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American Field DC | 5 Must Visit Makers

Ben Ashby

 American Field is just around the corner. The Washington DC market is the final weekend of September, and we couldn't be more excited. While we try to contain our excitement, here are five must visit vendors at this falls market! 

The Washington DC market is September 30 - October 1 on the second floor of Union Market. 11-6 each day.


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1) Ball and Buck — the brand that never misses an American Field market! Known for being one of the best made American made menswear brands, shop their booth for deep discounts on out of season items and staple pieces. 


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2) Stonehill Design — everyone, especially those in Washington DC need something to brighten their days. Stonehill's one of a kind lamps and light fixtures are fun and funky additions to any space. We're obsessed with his industrial themed pieces. 



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3) Solomon Chancellor — these handmade bags are honestly pieces of art. If you're looking to invest in a bag that will last for decades, and is made of the top quality materials, you'll want to spend some time with Solomon. 


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4) Mark Albert Boots — They're sleek, yet timeless. Mark's boots are the kind you'll want to wear on the trails, on dates, and around the office. This twenty one year old boot and shoe designer has managed to create beautiful designs that are bringing the idea of craftsmanship back to footwear. 


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5) Schon Dsgn — Who knew that pens were such an industry. Ian craft's pens that are perfect for the pen collector or the regular guy looking for a sexy pen to sign his checks with. Talking to Ian is getting an education in a design trade you may have never realized exists. 




A Visit to Pot n Kettle Cottages || Leipers Fork, TN

Ben Ashby






Leiper's Fork, TN is a hidden gem of a tiny town just south of Nashville. The town of three hundred is a sleepy community that is filled with quaint southern history, grand farms owned by country music royalty and the most delightful downtown. I've been visiting Leiper's Fork and the Williamson County area for years, but I recently had the privilege of staying at the Leiper's Fork Inn, a rental property that is part of the Pot n Kettle Cottages brand. Before my stay I asked the owners to share a bit about their love of their properties, the community, and the South...



— || Over the coming weeks I'll be sharing more of my favorite Leiper's Fork shops, stops, and places to stay. 





Why we created the business is really more of a journey that we have traveled. We both originally being jewelers is where we realized we worked well together creatively. We decided to try applying that to renovating and restoring a Sears Kit home in Los Olivos, CA built in the 1890’s. We realized after the completion of our project that we loved it, we were also given a Beautification Award from the local Rotary Foundation. We then knew that others liked what we did as well, after moving to Tennessee, we saw a lot more opportunity to be able to find these beautiful old homes and breath new life into them while maintaining or restoring the history. We love the feeling an home has, it is almost like it has a soul. 





We decided after moving out of the Tin Roof Cottage that we wanted travelers to be able to experience the magic of Leiper’s Fork as we did. What better way than to give them a home to stay in and make them feel local. So began our journey, Tin Roof was our first property and it was doing well. I decided I really enjoyed working with travelers and welcoming them to stay in our magical village. So we then purchased Coda Cottage and Pickers Cottage, redid them and began Pot N’ Kettle Cottages. We recently this February acquired the Leiper’s Fork Inn, this home was most definitely our largest undertaking. It needed a lot more work and we did a good bit of it ourselves, which we both enjoy.



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Why Leiper’s Fork, well Leiper’s Fork kind of choose us. Five years ago we realized we wanted to be closer to family and find a small town with wonderful community. We traveled all around and considered many different places. Eric being from Kosciusko, MS had traveled along the trace most of his life. He talked about Franklin, Tn and this amazing little village called Leiper’s Fork. Myself being from a small town in Idaho this struck a cord with my heart. We finally after a year of searching traveled to Leiper’s Fork for the 4th of July to be with some friends and see family. I immediately fell in love from the moment we drove into town. We pulled over and stopped in at Puckett’s, got the boys a Nee-Hi soda and watched them run around and catch lightening bugs. That was it, we were sold, this was home. We have enjoyed every moment since being a part of this community, the people are what make this town so magical. 


The design style behind the cottages is my take on Boho Chic interior design focused on guests comforts and needs. My husband and I like to create a unique but comfortable environment for our guests, we are not afraid to use color. A lot of people who have experienced our homes have often made the comment that they feel like they are “happy houses”, they make you feel good when you are in the space. We travel quite often and always rent homes to stay in, we are always taking things into account when we do this as it helps us to better understand the needs of the guests.



The design style behind the cottages is my take on Boho Chic interior design focused on guests comforts and needs. My husband and I like to create a unique but comfortable environment for our guests, we are not afraid to use color. A lot of people who have experienced our homes have often made the comment that they feel like they are “happy houses”, they make you feel good when you are in the space. We travel quite often and always rent homes to stay in, we are always taking things into account when we do this as it helps us to better understand the needs of the guests.




American Field Boston Recap

Ben Ashby

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Another American Field is in the books. This is my second of the year. Two more to go. I go to the American made pop up markets as a fan of markers and of American made and as a friend to the team that runs it all. Ive been surrounded by makers since we started this business, and it is one of the reasons we started the business. We decided early on that we would take the road less travelled and skip corporate sponsorship whenever possible in favor of promoting and advocating for makers and doers. While that road hasn't been easy for us or for any other business that has trudged down it, it has been incredibly rewarding. The team behind American Field shares many of the same views that I have on the important of conscious consumption and the value of handmade and maker made. 



