A Girl Named Leney

THE JOURNAL

I Wrote Today
shot with ektar 100 35mm film on almost-exactly-this day last year

shot with ektar 100 35mm film on almost-exactly-this day last year

i wrote today.
properly sat down and wrote.
sheepskin in lap, strong black coffee in reach.
long rushing, flowing paragraphs of tangled, jumbled vine-y thoughts, which became a little less entwined once translated into little orderly black characters of text.
and how good it felt.
i write on my phone a lot.
in my notes. in instagram captions. in far-reaching-grasping texts to loved ones.
however there is a lack of freedom sometimes in those outlets.
sometimes i just need to sit and let thoughts flow from my fingers in the way that writers always talk about is so cathartic for them. 
and too, the smallness of the phone’s keyboard and screen almost limits my language in comparison to the computers 10x larger one.

the tangibility of more space for translating thoughts lends to the extension of them.
(i know it isn’t really that way, but it feels so)

i do love writing by hand, and do that frequently too for i love the feel of paper, but for extended periods (no pun intended) of time i find it limiting. 
for my handwritten scrawl becomes less legible and hard to keep up with in regards to the speed of my fast cycling thoughts.
and while i have long strengthened muscles in my hands from knitting, using a different instrument, in the way of a pen, seems to produce cramps and aches where knitting needles do not. 
so i suppose i am not as good and frequenting that practice as i should be. 

i’ve been working on a story. 
one more so of documentation than fiction. 
though, knowing my tendency of over romanticization, there is, i am sure, a touch of fantasy and dreamed-up-ness intertwined.
it is a telling of a journey. 
of situations of mystery and unknown. 
terribly thrilling yet terrifying, though not singly so. 
there’s also feelings of wonder and joy and anticipation here in this too.
but it feels good.
good in that centering this-is-right way.


the above are words i wrote at the beginning of the month that i never shared, but coming across them again today i found them very much mirroring the state i am in today (something i seem to be doing a lot of lately, looking back on old writing... perhaps because i'm in such a state of figuring-out this season and revisiting old thoughts is helping me do that).
so i finally decided to publish them.

i'm trying to be better at publishing things as i write them, not letting them sit for so long before i share them.
though there are things that do need a little more time to pass before doing so, most of the time i feel my hesitency is out of fear of vulnerabilty.
so here's to fighting that in the future.
and here's to writing today.

30 Days of Slow Living Recap
www.agirlnamedleney.com

this is a recap, of sorts, of my 30 Days of Slow Living challenge i started last month!

towards the end of my 30 Days of Slow Living project, i didn't lose steam, however i did slack off in posting specifically as much about it. mostly because, for me, i found that a huge part of slow living is getting off of my phone.
so a lot of the things i was doing ended up un documented and just-for-me. which, to a certain extent, is something i'm always trying to find the balance of. 
the encouragement and inspiration that can be found in sharing beautiful things you find in life with others, but not to the extent that you are always living through a screen.  

but i did want to do a bit of a summery in regards to a few of things i did during these past 30 days and some ways i integrated slow living into my life, in some new ways and also some old and familiar ones. i don't have 30 in all, because, remember, some of those things ended up being just-for-me, but here's a few for you to chew over if you need some promptings and ideas of what it could look like to start living more slowly.

  • knitting for myself and not for work
  • keeping a little jar of lavender by my bed to smell off and on throughout the day for feelings of calm and clarity
  • walking more often to the tiny free libraries around richmond (which i've started to document here)
  • leaving screens behind and heading outside to read in the grass was the order of the day on more than one occasion
  • visiting The VMFA to take in a new exhibit 
  • spending a morning painting
  • taking a morning walk by the river with The Sailor, despite an impending busy day.
  • and then just ignoring responsibilities altogether one day and going sailing
  • spending a weekend, unplugged, with some very dear friends (in a yurt no less! lucky us, i know...)
  • opening a too-long-neglected book
  • learning how to develop and print my own film in a darkroom (finally) i've started to chronicle this adventure under #thedarkroomdiaries (of course...)
  • adopted some new plant babies to take care of
  • writing some letters and postcards to some special people
  • paused to admire the changing light and shadows that the coming of Spring brings
  • buying myself a bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner just because
  • taking time to practice extra yoga in the morning
  • breakfast and a book in a detox bath (i think this may have been the first time i took a bath in the morning. usually that's an end-of-the-day thing you know? it was such an excellent way to start the day though)
  • setting the intention to start my mornings s l o w. enjoy the coming in of the morning light. making healthy breakfasts. reading a book before starting work. putting on some calm and inspirational music. it's made such an immense difference in the consistency of my days
  • spun some yarn
  • calling friends more instead of texting them. just all around being more intentional in my communication
  • cleared out a cluttered corner and made it pretty
  • just stepping away from everything and taking a walk (this happened on several days. really need to maintain this. i feel so much more present after a walk outside)

