Thursday, October 11, 2007



In this cookie-cutter, copycat world, there's a designer who refuses to be swayed by convention. I met Chris Brown via his blog and he kindly agreed to be a guest here. Chris gives us permission to dig down to our raw, authentic selves and unearth the style that's always been dormant there, wake it up and let it fly. Instead of finding our style in the magazines or on tv, what about starting with what we love and being bold enough to go with it. Chris has done just that with his collections of old cracked doll heads, well-worn baseballs...even teeth :) I'm so inspired by this guy! Thank you Chris for helping us strengthen our wings of authenticity. Here are Chris' words on design:

When I began collecting vintage objects and incorporating them into my design work, whether it was graphics, home d├ęcor, photo styling or even fashion, things changed. I notice that I wasn’t drawn to the same kind of things that others saw as pretty or collectable. I think I’ve always seen things a little different. I like to take things people don’t see as beautiful and somehow make them beautiful. I find inspiration everywhere, in everyday things. It’s in those simple, rusted, faded; almost mundane things that I force people to look at in a new light. All of my collections seem to fall in a very limited color palette – white, black and faded red.

For me, style is a very personal thing. Everyone has it, how you display it is what makes you unique. Urban Prairie style is all about living in the present while embracing the past. It’s more about attitude than address. My thoughts, worldview and feelings can be seen in my work. Anyone who has ever taken a look at my website, read my blog, visited a home I have decorated or has witnessed a photo shoot I have styled, will see me.

When I began Urban Prairie over two years ago, I had no idea it would become this “cult” style thing. My Urban Prairie website began as a way for me to showcase my design work and hopefully inspire others. It seems I have struck a cord with the “new” generation of designers and collectors. Within the many emails I receive, one message rings forth - It’s acceptable to view things differently. Although it’s inspiring to me to know that I’ve been told that I have made it “cool” to collect and design with odd finds, I would never take the credit. I simply feel design should always have an element of surprise. Don’t just think outside the box, deconstruct the box and turn it into something new and different altogether. I held a dinner party outside at our home earlier this summer. At each setting were antique white ironstone plates with tarnished forks. In place of the standard knife, I replaced them with a pair of vintage scissors from my large collection. Each couple poured wine from old enamel Swiss canteens, sealed with vintage glass decanter tops. A large, rusted scale, which held two cracked and faded doll heads served as the centerpiece. White roses overflowed from old glass fly catchers. Again, it’s in those simple, rusted, faded, almost mundane things that I forced my guest to look at things in a new light.