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Each of the American Field markets brings together dozens of small businesses. The market itself is a way for these makers and brands to remove the digital wall between the brand and the follower and put a tangible face, voice, and hand shake with the brand. While these markets are billed as marketing events rather than money making weekends for the brands involved, it often allows the brands to cover their expenses of traveling and setting up at the market and allows them to establish hundreds or thousands of potential new customers, wholesalers, and fellow industry insiders. Thanks to social media, photography, and sites like Tumblr these connections will continue to grow well into the future. 


American Field launched their first market in 2012 in Boston as an extension of American made luxury brand Ball and Buck. This market in the south side of Boston allowed the various brands sold in the Ball and Buck store to come together in one place to celebrate and highlight the dozens of makers. Originally branded as a menswear pop up the event has, over time, rather effortlessly diversified to include womenswear and accessories and a variety of home goods. This diversification has allowed the American Field market to remain relevant as a market while many other markets have shifted towards different business models. 



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Over the years the connection to Ball and Buck has been diluted in favor of American Field standing alone as a market that straddles the luxury and every day quality goods. The price points at the markets have expanded to ensure the markets offer goods for anyone seeking to promote American made. Brands like Ball and Buck and Rancourt have used this as a way to have extreme sales at the market, in turn generating traffic to their booths. 


As American Field continues is 2017 season and pushes into 2018 the hope is they will launch their long awaited ecommerce Marketplace. New market events in Los Angeles, Denver, and Chicago are also being investigated. 


American Field will wrap the 2017 season with markets in Washington DC and Brooklyn.  


— || Camera: Fuji X100F

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Cast Iron Apple Pie

Ben Ashby

This has been our most popular recipe every year since we first published it in 2011. A traditional cast iron skillet apple pie with a few seasonal additions make it the perfect treat to serve all autumn long. 

It is my go to recipe for fall. Nothing is better than going to the local orchard and hand harvesting the apples yourself. I use a Martha Stewart enameled cast iron skillet. The pie comes out perfectly every single time. The pie is perfect served hot or cold. 




1 stick + 1 tablespoon butter

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup white sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon  

1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

3 tablespoons sorghum or maple syrup  

1 boxed pie crust  

5 pealed and sliced apples


Preaheat oven to 350 degrees. Add stick of butter and brown sugar to bottom of skillet. Place in oven until melted, do not let boil.  

Remove from the oven. Put bottom crust in skillet. Toss apples in sugar, spices, and syrup. Add mixture to skillet. Place remaining butter on top. Cover with crust. Dust top of crust with a dash of sugar and spices. 

Cut vent holes or decorative pattern in the top of the pie. Bake for 30-45 minutes or until apples are tender. 


Coming Soon! FOLK's Artisan Products in Small Shops!

Ben Ashby


We've been quietly working on this all summer...but its finally time to talk about it. As you may have noticed...we closed the online shop back in the spring. We decided it made more sense to license the FOLK name to a really amazing production house and allow them to create really amazing artisan quality products. Our first products will be the infused honeys. 

If you have a shop of know of one that needs to carry the FOLK goods please email the wholesale team today. ||


Here is a preview of the collection:


Mount Tamalpais

Ben Ashby

We'd seen the view in so many photos. A golden hill high above the fog and clouds. Paths cut through the dried grasses and fading into the clouds below. We knew we had to visit while we were in San Fransisco. Mount Tamalpais is just a very short drive north of the Golden Gate Bridge. The perfect sunset spot and a very easy hike. 

The following are images I shot at sunset near the peak of Mount Tamalpais with the Canon 5d Mark IV

"Just north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, Mount Tamalpais State Park rises majestically from the heart of Marin County. Its deep canyons and sweeping hillsides are cloaked with cool redwood forests, oak woodlands, open grasslands, and sturdy chaparral. 

The breathtaking panorama from Mount Tamalpais’s 2,571-foot peak includes the Farallon Islands 25 miles out to sea, the Marin County hills, San Francisco Bay, the East Bay, and Mount Diablo. On rare occasions, the snow-covered Sierra Nevada can be seen 150 miles away.

The park offers superlative hikingpicnickingwildlife watching, and mountain and road bicycling." —

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Eclectic Eccentricity Jewelry || Meet the Maker

Ben Ashby







EE Jewelry or its formal name Eclectic Eccentricity is one of our favorite jewelry makers! Known for their nature themed styles and wonderfully fun photography we knew we had to learn more about this brand and the makers behind it!


How did you get started creating handmade jewelry? Honestly, I was stuck in a job I didn't enjoy and was really seeking a creative refugee that my head could escape to.  I had some gemstones and pieces in a box and just started - it really was that straight forward. When I ran out of gemstones, I ordered more; when they arrived, I was so excited that I got up at 2am to make them into necklaces because my brain was too buzzy with excitement. The buzzy brain never really went away, 13 years later I still have it.





Were you always interested in jewelry? I was always interested in design and how things fit together, ratios and symmetry - and playing with asymmetry. I come from a maths and science background, it's what I studied at university, so I think that analytical approach has influenced the designs! 


Did you know you would start your own brand, if not what spurred it? I wouldn't say I always knew I'd start my own brand, but I did always know, on a very gut level, that I'd do something different from the 9-5. At the time, I was aspiring to be an astronaut or work as an astrophysicist at NASA, but I'm still waiting for NASA to call. When I first began making jewelry, I quickly started developing ideas as to where I could take the business; I was working as a manager of a shop at the time so I started selling through the store and gradually over the next few months, the brand started gaining traction. I had a huge opportunity when a few months later I was featured by the website Daily Candy - overnight, sales went through the roof. It took a lot of work though, I gave up my job and my life to make the brand work. 18 hour days became my normal and there was never a moment where I didn't obsess over the smallest detail of things.