as i said on instagram on my last post, i want the #30daysofslowliving hashtag to be a constant thing, not just for this past one-time 30 day time period. 
i want you guys to jump in on it whenever you are feeling the need to re-set, and be able to get a little bit of accountability in regards to living more mindfully and intentionally if you need it.
i know that i myself can foresee doing another 30 days later this year after the rush of summer gets going and sweeps me up, as it is known to do.

so if you want to have a conversation about these sorts of ideas and concepts, i will definitely be checking the hashtag from time to time to check in with all you wonderful people!
you can also always email me, which a lot of you guys have been doing lately and makes me so incredibly happy. i have loved the conversations we've been having and talking to all of you passionate and purposed filled people.
let's keep it up.

xo

Comfort

there are things that we find comfort in.
something that i think we most often find comfort in is familiarity. 
things that we know. 
things we find reassurance in because of their known-ness. 
often these things come in the forum of places. 
and i think that that’s my favorite sort of comfort.
comfort in a place. 
a place i know. 
a place i can close my eyes and run my hand over and still see. 

//

a piece i wrote on November 9th 2014 and still rings true for me today, over two years later.

Know Yourself

revisiting words from autumn 2015 today. 
it's startling how relevant pieces i wrote years ago, in a different place, in a different time, can still apply to knew places and new times. 
what a beautiful journey this life of mine is.
▼▼▼▼▼▼▼▼

i just want to remind you to know yourself.
and if you don’t feel like you know yourself, get to. 
spend time with you in varying situations and places and circumstances.
comfortable and uncomfortable.
alone. with people. with strangers. with friends. 
be honest about your loves and likes and dislikes.
stay true to them when you find them.
but also be okay with them evolving and changing with you as you evolve and change. 
don’t be ashamed of the quirks and inconsistencies and wrinkles and bumps and imperfections.
whether they be physical or emotional.
be unwavering in embracing who you are.
the world will notice that. it’s what’s most attractive about people.
the embracing of their whole entire selves, flaws and all.
the openness, rawness and realness of being intrinsically human. 
if you currently feel like that, open, raw, and in a state of mess and struggle, embrace it.
be there.
be all there.
because it’s beautiful.
and you’d be so much duller, flatter, and unattractive without those pieces of you.
because those pieces help refine and shape you into being a person worth knowing.  

Folkling Update

some new pieces are coming to Folking over the weekend so be sure to check out the instagram for them! in the mean time, here are some iphone snaps of some favorites from this past month.

also be sure to get on the actual instagram app, not just the web version, and follow the folkling instagram stories! i post a lot of videos on there of pieces i haven't even posted on the grid, as well as extra details of posted pieces. most of the sales have been moving through that truth be told, so be sure to keep up with it!

and to those of you who have already purchased something in Folkling's first official month of being: thank you
from the bottom of my heart.
it means so much to see this new venture's idea of giving forgotten things new homes and making at least a small dent in the need to buy less by buying what's already out there, one-of-a-kind, quality and timeless, resonating with people.
xo

also, there's a Folkling Facebook page now too!

//

my sweet friend Erica Dreybus is truly one of my favorite people to photograph and i have to give her a special shout out for modeling for these.
you may recognize her from past posts here and here and here.

