Category Archives: amber guidry

Unearth NOLA With Brandi Couvillon From Waregarden Studio

Text and collage by Amber Guidry

Art can sometimes inspire motivation, excitement, even happiness in my personal life.  Sometimes it makes me wonder…who gave the three year old a paintbrush?? Either way my mind can get lost imagining how the creation of each piece unfolds. Usually it intrigues me to question the journey that inspires each artist “to create”.

The journey of Waregarden Studio’s Brandi Couvillion has led her to dig tunnels that could possibly cave in around her, to un-nest a flying New Orleanian roach colony, to scale the mountains of Peru in hopes of uncovering a remnant from the past. Ok so maybe not Peru but who’s to say its not on her bucket list of exploratory sites.


In Brandi’s own words, “Wrenching up history from the ground and reassembling it into something expressing the decaying grandeur and melancholy of New Orleans is what I strive for…” Read on below for the personal inspiring journey of the artist and owner of Waregarden Studio.

The mixed media artwork and jewelry lines of New Orleans local, Brandi Couvillion is currently available at various galleries and museums, including the New Orleans Museum of Art, as well as the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s Southern Craft and Design later this month.


“My adventure of delving into the past, into the privies/outhouses of our ancestors, technically begins with a 5-6 foot metal probe, testing the ground below to determine what may lie there. I often can’t help myself but to just start digging the hard, impacted earth recklessly with the most fervent passion.  It is one of the only times when I feel at one with the universe and in deep meditation.

Obviously, the closer to the historic neighborhoods of New Orleans, the more likely you are to find objects of desire. Being practically on the Saulet Plantation grounds, I thought I might have some good fortune for my interests, which are vast. In my own expansive backyard (in a historic district) we probed the majority of it. My hard-core diggers (who have done it for 40+ years) didn’t think we’d find anything of the pre-Civil War. They are mostly interested in old bottles, which I love, but I find excitement in old ceramic pipes, hand painted ceramic marbles, porcelain doll parts – really anything that will tell a tale of that land and its previous inhabitants.

We had come across three layers of courtyards in digging the pond – old, soft red brick, then flagstone and finally new brick from all over the country. I continued to dig a few feet down and started pulling up more flagstone (which had initials carved into it – how romantic!) and, of course, brick.  Soon, I had burrowed a tunnel about a yard wide and several yards long, maybe about 3 feet down. We called it the tiger trap because it was right by the shed and quite a dangerous location with only my handmade bamboo covering on top of the initial hole.  Soon, the pond was threatening to collapse, so I started burrowing in the other direction.  Unfortunately, there are some frightening things down there – being trapped in a hole that could collapse as you freak out from the huge cockroach nest you just disturbed!

During my digging, I eventually fell into a time where I was literally fingering through every handful of dirt – every single piece of the past would be felt.  Most of the time people sift through this, but it was more personal to me.  I wanted to see every hand cut nail tossed out, each piece of decorative ceramic tile that once adorned the fireplaces, indications of when they restored the plaster (large lumps poured into the earth as if it was a mold), or when they removed the coved ceilings in certain rooms.  

In the harshest of summer weeks, I would take a break from digging and it was then that I noticed the beautiful fern that grew in the moist, cooler burrow. I’ve saved some of it to dry and I use it now on my new line, Ephemera, which embosses antique laces from items worn to shreds and botanicals from special places in my life and in the world. The most unusual thing I found in my own backyard was a bone toothbrush (without bristles, of course) that has “France” engraved on it!  