How do you get ideas for new products & photo shoots? Initially all the designs were my own as the business was largely run solo, but the team has now grown so we tend to work collaboratively on ideas. EE has very much become a brand which all of the team is a part of - everyone brings something different to the table so it's really pieces of all of us. From hiking to astronomy to our furry friends at home and travelling to far flung places, the pieces we create represent all the things that make our hearts beat. Our tag line is 'for the inquisitive of heart and inquiring of mind' and it's a motto we stick closely to when working on new concepts. Each piece tells a story.






What are your inspirations? How do your hobbies influence what you make? Is it cliched to say anything and everything? It's difficult to pin point precise inspirations, I think ideas come naturally and you don't necessarily know where from. I think we all try to fill our time with the things we love - being out in the wilds, walking the dogs, going out for long runs. These are the moments where your brain ticks it all over, the best ideas come when you're most yourself and filling up that happiness tank with fresh air gives the mind freedom to wander a bit. We're incredibly lucky and our studio has a huge balcony with incredible views over the city; we have tables and comfy seats so at lunch you can pop out, do some yoga or just enjoy your lunch in the sunshine. Without fail, we all feel revived and connected for the afternoon and that's the best inspiration there is.







What has been your biggest lesson?  This is easy - hiring the right people. A brand is only as good as the people behind it - you can have the best brand identity in the world but if you've got the wrong team it's impossible. If your team can't connect, how could your customer? Over the years there has been a lot of trial and error and going from a place where the company was a one woman band to suddenly having to share that load with others has been a tricky one. It's never something I'll perfect, but I try to trust my gut when taking on new people. Really, it's about knowing your tribe and putting together a group of people who are reading from the same page. You work with the same few people every day for 5 days a week, you have to get on and you have to know how the others work. We're an incredibly close team (seriously, sometimes we're all like those 'cute' couples who finish each others sentences) but that level of understanding has come from knowing each other so well and all working towards the same goal. I never thought I'd have a group of people work for me who cared and were as emotionally invested in my brand as I am. I've had to make some tough choices and there's the lesson - don't do harm, be kind, but make sure you hire the right people (no pressure).





What's your favorite thing about sharing EE Jewelry with others?  Seeing it all over the world! EE has so many international customers, from people who buy direct from our website to those who buy via our little army of stockists, seeing how far we can make the EE net reach is exciting. It's like a community and that makes my face beam rainbows. On the other end of the spectrum, seeing our pieces being worn in our own neck of the woods is so, so, so amazing, I can't even begin to tell you. I was walking home from the office recently and walked past a girl wearing our 'You Cannot Be Cirrus' necklace; it was all I could do to not say something. It's not an exaggeration or a sales line to say that every piece is made with so much love and care. Our relationship with our customers is paramount and the wonderful feedback we get makes us so happy.



What's been your best advice you've been given? Many years ago when the business was first starting to expand, it was stressful and I struggled. I was finding it hard to know how to structure my days efficiently and suddenly I had a major high street retailer in the UK calling me in for a meeting. It was scary, I felt stuck and I had zero experience.  A friend called Jason said "say yes, you'll make it work later". So I did and it worked. Tina Fey said something similar a few years after that with "say yes, and you'll figure it out afterwards". Guessing she and Jason must have had a chat at some point. It's by far the best piece of advice I've been given - because 100%, you'll always figure it out.





What's been your biggest challenge? The downside of saying yes means sometimes you are left in a pickle.

The scaling up of the business is a challenge. Knowing those tipping points, when it's time to start investing more both in terms of money and time, is vital. I guess it comes down to your gut again - most of my business decisions are gut based with a small basis of paperwork and numbers! Working with big international companies is challenging, they bring with them their own demands which can affect how you choose to run your business, not to mention how huge orders can play with your cash flow when a 6 week wait for payment is the expected. It's all good though, running a business is the harshest learning curve but it makes you learn hard and fast!



Coffee Culture || Brandon Lopez

Ben Ashby




Brandon Lopez, a Denver based photographer and graphic designer shares with us his love of coffee, coffee shops, and coffee culture. 




Favorite coffee shop: This is a really hard question — I have favorites for the community, for the coffee, and for the space itself. 

My favorite for community is Two Rivers (@tworiverscoffee) in Denver. Eric, the owner, has been a good friend of mine for the last six years and anyone that knows him knows that he would do next to anything for the people around him. I was at his wedding this weekend and it was no surprise to see so many familiar faces from the shop there.


Switchbox Coffee (@switchboxcoffee) in Fort Lauderdale is up there in my favorites for great coffee. The day before they opened, I walked in to share my excitement for them opening the next day. Come to find out they just recently moved back from Denver to open this shop. Long story short — just as quickly as we became good friends — they became a staple in the craft coffee world in South Florida.

Lastly, for the space itself, Its a tie. I’ve always loved ALL DAY (@alldaymia) in Miami. Its tall, open ceilings and clean interior look like they took this place straight out of San Fransisco. The neon menu along with the gorgeous bar are understandably, a focal point. The other would be Black Eye Coffee (@blackeyecoffee) in Denver. By day a coffee and brunch spot, by night a bar call edWhite Lies. From black and gold Art Deco style wallpaper to the white penny tile, this spot is undoubtedly ‘grammable to say the least.