 

I Dwell In Possibility

i read this poem recently, and it's theme is quite prevalent for me right now.
by which i mean, there is so much possibility swirling around these days and i am filled with anticipation in the witnessing and acknowledging of it


I dwell in Possibility — (#466)

by Emily Dickinson

 

I dwell in Possibility —

A fairer House than Prose —

More numerous of Windows —

Superior — for Doors —

 

Of Chambers as the Cedars —

Impregnable of eye —

And for an everlasting Roof

The Gambrels of the Sky —

 

Of Visitors — the fairest —

For Occupation — This —

The spreading wide my narrow Hands

To gather Paradise —

 

ArtLeney Art, quote, PoemComment
A New Direction
www.agirlnamedleney.com

so i meant to post this the same day i announced the new website being up, but wouldn't you know it i blinked and it's already over a week later...
but then i ended up wanting to share my New Perspective post first anyway. which i'd love for you to read, if you haven't already, to grasp a better understanding of where A Girl Named Leney is heading and what my heart for it is.

but yes friends, superb news. the new website is up! 
i wrote and deleted twice (or maybe three times) the following words, but i truly don't know how else to say that: i could not be more excited to finally share this new direction with you guys! 

today i wanted to go over some notable changes within my business to help you better understand where it is i'm going and what all of these new changes mean! 


Ventures


ventures are what i am calling the different components and pursuits that make up my business.
these will undoubtedly change and evolve as i too change and evolve as an artist.
(you can read about these on the ventures page here, but i wanted to give a little bit more in depth explanation of each one!)


FOLKLING — i have been a life-long thrifter. my mother took me when i was young and i remember the excitement of finding treasures of varying kinds to give a new home to.
she's truly the one who's taught me the value and beauty in giving things new life
it was also my first introduction to shopping and learning to spend my money wisely.

as i've found and made spaces of my own over the years, one of my favorite things has been curating their vignettes. i love photographing my home and the pieces of it i'm always rearranging. it's something i shied away from for a long time, as my space is something that's very sacred and private to me, but i found so much unexpected joy in sharing it.

in addition to vintage homewares, i have an affinity for vintage clothing.
do i risk sounding like a broken record by saying that they just don't make things like they used to? well, it's true. there was nothing that educated me on this front more than watching this film and reading this book.
again, i grew up thrifting, and so have always had a fairly unique and eclectic wardrobe because of it. however, in my early twenties, i started shying away from secondhand and got caught up in the fast fashion industry and excessively consumed and over-bought, until my closet door and dresser drawers weren't able to close.
it was sometime in 2015 that i finally recognized the problem and started getting back to my roots.

i've been exclusively buying secondhand and handmade clothing for two years now and i feel so proud and accomplished in being able to say that! 

and so, because of my passion for adopting and curating unique things to give them new life, i want to help educate and pass that love onto others.
shopping small, locally, secondhand, sustainably and ethically are all elements of consumption that are incredibly important to me.
for it's not necessarily consumption that's bad, it's how we consume and why.
so i want to encourage others to examine the ways in which they're doing that and give them more options and promptings for an alternative lifestyle.

you can follow Folkling on Instagram and Facebook.
 



SUSTAINABLE KNITWEAR — i've been knitting for about 17 years. i didn't fully understand patterns when i first learned, so i started making up my own and have essentially been designing ever since. i started my etsy shop in 2011 and have had 6 knitwear collections released and sold on that platform, with smaller batches of "unofficial" bodies of work sold on commission and an as-i-made-them basis, before that. if you'd like to take a stroll down memory lane with me those were:

Sartorially Inclined: A Mens Knit Lookbook
Sartorially Inclined: A Ladies Knit Lookbook
On The Road
Gypsy Soul
The Classics Collection
OOAK Knitwear

it's amazing for me to see how far i've come in my work and watching my style and aesthetics change over the years.
similar to Folkling, in 2015 i had a "come to God moment" in regards to how i was living, what i was putting value in, knowing the origins of what i bought, having more of an appreciation for the process of products and making things from scratch.
my knitwear didn't escape these revelations.
i realized that i had no idea how the yarn i used for my pieces was made or where it came from. was it made sustainably? were the animals used in making it raised ethically?
when i started looking into it, the things i found along the lines of factory pollution, harmful chemical usage and animal abuse were troubling. 

