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Artist Interview

Ashley Brown Durand of Secret Holiday & Co.

February 11, 2015

Some days, all we need is a little pick-me-up, a reassurance that things will be okay, or a reminder to be brave. Other days, a little whimsy or smile keeps us going. Ashley Brown Durand is the designer, curator, and creator of all such things. And these things you can hang on your wall. Hand-sewn and locally made, Ashley's banners remind us that a simple moment of self-love or empowerment is important, essential even, to one's life. Because of Ashley and her Secret Holiday & Co. collection, it's just that much easier to make it a good day.

If you had to have just one affirmation banner for your life, what would it say?
"IT'S OK" I originally created the It's Ok banner as a reminder for myself. I think it's an important sentiment for everyone to be reminded of - it's fitting in all situations, big or small. But it's also too easy to forget. 

Where do you go-- physically, spiritually, mentally-- for regeneration?
I guess it depends on the situation. It's usually something simple: floating in the ocean; snuggling my 22 year old cat; re-watching the same old movies on VHS again and again; singing alone in the car on a long drive; looking through books about old quilts and the women who made them; birthday cake. It feels good to take the time to do the things you love, regardless of how quick or simple it may be. Currently I am daydreaming about spring and laying in the grass on a sunny afternoon. 

I will never tire of being by the ocean. That's actually the only thing I don't like about living in the valley - it's too far from the ocean!

What's your spirit fabric? 
Probably some depression-era flour sack. Something beautiful in appearance and texture, and full of history. 

If you had to wear one outfit for the rest of your life, what would it be?
The perfect pair of worn in jeans that fit just right and never stretch out, and a comfy tee shirt. 

You love antiquing and vintage shopping. What's been your best find?
I've had so many best finds over the years! A couple things that come to mind: a stuffed duck with a creepy plastic face that I scored for $1 (I love creepy/cute old stuffed animals), and an antique quilt that I disassembled to find old dresses and coats lining the inside for warmth and weight. I love daydreaming about the past life of these old objects. 

A few years ago my mom gave me a beautiful old quilt top that my great grandmother had hand stitched. It was made from fabrics that my mom could point out as dresses she and her sisters used to wear. I carefully took the large squares of the quilt top apart, and reworked them into three separate quilts - one each for my mom, my sister and myself.

Given you are an expert in positivity and empowerment, if you were to write 5 rule for women to live by, what would they be?
I appreciate being called an expert in these things, but I am absolutely not. This is why I do what I do- I need these reminders just as much as everyone else. 

What's the "Secret Holiday" ... and how/where/with whom is it celebrated?
I think the idea of a "secret holiday" can be interpreted in many different ways. I like to think of it as a special moment that no one else knows about but you. A private little magical place inside of yourself.