Camera you shoot with: Typically, at least in the past, the only camera I’ve had on me is my iPhone. Recently I’ve been shooting with a Canon 5D Mark II

Favorite drink to get at coffee shop: This really depends on the mood, somedays it’s a cortado, others it’s some method of pour over, and if ever in doubt, cold brew is always a solid choice.






Why do you love coffee culture: Above all, I love the way that coffee brings people together, whether in work, in community, or ritual. Some of my closest friends I’ve met in the coffee community. Its seems to be a common thread that people who love coffee also share a passion for connecting. One of my good buddies, Joe (@coffeenkegs) and I connected through Instagram. He runs an account showcasing the some of the best coffee, shops, and beer — I hit him up one day and asked to hang and I’ll be attending his wedding later this year, haha. Which goes to show, the coffee community is stoked on celebrating craft, authenticity, and connection. 






Give us a photo tip: Find the light — for me coffee always looks best in natural light. And I am by no means wildly knowledgeable in the subject but the trick Ive found is finding where light is coming from and how I can use it. Whether it’s a person sitting in a window or sitting in a spot where the light is filtering in, its hard to mess up a shot with good lighting. 







What city has the best coffee: Out of the cities I’ve lived in or visited London definitely has the best coffee — but everyone knows that. As far as overall experience, hands down Denver has one of the best communities of incredible roasters and shop goers.







What makes a good coffee shop: To me a good shop isn’t always the one on the forefront of trends or the most aesthetic, its about the people the put up with me coming in everyday and asking questions about their lives outside the shop. The people that share that same passion as the shop goers for community and authenticity. Its about the people behind the counter and the people I’m with. Yeah of course, I love neon menus and marble counters, but if there’s nothing substantial behind them then all you have are some hipsters serving you bean water.




True Country

Ben Ashby



When people dream of living in the country, I imagine they don't give much thought to the flies, pollen, grain chaff, and heat; the smell, wind, or dust. Growing up, the five-hundred head of livestock we owned consumed several tons of grain, hay, and corn each day; Let's just say not all of our dust was made of dirt. I don't know how the West was won, but I can imagine it probably conquered a few indomitable wills along the way.


I worked with these cattle in these conditions and I couldn't fathom thatthis land, this plain, was someone's romanticized dream of country life. I hated the work most. You couldn't escape the filthy combination of dust and grime, of animal and earth. When Grandpa said to be at the barn by seven, he didn't mean 0700, you were expected be there at 6:45 A.M. The cows wouldn't milk themselves at four in the morning, nor would the grain irrigate itself. The calves had to be fed, and the horses caught, all before nine if we were going to get to horse breaking.


I will admit the chore of breaking mostly fell to my Grandpa and father, but my brother and I had the privilege of holding the ropes as the colts kicked up the aforementioned dust. After several days of this repetition, the time came for my brother and me to run the horses like we were being chased by hellfire. It will never fail to amaze me how a colt in full sprint can reach back and bite his rider's shin without ever breaking stride.

I won't say it didn't have its rewards. We had our fair share of trips to the Palisades and Grand Tetons. Even if the trips required a wake-up call at five in the morning to catch horses, pack saddles, and load trailers. Six butts crammed into an extended cab '88 Chevy Dually for a two-hour drive, it wasn't ideal but it was all about the destination.

After several hours of riding, in these watercolor landscapes usually right about the time the pain from the saddle fell numb we'd return to the truck and, in reverse order, undo all the work of saddling the horses, repack, cram our butts back into the truck, and return home. Only this time, we'd stop by the first gas station we met where Dad would buy us whatever treat we wanted. At the end of our drive we'd drop the cousins and uncles off at their homes, leaving the work of unpacking to my brother, father, and me. Only when we had unpacked the horse trailer could we waddle home with our saddle-sore thighs and crawl into bed; Just to repeat it all the next day.

When people dream of living in the country, I don't imagine them giving much thought to the work and sweat that goes with a true country life, but that's just what I'll never forget.

Easy Whipped Cream

Ben Ashby


Cool Whip is overrated and not that good....fresh whipped cream is so easy to make..and so much better. Our recipe keeps it super simple.


  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar

In a large bowl pour the whipping cream and the vanilla. As you beat the mixture add the powdered sugar to help provide stiffness and a bit of extra flavor. Whip until it is as thick and creamy as you'd like. I prefer stiff peaks. Be sure to not over whip or you'll end up with butter.


Easy Banana Pudding

Ben Ashby

This one is an absolute favorite and classic. Super easy to maker and so darn cute in these sweet canning jars. 

Easy Banana Pudding

  • 2 5 ounce packages of instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 4 cups of very cold milk
  • 4 ripe bananas 
  • 1 box vanilla waffers
  • 1 quart heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 powdered sugar

Mix pudding mix and milk as instructed on box. Set aside. Slice bananas. Beat heavy whipping cream, vanilla, and powdered sugar until whipped cream is desired thickness. 

Starting with waffers, cut or break as necessary to fit into jar, create layers. Alternate between the waffers, the pudding, the sliced bananas, and the whipped cream until jars are full. Finish with a a spot of whipped cream and a banana slice tucked into the top. Garnish with fresh mint if desired. 


Use lids of jars for the perfect beach or picnic treat. Keep cold until serving.  

On The Bright Side | Brandon Lopez

Ben Ashby




His aesthetic is bright, crisp, and super clean. His photos brighten your day with their incredibly pleasing and refreshing simplicity. I had to learn more about how Denver based photographer Brandon Lopez developed his skills and his style.

