just the best.

artist Iman Person

Completely elegant casual. It’s no surprise that she not only dresses beautifully, but creates beautifully as well. Her sculptures and drawings are as delicate and earthly as her fashion style reflects. These are some of my favorite pieces of hers:

drawing by Iman Person

the industrial organic

I’ve lived in Atlanta for about three years now so you can imagine how many art festivals and markets I’ve been to. After a while, everything starts to look the same to me. Not in a bad way – just in the fact that I’ve seen all the local vendors already. Thankfully, I was recently and pleasantly proven wrong when I stumbled upon MDC Interiors at ARTlantis.

concrete planter by MDC Interiors in Atlanta | tide & bloom

concrete succulent planters by MDC Interiors in Atlanta | tide & bloom

In their sweet and humble booth full of tiny treasures, I met the warm and ever-so-lovely Mona Patel. She and her partner, Mike, began MDC Interiors to craft custom objects that are visually striking as well as beneficial for the environment. While I didn’t get to see their furniture pieces (due to the limited amount of space), I absolutely fell in love

lovin that kudzu

Atlanta holds so many treasures that I forget all the different places to find them. Usually it takes an out-of-town visitor for me to recognize the things I fell in love with when I first moved here. A great example of that is Kudzu in Decatur (not technically Atlanta, but close enough).

Antique glassware at Kudzu in Decatur, Atlanta | tide and bloom

vintage market Kudzu in Decatur, Atlanta | tide and bloom

Kudzu is full to the brim with vendor stalls holding things like antique treasures, mid-century modern, vintage toys, and more. I seem to always find something to take home with me whenever I go, but that’s probably because I’m good at rationalizing utility for random vessels.

vintage market Kudzu in Decatur, Atlanta | tide and bloom

Not quite sure what’s wrong with me, but I’m just obsessed with collecting vases, cups, plates, etc! Maybe it’s a way for me to compensate for not being able to purchase the larger furniture I covet. 

sweet summer style

The idea of a style post scares the hell out of me. While I’ve always loved fashion (wearing and coveting), I’m so much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. Thankfully there’s no shortage of cutie-pies in my life to showcase and posting pictures of my friends will help me feel less awk about posting pictures of myself. First up is Kylie!

Kylie's Summer Style | Crop Top and High-Low Skirt

Kylie is a brave and beautiful girl I know back from my ol’ college dancing days. We used to spend most of our time together figuring out West African dance moves or shakin’ our rumps on stage. She’s already a success at the tender age of 22 because she’s strong, independent, and knows what she wants out of life. Her style reflects exactly this – always poised and pretty, with a little bit of fun flair mixed in. Kylie said her inspiration for this outfit was Carrie Bradshaw (whose isn’t?) and I was basically ready to steal this crop top right off her back.

Christina's Summer Style: Lasercut High-waisted Skirt | tide & bloom

head to toe: sunglasses / necklace / tankskirt / shoes

Though I was cringing editing these photos so graciously taken my patient boyfriend, I know that it’s healthy for me to put these out there.

mini hiatus

To those of you who have been following my blog/facebook/tumblr/etc, thank you SO much for your support. It’s been great to receive all the words of encouragement and to connect with others going through similar life experiences.

As much as I love sharing my adventures in Atlanta, I’m going to cool it on the posts for about two weeks and see what happens when I just focus on drawing and living life. I really do enjoy blogging and all the social media that comes with it, but there are times when I feel like I’ve become too disconnected to actually experiencing what is going on around me. I’ve been spending too many minutes thinking about hashtags, content, followers, and the like.

Palmetto-Tracks-1

I’ve been taking it slow with the whole art thing, but it deserves my full attention, even if only for a short period of time. The plan is to allow myself to get sort of lost in the process and see what happens. Hopefully, I’ll end up with a new little collection to share with you!

Thanks again for checking in and stay tuned to see what unfolds next…

 

may daze

This month has gone by way too fast. The older I get the more convinced I am that time is speeding up. That being said, let me take some time to share these moments from some wonderful memories made in May.

Kirkwood Spring Fling

Kirkwood-Spring-Fling-4a

Free fun? Who can say no! This was one of my favorite festival-type events to date. Not for any singular reason, but just because it felt so perfectly simple. It was small yet held a lot of quality vendors and I enjoyed getting acquainted with the Kirkwood area. The food stars of the day were Nectar and Atomic Ice Cream Sandwiches. Again, who can say no?

Kirkwood-Spring-Fling-5a

Chai Pani

Finally got a chance to sample the Indian street food delight in Decatur. While I definitely enjoyed what I ordered (kale pakoras and a mango lassi), I walked away still feeling hungry. The menu is set up in a tapas style and so the best way to go is with a huge group. All in all, it was quick and easy, but not the best option for just two. Side note – I was completely enchanted by the vintage Bollywood movie posters on the walls.

Chai-Pani-Decatur-Atlanta-2

Robert L. Staton Rose Garden

Nestled right next to Fernbank Museum of Natural History, I’ve driven past this garden for three years and only discovered it because my mom pointed it out from the road. Best of all is that it’s free and open to the public every day!

Fernbank-Rose-Staton-Garden-27a