Tag Archives: personal dominions

personal dominions and thoughts #3

may juliette barruel – a friend, a small business owner, a local force in the art + music community and someone everyone should be inspired by….visit NATIONALE 811 east burnside portland, oregon 97232.

favorite wine?

shiraz grapes, usually. for special occasions, vacqueyras and chateau neuf du pape have been my favorites so far.

what is always in your fridge?

good butter, which i keep sealed in a glass jar. i got the trick from my friend laurence a few years ago to avoid taste contamination. this way, it stays as good tasting as when you bought it. my boyfriend calls me “the butter snob” and he’s completely right. the best butter that i remember having was at navarre, french with big pieces of salt!


my music collection is pretty small, because i am quite happy with the few things i have and still not tired of bill callahan, neil young, and bruce springsteen. my solo show last fall was a lot about these three guys and how their songs have been a constant for me, especially emotionally.

thank you bill callahan (detail), thread on linen, 2009

i‘m very obsessive in my listening process. mostly because of the meditative mood i get from the music looping. on repeat lately, men with broken hearts, a country music tape compilation by josh kermiet.

that being said, i’m also very lucky to have someone in my life with an amazing record collection and who always brings various records over for me to listen to. saturday night, charles mingus’ tijuana album blew my mind.

favorite city...

different places are good for different reasons and portland has been a very good city in terms of living and enjoying the everyday routine. but, just thinking of walking down a tiny sidewalk full of bursting life on a foggy parisian morning, well there is no denying that i will always miss that so much. the general aesthetics, the sexually charged looks, the perfect balance of speed and quiet living.

wet sidewalk, paris, may 2009

favorite piece of art that you own…

so hard to pick, especially because i like how over the years art remnants from friends have all accumulated on my walls to form one big piece.

but, to answer the question,

the embroidery piece ( detail above ) from ty ennis’ you’ll love it here show that i received as a present last year and

the paper dumpster with casey’s graffiti from ryan boyle that i purchased in SF a few years ago.

what is hard and what is not about owning your shop?

hard : the talkers, they make it hard to know who to trust. and the constant worrying. not knowing if it will make it. not having the financial means to do what would make it successful. my brain working 24/7. not ever getting a paycheck. always having to plan the next show/event, even before the current one has happened.

not hard : the collaborations that have happened and weren’t part of the plan. my initial feedback given to heather from olo on the scent that she did for NATIONALE (6/7) and it leading to us having an entire line of her perfume being sold here, and the customers going pretty crazy for it. also rikki rothenberg having her studio at NATIONALE and helping me in exchange with the shop. not having planned any of this, and just watching it unfold. it’s been such a pleasant surprise.

what windows give the best light that you can think of?

the winter months in my apartment, when the tree leaves are dead and light comes in all day ( south ). crazy big windows that make me want to not leave the house. ideally, a home would follow the pattern of the sunlight, with east facing windows in the bedroom for easy, happy getting-up, south exposure living area, and maybe sunset deck for dinner?

favorite chore – why ?

washing dishes after dinner at friends’. it calms me and it’s a good time to be alone for a bit. although i have the bad habit to leave out the silverware. i don’t like washing the silverware at all.

item that most represents you…

these boots that i bought at the salvation army in pendleton last summer. because of their utilitarian aspect, strength, and history ( the ranch’s letters are branded on the back ). they are a no bullshit kind of object, so well made and the best spent $5.95. i wear them every day. they’re also a very personal symbol for me, of a great time of happiness, when everything falls into the right place. a reminder of that being a possibility.

what is on your bed right now?

my cat malick, my big bags that i just dropped there when i got home.

what does your office space look like?

right now, non-existant at home and in transition at the gallery. it’s usually very messy and always has pieces of inspirations pinned on the wall, souvenirs, a vision quest of sorts.