Website - | Instagram - @brandon.brightside |VSCO -



When did you start photography: My interest in photography was piqued three years ago when I lived in South Florida and was surrounded by so many great photographers, fashion designers, and street artists.


What caused you to get into photography: The pulse of creativity in South Florida inspired me to start thinking through each shot more technically - composition, light, texture, etc.



What was your first camera: The first camera I shot on was a Canon 5D Mark III that I borrowed from a friend in Colorado Springs. I barely knew - and maybe true still - what I was doing. 


What is your current camera: Currently shooting with a Canon AL 1. I’m trying to learn film, mostly by trial and error. It’s frustrating and exciting to shoot and develop a roll and see what turns out - it’s a patience thing.


What is your dream camera: Haven’t quite thought this through very much honestly, at least as far as an everyday camera. I’m still trying to find what feels most comfortable in my hand while shooting. If I had to name one, probably a Leica M3, but like most of us, I’ll keep dreaming.



Who inspires you: Fashion photographers like Samantha from @sammykeller in Denver and Jana from @ojandcigs in Miami are killin it right now. I love they’re style, the colors, the poses, the compositions, really their whole aesthetic is perfect. Street photographers like Joe from @ioestreet capture the human story in ways I only wish I could. Lastly, Toby from @tobyseeingthings is doing some pretty awesome work in minimalism - his series called ‘minimal body’ is one of my biggest sources of inspiration currently.


What inspires you: People inspire me. The people in my life, the people that pass me by every day. Everyone has a story to tell, whether that be through creative expression, vocation, or just conversation with strangers. 



What is your favorite subject to shoot, least favorite: Favorite would be people either candidly (street photo style) or somewhat staged. Currently I have this idea running through my head about social anxiety and feeling alone in a place that was once home. Looking in on people in what would feel like familiar settings we’ve all been in or known but in awkward or slightly uncomfortable poses - which sometimes (at least recently) is representative of how I feel in social situations. Lol. 


What do you feel is your greatest strength and what is your greatest weakness: I’ve been told my greatest strength is capturing people - so I’m running with that. Greatest weakness is probably the technical side of things, like operating a camera. Honestly this is a new form of expression for me. 




You have a very bright style, why? I like to keep my photos bright, colorful, and lively mostly to remind myself that this is what life is like. Honestly, I’ve been depressed for most of my life, growing up in a relatively religious home and keeping to myself about sexuality, along with a slew of other shit, has lead to some pretty dark days. And I’m not looking here looking for pity or ‘oh poor Brandon’ comments, but to show people who experience depression that there is a whole other side to their story that will come if they’re willing to fight for it - the bright side. 😉



What's a bit of life advice you'd give: Ha! You’re asking the wrong person for life advice. When I figure it out I’ll be sure to share. But to echo my answer for the last question, which actually sounds p corny when I read it back, but honestly life is a battle and if you’re willing to fight for what you love you will find that there is a whole community of people, with stories just as intricate and messy as yours, that will love and build you up. 


A Mountain Girl

Ben Ashby




I grew up in a small town in the mountains of Colorado called Carbondale. It sits about 30 miles downriver from the iconic ski town of Aspen. You can imagine the sort of beauty and culture that area harnesses. Carbondale holds everything that is dear to me; rivers, mountains, wildlife, ranches and about everything you can imagine a small mountain town would. Most of my time growing up was spent running around in the woods and on ranches, which a few of my friends lived on. As any mountain child could recall, these sort of upbringings can certainly shape you. Certainly, they have shaped me and as I continue the journey of photography, which often brings me to cities such as Los Angeles, San Diego and beyond, it’s the mountains that ground me to the core. 



Over the last few months however, I was experiencing shoots that didn’t quite inspire me. So much of my work and projects take place in Los Angeles, where the pool of talented models, hair and makeup artists is endless. The industry is there in a big way, so over the last couple of years I have made it a point to be there often. As great as that is, it’s easy to get creatively exhausted and that is one of the biggest challenges for me in having an art form as my job. When you complete a project that truly speaks to you, that your truly proud of, you can feel that in a true and intense way. But getting to that point can be a hard and challenging road. Lately, I’ve been feeling the numbness of that weary road, and knew I needed to take a step back from the grind to focus on on finding new inspiration.



Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting a lovely gal by the name of Sarah Courtney. She’s a mountain girl through and through and her parents own this beautiful ranch in Buena Vista, CO. “Buena Vista”, which is Spanish for “Beautiful View,” is very much just that. The ranch sits at the foot of towering 14,000 foot peaks, and on this particular day, the infamous and unpredictable summer weather of Colorado was in full swing. Sweeping storm clouds had socked in the town for the day, but the ranch, nestled in the eye of these summer storms was some of the most stunning and dramatic light I have seen in a while. I hadn’t had a shoot that felt so close to home in such a long time. 



Sarah’s ranch is as amazing as any ranch could be; chickens, horses, random relics of the old days and a beautiful stately old barn that seems to watch over the ranch. Sarah herself is a proficient horseback rider and her connection with the horses is something that would inspire anyone. I wanted to capture this environment many people only know from films and show Sarah existing, naturally, authentically.



A sort of rejuvenation took place for me. The light was amazing, the styling was perfect, and for Sarah, it was her most authentic self being on the ranch around her horses. We walked around, shooting in multiple outfits and capturing anything that inspired us. Most of the time, I’m a portrait photographer in fairly controlled scenarios, being able to photograph this wild environment while capturing such a profound moment of connection between a woman and this beast was one of the most genuine, beautiful and grounding things for me. I had instant flashbacks to my childhood and my love for Colorado. 