But my all time biggest find, in my nostalgic mind, was what ultimately turned out to be 100 Pre and Victorian shoes/boots.  They were mostly shoe soles, as the leather is quickly eaten away, but I still found the harder leather soles and wooden heels intact. I did, however, find a few baby “boots” with the amazing Victorian design and buttons up the side. Among this, I’ve found the most elegant porcelain plates/basins, etc., a New Orleans luxury tax token, tiny porcelain tea sets and numerous doll parts, to only name a few. The privies were very caustic when they were active, some 100-200 years ago, so things broken down very quickly, but these musty, insect ridden shoe soles are probably some of the most meaningful to me.  Was it a cobbler who just threw the shoes he couldn’t repair in the back?  How have some of them remained intact? I actively use them in my Assemblages, as to me the Soles represent the Souls before us…

I am ecstatic to be unveiling a brand new jewelry line using the porcelain shards – Privy’s Porcelain – which incorporates the most elegant 1800’s patterns into my designs from some of the most stunning china manufacturing companies. Interestingly, a large amount seem to be traced back to England. And I have found some of the same patterns in completely different neighborhoods!

It is compelling to look at the translucency, design detail and accuracy of these pieces – scenes of the most exotic countrysides filled with animals and even people in 1800’s dress adorn these precious pieces of the past.

I believe The Past is Present….in every way you can interpret it… I am tremendously excited to be able to share these experiences with everyone.”


Brandi Couvillion
The Waregarden Studio
1221 Annunciation St.
New Orleans, LA 70130
(504) 717-1433
waregarden@gmail.com
www.waregardenstudio.com


Be sure to sign up for Brandi’s blog updates and gallery showings on her website at http://www.waregardenstudio.com/contact.html

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STORYLAND DRESSING! An Interview with Threadbeat