as i changed other aspects of my life in regards to how i ate, dressed and shopped, it was bothering me that this aspect of my business wasn't fully aligning with my values as well.
so after two years of studying and learning the art of processing, spinning, and naturally dyeing wool, i'm going full steam ahead with this new kind of knitwear!

from now on, all of my pieces will be made from yarn that i've either: 
1. fully, from start-to-finish, processed and then spun myself from fiber i've sourced from a farm that i've built a relationship with and, when possible, visited myself. 
2. spun myself from roving that's been made and processed by a trusted source. 
3. bought from another like-minded fiber artist locally or during my travels. 
4. recycled.
 

additionally, some pieces will incorporate natural dyeing (something i'm still learning the vast art of!), furthering each pieces story and one-of-a-kind-ness.

i'm really excited to fully pursue this path of creating. it feels really good to have this align fully with who i am as both an individual and an artist.

sustainable knitwear will be available through my Etsy shop as well as the Folkling instagram.
you can watch a video on how i process wool here.
p.s. i don't know how to shear sheep yet, but just know that element of sustainable knitwear is in the works. ;)




THE TRAVELING PHOTOGRAPHER — i've been "the traveling photographer" for some years now, but i want to refocus that aspect of my business in three ways.

but first and foremost i want to be honest with you all in saying that in over eight years of doing photography as a job, six of those full time, i have experienced some burnout.
the rush, stress, and keeping-up-with-the-joneses mentality that is in a significant part of the digital photography industry, has put me through the wringer on more than one occasion.
i want to be true to my heart and the passions i feel that i was given for a reason, and right now the below is how i feel pressed to chase after them.

1. to focus (no pun intended) on primarily, if not exclusively, doing travel related work, because that is where my heart and inspiration are most in sync.
2. i am not a smile-at-the-camera-and-point-and-shoot kind of photographer.
i need you to know this if you want to hire me to work with you. this isn't to say i will never take photos of people smiling at the camera! but the way i document is a little bit different than most.
you can read more about what that means here.
3. i have fallen in love with film over the past few years and am presently undergoing a more intensive pursuit in educating myself on this medium. i have both film and digital on my portfolio page, and you can see some other film work under the film tag on the journal, but until recently this has all been more or less for personal documentation.
i think at it's essence though, it's the "slow living" aspect of film that i've fallen in love with.
i would really love to start branching out into working with film more in my sessions and collaborations with people. so if that's something that appeals to you as well, say so in your inquiry!




TUMBLEHOME — those of you who have been long time followers are familiar at this point with my self identification as The Daughter of A Sailor. 
most often conveyed by way of my hashtag on instagram.
this story became one that a lot of people really loved reading about and were intrigued by. so i decided, along with my father, to share more of our adventures through a separate platform in the way of creating Tumblehome! in addition to sharing our adventures on the water, and our somewhat alternative lifestyle pursuits in the way of living more slowly, intentionally and mindfully, we both really love making things with our hands. after realizing a lot of people loved the things we make, we decided to start offering them to a wider audience.
which also feeds back to my aforementioned desire to surround myself with well-made things and cutting down on the need for over consumption by buying quality vs. quantity.

you can follow Tumblehome on Instagram and Facebook.


all of that being said, i am also pursuing writing more, which isn't officially listed under ventures right now, but that's something i might change.
i've been honored to be a part of several publications in the way of magazines, books and online articles over the past few years and conveying my heart through words has been such an amazing experience and way for me to connect with people. the conversations and various relationships i've had a chance to engage in as a result have been truly life giving at most, and thought provoking at least.

i'm pursuing refining my writing skills and being more consistent with putting out new content that is writing based, whether here on the journal or on instagram (a place i frequently share thoughts and musings).
if you want to learn more about this you can read Writings From A Would Be Beatnik.

