In any business, you meet people who both instruct and inspire you in ways you never thought about before. I met many such interesting people when I represented the studio at trade shows in New York for 16 years. One person I met was Zazel Loven who, at the time, was the editor of Country Living magazine, which was really popular then. Zazel was there to cover the gift show and see what was new. We met and became friends. She loved our pottery and used it many times in the magazine. One day, over lunch, I was going on about some of my ideas, and she suddenly asked me if I’d ever thought of starting a magazine. Well, I hadn’t, but since she mentioned it, my brain got fired up, and by the next morning, I had the whole thing worked out: what the topics of interest would be, story ideas, and titles for all the sections. I was so excited by the possibility, but at the same time I had a feeling there would be too many deadlines involved for my taste. Still, I really wanted to share my stories and ideas and concepts about beauty and art and living in the south. We discussed it around the studio as a possible newspaper or publication, and finally Rinne Allen said, "Why don’t we do it on our website?" - which was a great idea.
We had a new website, so we added a topic called "Ideas for Creative Living," which was a more or less quarterly series of photo essays and stories about the south and the artists who create there, and a celebration of seasonal southern food. It was such a side project that even just getting it together quarterly was often a challenge. And with all the effort being put into it, studying the visitation stats told us hardly anyone was visiting this part of our website. That’s when Rinne had her next great idea; we’d take it off the R.Wood website and make it it’s own website, or blog, as they called them then! Our motto at the studio has always been "Beauty Everyday" and so that became the name of our blog. Each day of the week was a different focus, much like the chapter headings in my original magazine idea. We had recipes, tours of beauty spots and mystery spots, and always the beauty to be found along the roadsides in the south. I finally was able to share with the whole world the beauty of the place I was raised up in.
Still hungry to share more, we started talking about how wonderful it would be to just have a big seasonal picture book of photos gleaned from our 7 years of photo essays on the blog. Rinne Allen, Kristen Bach and I had hundreds of our photos to choose from. We decided the world needed to see it and so we bit the bullet and produced our own book: a big, beautiful blue tome with silver embossed pokeberries on the cover. Inside were all the textures and visions of the south that had always inspired us. We were lucky that Anthropologie placed a huge order right off the bat to help pay down the bill. That was in 2012. Now, the Beauty Everyday book is as poignant and inspiring as ever, and still available today. A treasure for anyone who knows and loves the south, and it may not have come about if not for my friend Zazel asking me a crazy question at a New York gift show where I was just there to sell pottery.