Hey there Slow Southern Style readers! The weather in New Orleans has been crazy… “Hey, it’s nice outside.”
“OMG! When did it get so cold?”  
“It’s raining now?”
“What? It’s only 3PM!”
I’m wishing for those sunny Saturday trips to City Park to run around like a kid again. So what if I’m a grown up without any kids. I’ll borrow my nieces for the day and play dress up! Don’t you remember the feelings of freedom and carefree joy when walking into the Storyland Village in City Park? 
Threadbeat brings back those memories of a time where peter pan collars and ruffled slips where for every girl. She recreates the idea of Storyland dressing for the modern wardrobe. Great fitting garments and girlie charm in all the pieces she creates.
If you have a chance today go outside and smell the crisp fresh air, the nice breeze. Hey, why not go ahead and climb a tree or enjoy a picnic. If you’re stuck to a computer like “moi”self, read this interview with Rebecca from Threadbeat and check out her Etsy store for some Storyland dressing inspiration!
QnA with Rebecca at Threadbeat
What does Threadbeat do?
Threadbeat is a line of custom clothing that is made specific to an individual’s measurements. I try to take into consideration what areas of the body they feel most confident about, adjusting the design slightly to highlight that area, or to downplay another.
What’s your fashion/design philosophy? 
Keep things simple, and wear something that fits you.  If you dress the body that you have right now appropriately, versus dressing for the body that you would prefer or that you covet, you will ultimately feel the most confident, and project that confidence. 
How did you develop your design skills and personal style? 
I am basically self-taught as far as skills go, I grew up with my mom sewing quite a bit, but I don’t remember being taught. I must have just absorbed it somehow.  Growing up, I was raised on a really tight budget- every year we were allotted 2 pairs of pants and maybe a few shirts. I started thrift shopping when I was in 6th grade at ‘Keenagers’, an elderly run volunteer thrift shop on my walk home from school- this blew my mind right open- I was able to have things that nobody else had, for next to nothing- when I really liked something, I would make it fit.
 After I graduated college, I worked at a huge costume shop for a couple of years that mainly catered to theatrical productions, initially I worked the make up counter- then I moved on to costume rentals, alterations, and finally to pulling costumes for theater companies. This is where I really learned what sizes looked like- I became really adept at looking at a garment and generating the measurements within an inch- same goes with looking at a person.
When I moved to Savannah a little over 2 years ago, my friend taught me how to construct the basic pattern set, from there- I made it a point to make one thing per day- so I practiced a lot, now I can work really fast, without having to think about what I am doing- which helps.
What’s your go to outfit when you don’t know what else to wear?
I pretty much have 2 seasonal uniforms- this winter it has been straight cut jeans, red gingham cowboy shirt, with a light-weight wool Pendalton work shirt for warmth. I have worn a version of this all winter. As far as the lovely warm months, I have about 60 dresses all of a very similar cut that I will wear everyday. That is the beauty of having clothes that fit you; I never am at a loss for something to wear.
I read you live on a farm in Savannah, GA? Your sundresses seem perfect for the steamy summer days we have in the south. How does your style and clothing line reflect your life or your clients’ life?
I live on a small hobby farm about 10 minutes outside of downtown Savannah. My clothing is directly related to the steamy weather- I use a lot of classic cuts and styles that promote airflow, and breath-ability within garments. Natural fibers like cotton and linen help to wick away the sweat. I don’t think my clothing is weather specific, though- I am from Wisconsin originally, so if I have a client asking about a fall or winter dress, and they are from Maine- I will know to adjust things accordingly with a flannel lining and so forth.
Who or what do you draw your inspiration from when creating new patterns, picking fabrics, etc.?
I am still really inspired by my intensely beautiful, feminine surroundings; the wonder has not worn off yet.
What’s your hands down favorite thing you’ve ever made?
A really good sturdy beautiful wool backpack. 
What’s your favorite dress cut or design features?
Well, as you can probably tell by my shop- I really like a scoop neck and a fitted waistline- pockets on a dress are always good, too.
What do customers love most about your garments?
Probably my willingness to heed requests and listen to the customers input, after all they are the one who will wear the clothes.
I see a bunch of vintage fabrics, eco-friendly cottons and floral prints. Can you describe your ideal client or whom you design for? 
My ideal business situation would be a client base of 30 regular or bi-monthly customers that I am able to get to know, work with and exchange ideas with- if I have the confidence that I understand someone’s taste, my job and their shopping experience is so much easier. Right now I have a small group of regulars that I am getting to know, and if I see a fabric that one of my clients would love, I will buy it- usually my instinct is right, and they are happy to know that someone in the world that they only know through a computer was thinking about them.
These are just for fun…
What’s one item you owned as a kid you wish you could have now?
A yellow goggle flipper and snorkel set, just because I am not sure if I had dreamed that I owned it when I was little, or that I actually did. I just want to know the truth.
What movie would your wardrobe fit in best?
I immediately thought the ‘Sound of Music’, which is funny because I am positive that I have never seen it. I must have heard people say that somewhere down the line. I am going to put that on my Netflix queue right now.
Thanks Rebecca for showing us your inner workings and inspiration for your line Threadbeat! Hope you enjoy the Sound of Music!
All photos courtesy of Threadbeat. Words by Amber Guidry.

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Meet The Staff

By now you’ve probably noticed a few new voices on the site.  Slow Southern Style brought on six great interns this past January, and it’s been  fun to watch them settle into their roles here. Click through the page break to meet Amber, Brandy, Elizabeth, JelLyn, Meghan, and Miranda.  And don’t forget to click on their names to see what they’ve written so far!



I’m a Southern girl, bred and buttered. I have bounced around the region and most recently landed in lovely Louisiana. I have had an eye for fashion and a flair for the dramatic since I began putting on runway shows in my hallway at age 6. Film comes second to fashion for me, and often I find my style is influenced by what I’ve watched recently.