in conclusion: all that i am pursuing is fueled by, what i call, the art of slow living.
you can read more about that here, and on posts on the journal under the slow living category

speaking of slow living, i'm starting a newsletter!
i technically have had the newsletter around for a while, but i think i used it... once? twice?
yea. not very much. 
i have some new ideas for it including a bi-weekly email that contains a sort of roundup of various slow living, mindful, and intentional things i've come across around the web and found value in.
what do you think?
it's still an idea in the works, and i haven't sent out the first one yet, but if you think you'd want to at least check it out sign up for it here!


whew!
we made it to the end friends! i know that was a lot all at once.
all of that has been inside of me for so so long, upwards of a year now, and being able to convey it to you now, fully as a whole, feels good.
i hope it all made sense! 

essentially: before now, i was primarily focusing on my knitwear and photography. now i have two new ventures i'm pursuing as well as a little bit of tweaking to my current ones with a few extra strings (or strands of yarn??) in between that tie everything together.

i appreciate you taking the time to read this. 
i've been having some wonderful and thought provoking conversations with you guys lately (over email/instsgram direct messaging especially) and i just want to say how grateful i am for you.
i'm grateful for your insightful comments, your encouragement, your engagement, your positivity, your beautiful minds, all of you.
thank you.
i wouldn't be anywhere close to getting all of this off of the ground if it weren't for you.

if i had the time and ability, i'd knit you all sweaters from 100% leney-processed-and-dyed wool. 
over all, i want to thank you for giving me grace as i pursue these new ventures and navigate their newness and working-out and chase after that every calling dream of living a fulfilling and passionate and purpose filled life using the gifts and abilities i was given.

xo

p.s.
i want to work with similar minded people who align with the values and lifestyle that i am working on pursuing! 
so if you feel like that's you, come say hey (even if it's just because, i love having conversations about all of these things).

Writings From A Would Be Beatnik
gif by Meagan Abell

gif by Meagan Abell

the definition of a beatnik is:

a usually young and artistic person who participated in a social movement of the 1950s and early 1960s which stressed artistic self-expression and the rejection of the mores of conventional society.
————
 

this is me. this is so me. 

identifying with the “beatnik” persona was brought about by something my Father said to me in the fall of 2015. i was voicing to him my timid and secret desire to write a book one day and he said something that has since become engrained in my thought process whenever i think about writing:

“you’re a good writer. [though] i don’t always understand your lack of grammar. i guess it’s the beatnik in you.”

and i loved that.

i kind of love that i don’t always make sense to people.

because i think it brings pause.
it invites a revisitation and a deeper delving into the ideas that i’m trying to convey.
it’s an invitation to re-read and question and wrestle with countering thoughts and ideas of your own. 

i think it’s actually why i’m drawn to writing in all lowercase too (with the exception of the proper names and titles of things).
because it’s against the grain.
it’s not the norm.
it’s also just how i write naturally sometimes, because when i get an idea or thought, it pours out of me so fast sometimes that i’m worried it’ll wash away and be forgotten if i can’t type it out fast enough.
in those times indeed, punctuation and grammar fall by the wayside.

of course there is something to be said about proper structure and grammar to effectively communicate your ideas. i'm not saying that we should all write in never-ending run on sentences from now on to get our points across (although i will definitely be the first admit: guilty).
but sometimes a little unconventionality is good to shake things up.

i write because i have ideas i want to challenge others with.
to press against the status quo, because who really is satisfied with it?
to share, do, inspire, cultivate and express life with and in one another.
because it's the human condition to do so.
because there is a wilderness inside of me. 

SO!
all of that being said...
the previously tagged Thoughts category on the journal has now been changed to:
Writings From A Would Be Beatnik

(those of you who follow my instagram will recognize this phrase... #writingsfromawouldbebeatnik)

because "thoughts" just doesn’t really encapsulate these forms of my writing.
all of my posts on my journal are ones in which i have thoughts… 

but there are times i tend to be a little more whimsical or romantic in the conveying of an idea. these tend to be my strands of more artistic writings and prose. sometimes in the form of poetry, sometimes in the strained vein of a repeated and re-hashed idea in an overtly spaced column that i am yearning to process and understand myself. 
but regardless, i wanted a better place to keep these collections of words.

so if you'd like to read past writings you can do so here.