I think things happen in life intentionally. For me, this shoot felt right. It felt like home and helped to refuel my soul in a way that continuing to grind out work could not. Certainly, from a photographer’s perspective… that of my own, i’m more inspired and driven after this experience. Often, we go around trying to figure things out as human beings instead of just allowing life to unfold. As I sit here eating some fresh eggs from Sarah’s ranch and listening to Bob Dylan, I look at this shoot as a testament to the notion that ‘home’ isn’t as far away as you think and who you truly are is always there. You just have to allow it to show up. 


Ashley Sullivan | In Her Own Words

Ben Ashby




I grew up in Maryland, a sort of grounded daydreamer. I have always been creative, so I decided that I would study interior design. In school I learned a lot about the foundations of design, processes, and shaping space. I have always drawn inspiration from the seasons, natural light, textures—and their contrast. I love linens and silks, birch bark, flower petals, worn cobblestones...anything I can find pattern and texture in inspires me.



I started a blog five years ago as a creative outlet for my design and began experimenting more with photography. I spent time developing my technical and composition skills and finding my own style. Today I specialize in food, still life, and travel photography.


I've always been filled with a global curiosity, and I feel most alive when traveling and exploring the world. I'm fascinated by foreign cultures and traditions and how people live. The details and textures that can be found while traveling are amazingly intricate, if you take the time to notice. I use these details like puzzle pieces in my design, each one an important element in the final product.


My husband, our bulldog Kane, and I recently relocated to Minneapolis. We're thrilled about the adventure, and although the winters are a lot to bear, there is a vibrancy to the culture here. I've made some great friends in the creative community, and am energized by the maker spirit. I started a series on my blog about Minnesota makers with trades like glassblowing, leather-working, woodworking, and painting. There are many fantastic goods that are made right here in our community, and I love sharing their stories.


In addition to having a deep passion for travel, I have a great yearning for the calm life at home. Slow mornings with coffee and a good book or sunny afternoons with an open bottle of wine. I love throwing on Frank Sinatra and creating a meal with my husband...these are the moments that make up our lives, and I think being intentional about how we spend our moments is truly important.



Wales on Film

Ben Ashby






Wales is the mountainous western cousin of England, a Celtic link to the past with over 1,180 km or 730 mi for us using the imperial system of coastline, and 50 islands decorating it. Boasting three national parks and the Heritage Coast, Wales is an untapped land of adventure. Chris Buxton, a lifestyle photographer based in Wales in the United Kingdom, uses 35mm film for most of his practice. He relies on film to achieve a feeling that digital cameras can't capture naturally.




Living in Wales, he'd never really travelled around the Welsh landscape and finally decided to explore it with his second set of eyes, his camera. "I was very shocked by how beautiful this country truly is," says Chris, "it has shown me that everyone needs to explore their own homes to see where they're truly from." Chris tries to capture the natural and inner beauty of the landscape of his homeland and put it on the maps of like-minded soul-searchers and explorers hoping to find a new destination and a new adventure.




Woolrich | American Made

Christophe Chaisson



Just after the American revolution, but before the Civil War, the Great Depression, two world wars, and the Cold war, rural north-central Pennsylvania was little more than a largely spread out collection of family farms that collectively formed small communities. The United States was a small nation of only 24 states, only slightly developed, and surround by wilderness completely. It was in one of these small communities that one of America’s oldest heritage companies planted its roots. When John Rich II boarded a ship in Liverpool early in the nineteenth century, it’s doubtful he could’ve ever imagined that his voyage to the land of opportunity and entrepreneurship would allow him to build such a lasting legacy but today the family tradition and the mill still stand, a testament to the 183 year-old and oldest-running woolen mill in the U.S.

In 1830, When John Rich II moved from a small community near Philadelphia to the north-central community of Little Plum Run, Pennsylvania, the area was little more than the typical landscape of family farms and lumbering communities. The son of a wool carder – the process by which wool fibers are straightened – Rich had migrated to the U.S. years earlier with a great depth of knowledge about the wool industry. It was using this knowledge that he first began his career in operating woolen mills in Mill Hall before moving to Little Plum Run to join his business partner Daniel McCormick where they would begin the legacy that is Woolrich. Little Plum Run acted as the perfect beginning for the young upstart, so much so in fact that by the fourth year they had outgrown the small community. With a growing production demand, the limited access to water power for their growing factory operation forced Rich and McCormick to relocate the mill to a nearby community called Chatham Run in 1834.

The Pine Creek Township began development first with the establishment of a sawmill that would build three log homes for the Rich family and their mill employees, along with a three-story brick woolen mill factory measuring thirty-five feet by fifty-five feet. In 1843 Rich bought McCormick’s interest in the company, becoming the sole proprietor and going on to turn the township into Woolrich, PA, the home to eight generations of the Rich family who still own and operate the company today. From that point, the community around Woolrich sprang to life, with several generations of Rich’s starting community housing, the Woolrich Community United Methodist church in 1868, and the iconic mile-long drive into town lined with 50-foot pines planted by members of that church after the unfortunate passing of M. B. Rich in 1930. The Woolrich community is one that seems untouched by modern industry, still made up of the families who have worked the mills for generations, along with Rich and Brayton families.

