We recently arrived back from an Asian excursion that had us visiting Japan, Thailand and China. Along the way we snapped a ton of photos and decided to present a few blog entries detailing some themes that only became apparent when we started digging through the shots.
This "Green Theme" collection was shot throughout Tokyo and Kyoto. Japanese Gardens are spellbinding - lush yet never overwrought, the gardens are assembled with a meticulous hand and nothing is left to chance. These Gardens offer an area of tranquility amidst the large bustling urban areas.
Although we were only gone for two weeks, we were pleased to get back to our own Garden which doubled in size while we were away. Inspired by what we saw in Japan, our inner horticulturalist couldn't wait to get back digging in the dirt. Hopefully our selection of photos will inspire you too.
We recently discovered the work of Andy Grellmann, a Vancouver based photographer, thanks to social media site Instagram. His photos remind us of why we love the Pacific Northwest - it's easy to lose sight of how close the beauty is when you're hunkered down in the city working away. With the trails drying off and the nights getting warmer, Andy's photos are sure to inspire you towards the great outdoors. We sat down with Andy to find out more about his work:
Your images remind us of how beautiful the PNW is. It's sometimes easy to forget that we live in such an amazing environment. How often do you get out to enjoy it?
My family owns a cabin in Whistler in a quieter part of the town, and so I was fortunate to have that access and opportunity growing up. My backyard is basically a giant mountain. I'm also fortunate to have some good friends with cabins in other parts of BC. I try and get out to a cabin setting at least once a month. When the city vibe isn't doing it for me, I'll usually head as far west as I can to get away from the noise.
What's been your favourite local spot to go to for recreation?
Pacific Spirit Park, Lighthouse Park, Lynn Valley. They're amazing when it's raining. I'm a huge fan of Spanish Banks, Wreck Beach, and Stanley park in the summer.
Is there anything in particular you dream of shooting?
I really like documenting stories, particularly people working with their hands. If I could find something like that, with a bit more meaning and tradition and emotional investment to it, I'll be all over it.
Do you have a particular camera of choice?
I shoot film predominantly, and until recently my camera of choice has been a 1980's Bronica SQ-A. I picked up a beautiful Hasselblad 500C/M a month ago, which is certainly now the one I reach for. I also use a couple of Nikon F series SLR's for 35mm film.
What's one of your favourite photos that you have taken?
I get bored of my own photographs very quickly. But one that sticks, probably more because of the memory it evokes, is a shot of a couple of empty canoes tied to a make shift dock during sunrise, while the fog is being burnt off. It's a good reminder of a beautifully peaceful moment, and the value of a quiet mind. (see attached).
We discovered your work through your instagram feed - what do you like about that media site? Does it inform your photographs or detract from them?
Instagram for me has been primarily about community and connecting with other people. I've discovered incredible artists and made friends through that app. I don't think it detracts from my photography, but I don't think it necessarily reflects one's ability as a photographer. There are a lot of trends and gimmicks on there that are fun and interesting, and the square format lends itself to visual balance and symmetry, but I rely on photography books for inspiration. Like Fred Herzog, Sam Abell, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and Vivian Maier. I just picked up a great book by Mike Brodie as he train hops through the US. Have you seen it? It's beautiful work.
Haven’t seen the book yet, but his work is awesome. Do you have any upcoming travel plans?
I'll be heading back to a nearly century old cabin in Northern British Columbia in a month or so. London, UK, after that to spend time with my brother. Japan later in the year hopefully.
Recently we had a giveaway contest on our Instagram for Dave's Coffee Syrup - a sweet and nutty coffee infused syrup from Rhode Island that tastes amazing in a variety of applications from desserts to marinades. The only catch was that the winer had to get creative and present their recipe back to us on Instagram.
One winner, Issha Marie, went all out and posted a full recipe on her blog. She was also nice enough to drop a batch off at the store and they were gobbled up pretty quick. Here's Issha's recipe below, inspired by her Grandmother, for Orange-Hazelnut Latte Yema:
optional: add 3 dashes of Orange-Juniper bitters OR Denman bitters (from Bittered Sling, Kale & Nori – a Canadian food and catering company)
1) Roast hazelnuts lightly on a frying pan. Watch the hazelnuts carefully – once it browns slightly, remove and transfer to a sheet pan to cool.
2) Grind cooled hazelnuts in food processor. Set aside.
3) Zest orange. Set aside.
4) In a non-stick pan, melt butter over high heat, but do not let it turn brown. Once it starts to bubble, add a tin of condensed milk to the pan. Keep stirring with your rubber spatula until you see signs of the sugar in the condensed milk start to solidify.
5) Reduce heat to medium. Take pan off heat and add egg yolks slowly, stirring constantly (this is known as tempering the eggs), to avoid a scrambled egg mush. Stir until silky smooth. Bring back to heat and stir, stir, stir until it thickens into a custard-like thing, about 5-7 minutes.
6) Take off heat again. Add: zest, salt, Dave’s Vanilla Coffee Syrup, hazelnuts, bitters (optional). Return to heat and fold/stir. Take it off the heat once in a while when you see the custard start to solidify – this allows for a less gritty, much silkier caramel candy. The process is actually quite similar to making caramels, only with caramels, you do not have the constant ‘take off pan from heat, return pan to heat’ process (among other things).
7) Take pan off from heat, return pan to heat, for about thirty minutes, whilst stirring and folding, UNTIL the mixture reaches a taffy-like consistency, or when the mixture can be brought to one side of the pan and is able to stand on its own. Put a little more butter over the mixture, fold and stir, then, transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper to cool until it’s okay to touch, but still warm.
8) To wrap: simply cut 3 x 3-inch squares of parchment paper and measure a teaspoon of the cooled dulce de leche caramel. Roll with your hands, place on parchment wrapper, and twist both ends to look like candy. You can store these candies in the fridge to lengthen the shelf life, or place in a cool, dry, humid-free spot in your apartment/house/loft/etc. These candies will not last long though, and are quite addictive – just saying.
We now have three flavours of Dave's Coffe Syrup in stock - pick up a bottle and get creative!
The best part about Spring releases is that you get to read them outside, so pick up a copy on your way to your favourite park. Here's a quick look at some of the images found within - click on a photo to find out which magazine it's from.
The Hill-Side Spring Collection has just arrived at the shop. Crafted in Brooklyn, the team at The Hill-Side sources Japanese textiles in an interesting mix of fabrics and patterns that will elevate any wardrobe.
The Spring Collection includes beautiful linen florals, solid double indigo cloths and selvedge edged chambrays: no matter the occasion, you'll easily find a smart choice from our selection. You can shop the collection here.