My name is  Miranda Humphrey and  I am not a native to the South, but I am definitely a local with ancestral roots. In fact I wouldn’t consider myself native to anywhere being that I grew up in the Air Force. I did however spend most of my youth in California and Nevada with some of my 20’s living throughout the Northwest before settling in Louisiana. 
My personal gumbo recipe is  a deep roux of culture and anthropology, then add unconventionality, appetite, adventure, and a dash of esoteric.  I’m definitely at home in New Orleans.
I don’t discriminate between Earth Tones and Day-Glo, High Life’s or French 75’s.
I love architecture in all things; clothes, buildings, music, food, words…
Anthony Bourdain and Anna Wintour are my personal heroes.
I’ve come to understand New Orleans and the South, as an infinite muse as well as a pragmatist’s achilles heel.
If I had to pick my last meal on Earth, it would be eggs benedict traditional, a heaping side of jumbo lump crab meat, and a giant mimosa.
My favorite patron saint is the New Orleans Saints. Who Dat!

Hi, I’m Amber!
A new homeowner and remodeler in the Garden District. A design lover and fashion style junkie. I have a love for textiles and great design..and New Orleans culture where I’m born and raised.
Here’s the A to Z of everything about me!
A. Age: 26
B. Bed size: Queen
C. Chore that you hate: vaccuming the rugs
E. Essential start to your day: H2O or grapefruit juice and my blogroll
F. Favorite color: Coral
G. Gold or Silver: I’m really loving gilver
H. Height: 5’3
I. Instruments you play: I can snap my toes to the beat of anything.
J. Job title: intern, coordinator, administrator, blogger, designer
K. Kids: three… Gigi a Cairn Terrier, Marley a Pit Lab Mix, and King Louie a Great Dane mix
L. Live: New Orleans, LA  – Garden District
M. Mother’s name: Brenda Ann
N. Nicknames: A Train, Toodah, Gal
O. Overnight hospital stays: yes when I was younger
P. Pet peeves: when I’m walking down the street and my purse makes my skirt or dress rise… so annoying
Q. Quote from a movie: “(whistles) Engine room! Where the hell’s my drink?” Dudley Moore as Arthur
R. Right or left handed: Rightie
S. Siblings: three brothers
T. Tattoos: a Saints Fleur de Lis i got a few days after Hurricane Katrina
U. Underwear: worn most of the time
V. Vegetable you hate: Pimento ugh!
W. What makes you run late: Not looking at the clock
X. X-Rays you’ve had: teeth a bunch, arm twice, wrist twice, hand once, ankle 2 times, knee once… I hope that’s all.
Y. Yummy food that you make: I cook a big pot of Chili when I go to my familys ranch in Amite. I’m also awesome at toast.
Z. Zoo animal: much rather the song but I guess da elepants axt me too. They’re my fav!


Well hi there darlin’! 
My name is Je’Llyn Morvant but many of the folks closest to me call me mama J. 
I’m a homegrown southern gal born and raised in Cajun Country. I spent my 20’s on the west coast in southern California where I studied fashion design, the beach, and late nights. I drove the cross country trip back to the bayou in my volkswagen van 8 months pregnant for my first, a bright, creative and motherly young lady bursting with attitude, Kaya Ruth. Though my journey in southern California may have not been complete my destiny cleared me a new path back home. 
I am a wife to a wonderful young man and a mother to two beautiful, strong spirited young children. For me it is indeed truth that inspiration is a driving force. I have a passion to create. Something. Anything. Inspiration motivates my day and my decisions. Inspiration is to my spirit what air is to my lungs, what blood is to my heart. The blog world is a nouveau way for me to collect my thoughts, my inspirations and our happenings. I began my virtual existence bayoubohemian.com when my youngest, a baby boy whom we named Sage Francis, was only 6 months old or so. We lived in a much smaller space then and the opportunity to spread out my supplies to work with jewels, metal, or cloth were near null. I was yearning for an outlet. Surfing the internet was an easy, choke hazard free escape with loads of inspiration lurking behind each click. I was going deeper and deeper into the abyss of visual inspiration while reading of other mothers and creators documenting their experiences, their inspirations and telling of their passions. I one day decided to create my own ‘journal’. My very own virtual place that stands as a reminder of where I have been and where I wish to go. A place that catalogs who I am today that I can reflect on tomorrow. A place that just may inspire another bohemian spirit juggling the challenges of motherhood and family while trying to nurture her own soul. 
Today is a new day. I have studio space to create and I am getting lots done, of course never enough, but lots none the less. I am a professional juggler, trying to accomplish many things at once always being distracted and pulled from the task at hand. But I am happy (most of the time). I am expressing myself creatively and I am getting involved with more things that help my spirit feel accomplished and up-to-good. Conquering some of my silly fears, letting go of what others may think and truly being myself. Discovering who that is exactly more each day. 
I am certainly pleased to be a part of Slow Southern Style and to introduce Lafayette to its stylish southern scene. We here Cajuns have a lot to show off. An unconventional aesthetic rich with culture and intrigue. Small town girls (and boys) with big style.
you can find me at 

