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An Interview with Ella Ordona

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This month at Velouria we have a show curated by the online gallery space, The Blush Room. Hannah, our events coordinator has asked some of the artists included in the show a few questions about their work & art practice. First up, Ella Ordona! 

 Garden I, 2014, Ella Ordona

Garden I, 2014, Ella Ordona

Velouria: How did you come to find photography/ what first attracted you to it?

Ella Ordona: I started photographing in high school but then came to really appreciate it during parties and social gatherings. I didn't have much formal training and started photographing friends and our lives as we were just hanging out, and every time I got images back from the lab, it was surprising to see this perfect encapsulation of a moment that was even beyond what I had anticipated. There would be things that I hadn't noticed at the time of capture: patterns, colors, even body language and facial expressions. 

 Seattle, June 2013, Ella Ordona

Seattle, June 2013, Ella Ordona

V: Describe your process, do you have any specific rituals or routines?

EO: Over time, I've moved towards more anticipatory rather than reactionary work and go through a process of brainstorming, journaling and collection. For each project, I keep these separate handmade journals and scribble initial ideas and sketches. Color is a huge part of my work, so I'm constantly playing around with that. Finally, I do this sort of intuitive collection of objects that are somehow tied to these images. I'll pick flowers and dry them or take posters and flyers off of walls. A lot of refrigerator and pantry space is dedicated to these cans of soda and juice that somehow remind me of the images I'm making. 

My images are often reworked and I find myself being drawn to the same materials in my photographs again and again - last year, I was really obsessed with tin foil and it kept reappearing in my work.

 Birthday Party II, 2014, Ella Ordona

Birthday Party II, 2014, Ella Ordona

V: Who are some artists/designers/writers/makers who inspire you?

EO: Right now, I'm super into Neon Saltwater, TUF, Satpreet Kahlon, Una Blue, Ashley Armitage. I just saw this exhibit in Vancouver by Bharti Kher that floored me.

V: If you could spend the day with one artist past or present who would it be? 

EO: This one's way too hard to answer since I feel like this changes on a daily basis. Today, it's Meriem Bennani. 

 Garden II, 2014, Ella Ordona

Garden II, 2014, Ella Ordona

Thanks to Ella for sharing a little about her work, we're excited to see more!  Be sure to stop by and see Ella's work, it's up until the end of August. You can also find her on Instagram @ella0 and on the web at

An Interview with Hannah Ruth Levi // The Dye is Cast

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 Hannah Ruth Levi,  Bleach Warp #1 , 2016, $360

Hannah Ruth Levi, Bleach Warp #1, 2016, $360


In July we are featuring weavings and paintings by Seattle artist Hannah Ruth Levi, who we are lucky enough to also have as our event coordinator at Velouria. Stop by to see the show (up through the end of July 2016) and check out our interview with her below about process and where she finds inspiration.  We, personally, can't wait to have a little extra time to delve into the artists' work that she's currently into. Enjoy!


Velouria: What attracted you to fiber arts/how did you find your way to this work?

Hannah Ruth Levi: My Mom was great at sewing and gave me my own sewing machine when I was small. I was never very good at it but when I was a freshman in college I happened upon fabric dyeing and then "Intro to Structure" which turned out to be weaving.  Weaving was the first time I felt challenged. It's hard to remember what I was drawn to originally - mostly I remember how it drove me crazy. Now I like the meticulous repetitive actions, the small rituals and being a part of something that dates back tens of thousands of years.  

V: Weaving requires, in some sense, a little planning since one must work from one end to the other--how do you plan out your pieces and how much do they depart from the original plan as you weave?

HRL: Weaving as a medium is very calculated, and admittedly I'm not the best planner.
There are three components of a weaving that have to be decided before I even touch the loom - the length of the entire weaving, the width, and how many threads per inch. Usually that is where my planning ends, especially with dyed warps. My dyed weavings are abstract, organic and the end result is somewhat of a surprise. These weavings are technically a "warp-faced" fabric, meaning the vertical threads dominate visually while the horizontal or weft threads are mostly hidden. Weaving these is pretty straight forward, the visual elements are already determined before the loom is dressed.
My tapestries are a different story, those are "weft-faced" which is the exact opposite ofmy dyed weaving. With these the imagery is more structural, building an image one thread at a time. For these the final product is much closer to the original sketch, but like I said I'm a bad planner so much of the time I just go for it. I have an idea of colors or textures, I'm developing my own visual vocabulary built on geometric shapes and symbols. Many of my tapestries now are about building compositions made up of these shapes.

V: What inspired this current collection?

HRL: This current collection of weavings is a further exploration of dyed/bleached warps, based on traditional Ikat techniques.  These weavings are about the process, the ways I tie the threads create the pattern. The bleach lifts different colors at different rates so the original navy became a dusty rose. The surface is uniform and flat but I wanted to see how much texture I could achieve. I wanted to get weird. 

V: Where do you look for inspiration in general?

HRL: I try to shy away from Internet Inspiration, I find that much of the time surfing the web induces more stress than productivity. I guess I try to find inspiration in what is around me, by existing in spaces that make me feel good. 

V: Do you listen to music or podcasts while you work?  If so, What do you listen to?