The Rich family has always controlled the company in one way or another and the current president, Nick Brayton, and vice president Joshua Rich, are no exceptions as they represent the seventh and eighth generations of the Rich family. Nick’s father Roswell Brayton, Jr. was a sixth generation Rich whose parents, Roswell Brayton, Sr. and Catherine Rich, moved from Rhode Island back to Woolrich, PA. in 1953. Robert F. Rich, great-grandson to founder John Rich, had asked that his daughter Catherine move to Woolrich with two-year-old Brayton, Jr. so that Brayton, Sr. could help run the woolen mill and modernize the factory. Brayton, Jr. grew up in the community of Woolrich and recalled in his opening letter to Woolrich: 175 Years of Excellence that his childhood was filled with memories of sneaking into the woolen mill with his cousin John William Rich and jumping from one 500-pound bale of wool to another while sneaking by the factory watchman.

Brayton, Jr. passed unexpectedly in 2007, leaving the Woolrich legacy in the hands of his son and the 7th generation of the Rich family, Nick Brayton. In 2010, Nick and his cousin and 8th generation Rich, Joshua Rich, started to take up ownership of the Woolrich, Inc. company together. “Throughout my college career I never planned to be the President of Woolrich,” Nick admits. “I grew up in the factory like my father, but I remember how late he had to work and how frustrated it made him sometimes. I had boiled it down to just that thought, and like most kids in my situation I guess I thought that wasn’t what I wanted.” However, when Nick was asked to take up the position, he knew it was the right decision for him and for Woolrich. 

Since taking up control of Woolrich, Nick and his cousin Josh have started the transition into bringing some of Woolrich’s most popular items back to domestic manufacturers. “We’ve always woven our own wool here at the mill,” Josh says, “but in the late 80s and early 90s we had to start manufacturing some of our most popular items abroad to keep up with market demands. Now, we’re working to bring back some of those most classic items back, like the Woolrich Buffalo Plaid Shirt Jac.” Josh and Nick enlisted the help of their popular Italian branch and Executive Vice President Patrick Nebiolo to help bring back to light that iconic American heritage past the company is known for.

The last couple of years have seen tremendous growth for the company in finding a new younger audience in heritage-minded Generation Y. “We started taking our shirts and blankets to Penn State tailgating events and realized we had a whole new audience that was aware of our company history and standards, they’re now some of our best clients,” says Leah Dole, Woolrich’s marketing and advertising director. Leah has started collecting swatches of the company’s past through archiving customer’s antique and vintage Hunting Shirt Jacs. 

“We want to keep the stories of everyone’s history with Woolrich alive. Those stories are so much a part of our community here,” Nick explains, “we have families that have worked here for generations. That’s the great thing about our products too, not only can a grandson have the same style Shirt Jac that his grandfather wore hunting, but he can inherit it.” The Woolrich family and company are still very much alive in Woolrich, PA. With its iconic pine-tree-lined mile-drive into town and 1830s mill, the town stands as a gleaming example of American industry and its lasting quality.

A Focus on the Human Element | Jeyson Paez

Christophe Chaisson

When it comes to portrait photographers Texan Jeyson Paez is in a land of his own. To learn more about Jeyson and his work I asked Christophe to sit down with the man behind the portraits.


Christophe: When did you first become interested in photography?

Jeyson: I was really young, I can't remember the exact age. But I always knew that I wanted to express myself in a creative and interesting way. I was always captured by the beauty of images and the stories they could tell. That translated into my interest in being behind the camera as a photographer, so I could be the one behind the stories. 

C: Were you self-taught or did you learn in school/from a mentor?

J:I took a class at a community college covering the basics of photography. I was taught how to properly use a camera, but the imagination is inherent in me. I was ready to learn things on my own, and I knew that I needed more hands-on practice. 

C: How did you develop your style?

J: I'm not sure if I've locked down a style yet. My work is about the people, and they inspire me in a different way every time. 

C: What themes do you explore through your work?

J: There are two themes in all of my work: the personal and the professional. My personal is more visceral and candid; I like to put a focus on the human element. It's a little more free, and the story comes naturally. It's definitely more intimate and honest. Professional is more polished and stylized--I know the photo is for a specific purpose, and there's more structure to it. 

C: How do you find and choose your subjects or locations?

J: I find most of the models I work with on Instagram, and sometimes they find me. When choosing, I veer towards someone who (I think) can give me more of a personal connection to the photos I'm taking. I like to make my personal work feel as real as possible. For locations, I do this the old-fashioned way. I drive and bookmark the unusual or unique spots around my city! 

C: What inspires your work?

J:The people and their stories. That's where the appeal of an image comes from, and that's why I picked up a camera in the first place.

C: How do you compose an image? Do you go into the shoot with a specific shot in mind, or does the inspiration strike when you place your model in the setting?

J: It always depends on the subject. I think not knowing how things will go in a shoot is the most exciting part because it creates this unique experience for me and the models I work with. We are walking into the unknown, and that's how I can capture emotion and vulnerability. With my current project, ROOMS, I sometimes don't even know what the actual room is going to look like until I'm with the model the day of the shoot.

C: What has been your biggest lesson learned through creating your art?

J: Whatever you create or do, always make sure you're doing it for yourself. I sometimes push the limit and it may not be the popular choice, but I know what images matter the most to me. I'll always focus on that. 

C: What do you hope your art says to people?

J: That life is a beautiful mess.

C: Why did you choose your craft(photography)

J: I've always gravitated towards photography since I was very young, and it felt like the only option for me to express myself creatively. 

C: How hard was it to become profitable at it?

J: I'll let you know once I find out! 

C: Any suggestions to newcomers to the field?