misconceptions about you…

that i do the things i do because i’m french. people like to always say that, “oh, she’s just french”, on issues that are such clichés. but then, they never really take the time to ask themselves what is truly different within these two cultures, and they often fail to recognize the things that i do do because i’m french. because of my upbringing. my not shaving my armpits has nothing to do with my being french, every woman i know in france shaves their armpits, maybe not obsessively everyday, but they still shave them. however, my not being an optimist has a lot to do with growing up in a country that lost its glory two hundred years ago and has gone through two world wars on its soil while being occupied. my grandmother at her death left a letter saying ” i was a very happy person until the age of 7, in 1914, when my father was sent to war”. this, i think, reveals so much more about me and the culture i come from than whether i have baguette, cheese and red wine for dinner every night.

marthe arnaud, 1907-1998

fitness routine…

none. hopefully start biking and walking to work again real soon.

what inspires you the most and the least?

most: collaborations

least: people with an agenda / shark-like ambition. it is so transparent and boring to me.

fantasy career…

when i went on my first road trip by myself two years ago i decided to start a blog and pretended i was sent on a job. for five days i forced myself to describe as best as i could and in my own style the places that i visited. the process and results were so rewarding on a personal level that i have fantasized ever since that this could be my career. may juliette barruel, professional blogger! with no pressure whatsoever about the things and places i would cover. i guess i have tried to continue doing that with a la claire fontaine, but lately there is just no time for it.

some favorite traveling posts:



Filed under Culture, design, local portland stores, Music, Uncategorized

Personal dominions #2

The second in a series of interviews…possibly it is because I am curious about their lives, but my clients and friends become known in a way that I never would have expected, just by posing some rather simple questions to them.

Portland bicyclist, deep thinker, and possessor of the ability to find and express the irreverent twist of humor in everything that he sees.

– Favorite window in your new home and why?

I think the upstairs french doors, if I can count those as windows. I
can only see trees and sky out of them, so it feels like I’m in a tree
house. They let in so much light that it always feels like a sunny
spring day up there.

– What item could you not live without?

Probably a laptop. Which is strange, because I did live without one
for so long. We all did. But I don’t know how we did it.

– What is the greenest most environmentally conscious thing that you do?

I try to ride a bike almost everywhere I go.

– Favorite bike of the moment?

It’s one I built myself. I’m not much of a builder of things, so I’m
just proud that the lugs have stayed together. It was painted to look
like wood, so I like to call it the “station wagon”.

– What is boring, and what is not?

Personal finance is boring. Roller derby is boring. Other peoples
stories about flights and layovers are boring. People treat travel
conversations like misery contests, and no one ever wins.

Listening to a new favorite song for the first time is not boring.
Thinking about traveling is not boring.

– Favorite scent, song, thing to touch, and item to look at? ( one
word answers, no explanation needed )

Scent: Sir Walter Raleigh pipe tobacco
Song: Today? Bring It On Home to Me by Sam Cooke
Touch: My cat’s belly.
Look at: A steaming french press.

– Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I’d like to think that I’ll still be in Portland, but working for
myself somehow. I spend my days in a bleak sea of cubicles, and I can
feel it wearing me down. I need a change.

– Latest obsession or inspiring thing?

Historic photography. Old pictures make everything look better.
Sometimes it’s fun to be reminded that non-golfers once effortlessly
wore hats and knickers. At the historical society downtown they have a
photo archive where you can can look up anything in Portland and
they’ll give you a file folder of old photos. I used to spend my lunch
hours there.

– What is your favorite color?


– What about design interests you?

I don’t like projects that are in progress because they make me feel
anxious. I like completion. I like when things feel like they’re in
the right place, and that nothing needs to be changed. And I think
that good design creates that feeling of contentment. Fonts or
architecture or furniture or websites can make you feel that way,
where you just want to exhale and say “I wouldn’t change anything.”
Bad design is like a work in progress, something that can obviously be
improved upon.

– One project you would complete on your home if you had the
resources to complete it?


I’d turn the garage into a livable space. And I’d make sure that it
had a ladder that went to something up high. I’ve always wanted to
live somewhere with a ladder. It would be my private space, away from
drunks and acrophobics and animals lacking opposable thumbs and anyone
else that couldn’t climb a ladder.

-What is always in your fridge?

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