Gathre Creatives ft. Marianne Brown of W Design Collective
1. How do you create art? Give us your elevator pitch for what you offer to the world. What mediums do you like to use, what is your style, just give us the low-down as if we haven’t already been obsessed with you for a while now.I am an interior designer who is as passionate about architecture as I am about the interiors of a home. My thing is thoughtful, timeless design and designing with integrity, which means that I think about the “why” behind every design decision and I don’t care much for trends but rather about reflecting the character and values of my clients while staying true to historical and architectural styles.I both hand draw and use computer programs to draw my designs. I am very visual and experiential in my design process, meaning I want to see and feel the spaces/textiles/materials we are designing and using in a home.
2. “The art of living is more like wrestling than dancing.” Marcus Arelius. This was one of our favorite quotes. We find beauty in the hard times. Share your thoughts on this, and give our followers an insight into a time when you were wrestling with life.The part of this quote that really resonates with me is the first part - “the art of living” - which is my personal mantra. I believe there is an art to living and it definitely is more like a wrestling match - Marcus is absolutely right about that! I wrestle with balance in life more than anything else. I can easily get lost in the doing and forget about just being. I was raised to think that I am only valuable if I am doing something or contributing to the world in an obvious way. I’ve worked hard through therapy, reading books, and lots of hard conversations (and wrestling with myself) to accept myself as I am, and to really embrace the fact that just being a human BEING is enough, I don’t need to be a human-doing. The more I embrace that fact the more I enjoy the artful, beautiful part of living.
3. What are your earliest memories in making life art? How do you remind yourself to find beauty in the everyday during this phase of your life?
My earliest memories of making art was when I was 7 or 8 and I loved to draw and write. I had lots of notebooks that I would doodle in as I watched TV (The Smurfs, He-Man. Sesame Street - you know all the great shows from the 80s). The notebook was filled with doodles of anything and everything - characters, trees, suns, animals, etc. and mixed in were random words that I would hear on tv and write down stylistically - some in bubble letters, some cursive, etc. I’m sure there was a Stussy S in every notebook (if you know, you know).
I remind myself to find beauty in the everyday phase of my life through just being present and mindful in the moment. I am a big fan of Thich Nhat Hahn, a Buddhist monk, and have read a lot of his books. He gives many examples of how to be present in the moment and mindful of how connected we are to each other, the earth, and everything around us. He gives an example in one of his books about how when we wash dishes we can think of how the water we are using came from the clouds, into the rivers, down the mountain and how amazing it is that through the ingenuity of men it can come directly to my house and out the spout. Everything we do during a day can be an opportunity to connect in a meaningful way to the world around us. Obviously I am not always in this state of mind, but taking the time to just take a deep breath, reset my mind to the here and now, and really be present no matter what is going on is my way of finding beauty in the everyday.
4. Speaking of art, do you have any favorite artists? If you’re not an art person, what inspires you to create? Tell us more.Oh how I love art and artisans. I recently commissioned a painting through local artist Colby Sanford and love it so much he will always have a special place in my heart. Other favorites are local artists like Brian Kershisnik, Brad Overton, and Holly Addi. I also have a thing for vintage mid-century art and impressionist art. I also love a great black and white sketch. Being an interior designer I am also very inspired by the artisans that make our custom furniture and custom finishes in our homes, like local carpenter Scott Shiba or Michael Rogers who hand-carved my marble fireplace mantel, or Kim Sayers who does the most beautiful hand-carved stair railings.
5. We see our products as forms of art themselves. How do you see Gathre products as art in your home? Whether it’s a tapestry, poster, cushion, or mat. Tell us how they bring art and elevation to your life.The beauty of Gathre products is how thoughtfully they are created. The way they marry form + function is so great. My favorite is the tablecloth because it creates a beautiful clean slate for mess and creativity to happen without worry and it doesn’t compromise my designs but rather compliments them, which for such a practical product is very rare. I personally love the soft neutral colors you offer because they are both pretty and timeless and I can dress it up and layer on top or leave it as is for a more casual look.
6. We’ve been thinking a lot about having a few elevated pieces rather than a bunch of stuff, when it comes to home, clothing, everything. Any advice on how to appreciate quality over quantity?I could go on for days about this very subject. I can’t stress enough how much more satisfying life is when you save up or wait to find the more curated, quality pieces that you love rather than just buying “stuff”. My mom died 13 years ago when I was 25, which is when I really began to truly appreciate the quality things she had purchased that I now have that remind me of her. I am not a hoarder, but I really love sentimental items, like my blessing dress that I wore and my daughter wore and it will still be in good condition for her daughter (one day hopefully) because it was a handmade, quality dress. I have furniture, art, and jewelry from my mom that I cherish. Not all of it is expensive per se, but all of it is made from quality, solid materials and the art is original, which I am so grateful that she invested in because they really have enhanced my life and helped me to feel her presence in my home.
7. Give us your take on the quote “To make living itself art, that is the goal.”I often say that we all have to make a hundred tiny decisions throughout a day, like what to wear, buy, eat, read, listen to, who to spend our time with, how to spend our time, etc., we might as well put thought and effort into all of those decisions so we can curate the life we want rather than just having life happen to us. That is the art of life - creating our life with a lot of thought and intention. It’s a harder way to live, but a more meaningful way to live - there truly is an “art to living” and that is what it is to me.
8. We fell head over heels over your house during our SS21 shoot. Every detail felt intentional and so beautifully executed. What are some of your favorite corners/details of the home that bring meaning to you and your family?Thank you! That is the best compliment I could ask for. My favorite spot in my house is the library. I love that there is nothing to do in there but sit and read and be still. There isn’t a desk or a TV - just a comfy chaise and our books and the leftover art that I arranged into an eclectic gallery wall and intend to grow over time. I also love the breakfast nook in our kitchen - we spend 90 percent of our time as a family there eating, watching TV, and doing homework. And the curved staircase and the walnut paneled vestibule in the entry. It’s such a beautiful place to walk into everyday.
9. Your art is clearly tied to creating spaces. Our mission here at Gathre is to make space for the worthwhile. How do you incorporate the idea of making space for what matters in your design?I always ask clients how they live and what they value as a family because you are absolutely right - making space for the the things that matter most is the most important objective for me as an interior designer and you as a product designer. That is why I am so passionate about both the architecture and the interior details. If you create the right spaces and flow in a home it will dictate how you live and can elevate your everyday. I mentioned my favorite room being my library...I have read and written more this year than I have in the past because I have a space dedicated to doing just that and it’s made a big difference and brought a lot of joy to me. Never underestimate the power of “if you build it, it will come”.
10. You have a piece of artwork over your fireplace that drew us in. A custom painting of your girls — how does art influence your design?
I love that you noticed that art piece - it’s the best investment I have ever made. Art influences me in so many ways - I can just look at a painting, a piece of fabric, a rug, or a tile sample and imagine an entire home design based off just that one piece. Art, color, texture, the feeling those things evoke inspires everything. I can’t really explain it - I just see it all come together, I guess that one person’s creation inspires another creation. They feed each other, we all inspire each other.