I grew up in a small town in South Louisiana. I can be found in New Orleans on the weekends. I am looking forward to soon becoming a fulltime New Orleans resident. I am a student at University of Louisiana at Lafayette. I love shopping even I spend no money. I someday hope to open my own boutique. I love exploring New Orleans and finding new places to shop and eat. I am excited to begin blogging with Christy and discovering all the amazing talent around New Orleans and meeting new people.





I’m a college student with a major in English and International Studies.  I spent my junior year studying French abroad in Angers, France, and during that year I ate as many chocolate eclairs as possible.  A few things that I enjoy doing include baking cupcakes, reading books, and taking ballroom dancing lessons.  While I may not be the typical girl you might expect to be interested in fashion since my entire wardrobe fits comfortably in my tiny closet and I certainly never look like a runway model, I love the way that style is a form of personal expression.  At Slow Southern Style I’m looking forward to combining my interests in fashion and writing.

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Carnival Season Charms: Bygone Beads

There’s no better way to get in the Mardi Gras spirit than by checking out some truly unique and original jewelry from a local New Orleanian! Bygone Beads has the perfect accessories to make your entire carnival krewe jealous.
Designer Eileen Bevis-Bennett crafts one of a kind, southern New Orleans nostalgic charms and Czechoslovakian glass bracelets, earrings, necklaces, rings and ornaments – a perfect gift to pickup for the Mardi Gras hostess or ya momma and dem’.


Liven up your purple, green and gold this season with some new, old pieces to add to your parade-day-duds. You won’t be the first to hold on to these nostalgic charms and beads. Each piece comes attached with its own dance card explaining the story and history of its original purpose and design.

Locals may know the story of the original glass Mardi Gras beads, but here is a way you can share this tradition with your friends and family year round. You’re not gonna catch any of these one-of-a-kind charms on the neutral ground this year so check out the website and stock up!!
www.bygonebeads.com

Bygone Beads will include something extra special at purchase for all the Slow Southern Style readers when you mention the words “SOUTHERN LOVE” in the contact form. One pair of earrings from the A Piece of History Collection with each order. So definitely make it a priority to order something in time for Carnival Season!
xo,
AY
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Paint your Town Red on National Go Red Day

Slow Southern Syle is celebrating National Wear Red Day by participating in Go Red For Women.


Did you know that heart disease is the #1 killer of women?  According to the American Heart Association, more women die of heart disease than all forms of cancer combined. There are 8,000,000 women in this country alone that are suffering from heart disease! The sad reality is that 90% of women have at least one risk factor for developing heart disease, yet only 1 in 6 thinks it is a threat.


By wearing red today you can help raise awareness, so find your favorite lipstick, grab your trusty ol’ skirt,and paint your town red today. Since I look abysmal in any shade of crimson I asked for some help in celebrating. Why can I pull off red lips but not a red dress beats me.


Amber

My favorite red outfit is my go to DVF wrap dress, perfect for almost any NOLA function. And my favorite accessory is classic red nail polish.

For information on how to stay healthy, or how to donate please visit the American Heart Association’s website. So how are you celebrating today?

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