J: Find what gives you the fire, and go for it. It's not going to be an easy journey but if you truly want it, the result will be fulfilling. 

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C: If you couldn’t be doing your craft, what would you do instead?

J: While I can't imagine what life would be like without photography, I know I'd be working with people in some way. Anything I think about has to do with helping people, with inspiring them to be their best self.

C: Any favorite moments of your career so far?

J: My glitter project, Glitter That Portrait, took me places I never could have imagined. It was something so personal to me, and the reception was widely positive. I ended up being featured on Instagram, OUT Magazine and Cosmopolitan. It gave me a platform to expand my photography business. 

C: What would you do differently if you could start from scratch?

J: Honestly, nothing. I am where I am because of what I have gone through, and I can't imagine a different outcome than where I am right now. 

C: Is there a defining moment in your career so far?

J: My current project ROOMS. I've always wanted to explore the internal battle between good and evil, and it was something deeply personal for me. I was afraid to take things too far or make someone uncomfortable, but I took a chance. When the reception was positive, it was the best feeling. I put something so personal and gritty out there, and found that it made so many people feel something.

C: Is there anything you really enjoy in your craft vs another line of work?

J: The connection I can foster with people. The behind-the-scenes conversations make people feel relaxed and comfortable, and I don't think I would find opportunities to get to know people like this with any other job.

C: Biggest pet peeve about the industry?

J: The unrealistic idea of what pretty and perfect looks like. We are all different in how we look, how we act and what we want. That keeps the stories behind the photos unique instead of blending in with each other.

C: Is flannel really always appropriate?

J: It REALLY isn't.

A Southwest Love Affair

Ben Ashby



Today's photo gallery comes to us from Jordan Ison from Salt Lake City. You may know him better as @jordan_is on Instagram. 

I asked Jordan to share a bit about himself: 

I'm Jordan. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. Born and raised. I have a love affair with the Southwest Desert. Spent most my life exploring different areas, and learning the history before taking up the camera to photograph it. I love the National Parks, but I love being off the beaten path more. 

I shoot medium format film, iPhone, and digital, in that order. I mostly shoot landscapes and portraiture with some lifestyle photography mixed in. 

Other things; I read a lot. I travel a lot. I eat a lot. I drink a lot of coffee. I lift heavy things. 

These photos are from Lake Powell and Lower Antelope Canyon.




The Fog Lay Low

Ben Ashby






Iceland is a beautiful country of long roads and waterfalls. The fog lay low on the mountains during our visit, making it feel exactly how I hoped it would feel. The atmosphere was contagious.  I'll never forget the awe that I felt surrounding each landscape.





Iceland is a beautiful country of long roads and waterfalls. The fog lay low on the mountains during our visit , making it feel exactly how I hoped it would feel. The atmosphere was contagious.  I'll never forget the awe that I felt surrounding each landscape.



Meet the Maker | Aviate

Ben Ashby

By now you've probably seen at least one or two people wearing those airport code hats. Have you ever wondered where or why they're made? I was I went straight to the maker to find out why they've become so darn popular. 

Aviate, a lifestyle brand based out of Birmingham, Alabama crafting signature travel products around the three letter airport codes. For millions of travelers, these airport codes evoke memories of journeys past, adventures ahead and the comfort of returning home.

Aviate was founded in 2015 on the idea of encouraging explorers to Play Hard & Travel Often. It has since established itself as a must-have travel accessory with its signature three letter airport code hats turning lazy hair days into hometown-pride staples. The first Aviate hats were produced in Founder Ben Lancaster’s home city of Birmingham, AL with the BHM airport code. Only 100 samples were made and they sold out in under two days. The company has since expanded into 500 retail locations across the country and offering more than 100 codes for cities ranging from Key West, Florida to Honolulu, Hawaii.

At Aviate, The Motto “Play Hard. Travel Often.” Is more than just a catchy tagline – it’s a way of life. And true to the brand’s unofficial motto, to work even harder, Aviate doesn’t plan to rest its laurels solely on the success of their hats – no matter how many thousands more they may sell. Aviate is the place where community takes off! They pride themselves on being a giveback brand, working with organizations such as Make –A- Wish Alabama, The Exceptional Foundation, and His Hands Mission.  In 2017 alone, Aviate has donated over 15,000 hats across the United States and around the world. 

To continue the discussion we asked the team behind Aviate a few questions about business

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF SHARING AVIATE WITH OTHERS: Though the concept is simple, the idea of the brand is deeper. Aviate is a good way to identify with your community. Everyone takes pride in where they’re from, or where they’ve been, or where they want to travel to, and the airport code identifier is what we use to help build community.

WHAT IS THE GREATEST LESSON THE COMPANY HAS LEARNED: Much of Aviate’s success in the past two years is due to our commitment to doing whatever was necessary to get the brand off the ground. However, the greatest lesson was to be sure to align ourselves with positive relationships that had our best interests. 

WHAT HAS BEEN THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Maintaining our success and delivering more products beyond our signature hats. And true to the brand’s unofficial motto to play hard, travel often, and work even harder, Aviate doesn’t plan to rest its laurels on the success of their line of hats- no matter how many thousands more we may sell.

WHAT IS NEXT FOR AVIATE: The brand hopes to extend beyond its current collections in the southwest, northeast, northwest, and midwest. “That just puts the good pressure back on us to reinvent the wheel, reinvent our hat, and always be changing and evolving into ultimate travel brand.” Aviate plans to expand product (luggage & weekender bags) for all travel needs.