New Orleans Inspiration

There are as many ways to get inspired as there are people making stuff, and, for me, this city is endlessly inspiring. I’ve told the story before, so just briefly: the first time we visited New Orleans, I wanted to find a handmade voodoo doll. After looking for hours (and miles–there was a LOT of walking involved) and finding nothing but dolls made in China or dolls decorated with globs of slick paint, I gave up and came home and made my own. Long story short: several years later, on our annual trip, I walked into the shop where I’d been wholesaling my dolls and saw one of the two she had left hanging from the ceiling. As I told my husband when we left the shop, “If I got run over by a truck right now, I’d die happy.”


For me, a lot of inspiration begins when I look for something I think I want, can’t find it, and then set out to learn how to make it myself. I started making Journal Skirts after glimpsing a young woman wearing a patched jean skirt while riding the St. Charles Avenue streetcar. I’ve sketched wrought iron balconies onto clothes for embroidery and used dozens of my husband’s New Orleans photos for inspiration for various projects from mail art to journals to artwear. For me, it’s an endlessly inspiring city from the manhole covers to the street people

photo by Earl Zachery

to the balconies

photo by Earl Zachery

to the graffiti

photo by Earl Zachery

And then, of course, are my favorite New Orleans artists. Cathy Rose, who generously allowed us to photograph her studio:

art by Cathy Rose–photo by Earl Zachery

and Thomas Mann, author of Metal Artist’s Workbench, who cooked dinner for us at his home, the former Rose Tattoo bar:

Tom cooking dinner in his kitchen at The Rose Tattoo

Thomas Mann in his kitchen

Tom’s table

So that’s where we are: in our favorite city, taking photos and gathering inspiration to last until next year.


Ricë also blogs at The Voodoo Cafe.


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