HRL: My studio is on Whidbey Island and when I work I'm there alone without internet or phone service so unless I want to talk to myself for days on end I need some sort of media company. Depending on my mood or what I have available I'll listen to podcasts or have TV shows playing in the background. My favorite podcasts include: Reply All, The Heart, Criminal, The Moth, This American Life, Planet Money, Fresh Air, Embedded, and various true crime. As far as TV it truly depends on my mood, but I consume a lot of junk since there is a lot of it and doesn't require my full attention.

V: Who's work do you find most inspiring right now--both locally and more broadly? 

HRL: Right now I'm inspired by the work of locals like Kelly Bjork, Joe Rudko, Kimberly Trowbridge, Neon Saltwater, the band Crater, Sara Long, Rachel Ravitch, Kate Wallich. There are too many to name. 
More broadly I'm really into weavers: Meghan Shimek, New Friends, Hannah WaldronHermine Van Dijck, Erin M. Riley, the Bauhaus ladies (namely Anni Albers and Gunta Stolzl), Gee's Bend Quilts, David Hockney, Nick Cave, Kehinde Wiley, Kindah Khalidy.

 Hannah Ruth Levi's Loom and a work in progress.

Hannah Ruth Levi's Loom and a work in progress.


Thanks to Hannah for giving us a little insight into her work and new artists for us to check out! Be sure to come see Levi's show at Velouria through the end of July. You can follow her on instagram @decadeofindulgence and find her on the web at

Lauren Stelling x Archetype

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Lauren Stelling is "Island Grown" as she puts it. Originally from Whidbey Island, Washington, Lauren now lives in Seattle, though her work still reflects the wild that informed so much of her youth

In her forthcoming show with Velouria, Lauren is showing a series of wilderness photographs. Beautiful ladies in sparse desert landscapes, a sense of adventure, longing, and reflection permeate these environments. Through these images Lauren cultivates an ethos that is reflected in her vintage clothing & home goods pop-up, Archetype. Natural fibers and simple silhouettes dominate the collection, like her images the vintage pieces are quiet and minimal.


Hannah, who helps coordinate Velouria's events, recently had the opportunity to ask Lauren a few questions about her process and inspiration, their correspondence is below:


Velouria: What is your current medium & how did you come to find it?

LaurenStelling: My current medium is photography and my first experience with it was when I was 11-years-old. My dad gave me his old 35mm Nikon FE2 for a six-week summer photography class, which focused on basic photography skills and darkroom process. I learned how to develop my own film and print images in the darkroom.

V: Who are some people who inspire you (artists, designers, writers)?

LS: I follow a lot of photographers' work and am constantly inspired by friends. The people I follow the most closely are Isaac Martin, Chloe Gilstrap, Leela Cyd, Aran Goyoaga, Chris Schoonover, Christina Marie Hicks, and Carmen Daneshmandi.

V: How do you work?

LS: I think I work best when I have a million projects going at once. I'd like to think of myself as having a pretty good grasp on multi-tasking, so I like to test that whenever I can.

V: What is your favorite part of the process?

LS: I'm an over-planner, almost to a fault, but I think the initial stage of brainstorming is my favorite. I like working through ideas and testing out different concepts. Working with other people on this step is also fun and I love collaborating with others and feeding off ideas.

V: Awesome! You recently started a vintage pop-up brand, how did that come about?

LS: I've always loved thrifting and discovering new, unique finds. I'd love to say Archetype came from my love of this, but it was kind of a two-part thing.

I was at a point with photography where I was getting bored of the subjects I was shooting and wanted to try my hand out in more fashion-inspired photography. I'm no stylist, but the idea of using thrifted items in modern photo shoots sounded like a fun challenge. I also wanted to work on a project that would push me to do more graphic design and branding on my own terms. I decided to start the shop as a vessel for trying something completely out of my comfort zone that would also be fun.

V: So, why "Archetype"?

LS: By definition an "archetype" is an original that has been imitated. I felt this was a fitting name for a vintage shop because in fashion almost everything is a copy of something else. I'm trying to focus on finding and selling good quality, modern clothes that happen to be second hand. I primarily only buy cotton, linen, wool, and silk. I try to avoid synthetic fabrics, although if something is really cool I'll let it sneak in.

Another big part of Archetype is not overcharging the customer. It can be so disheartening, as a mid-twenty-year-old freelancer, when I go into beautiful boutiques but can't afford any of the clothes. I always leave with the phrase "some day" lingering in my mind. I instead use these shops as inspiration. My goal is to provide people with an option to buy beautiful, unique clothes at a super affordable price. I like to think this is my contribution to slow fashion for people of my generation and tax bracket.

V: What do you hope to be doing in 5 years? And how does what you're doing now (photography/Archetype) fit into that?

LS: In five years I hope to be working in some creative field, whether that be photography/videography, art direction, or even project management. Ideally I'd love to own my own small media company and provide creative services to local businesses. I think photography and Archetype are giving me a lot of tools to start my own business and learn about what it means to self-manage and motivate. I think at this point I'm simply trying to fill my toolbox with all of my favorite tools and hope it leads to a dream job.

V: Alright, last question: what is your favorite summer spot?

LS: Off Whidbey Island at 4:30am on a fishing boat with my dad.


Thank you so much Lauren!

We can't wait for this show & pop-up! Join Velouria & Lauren Thursday, June 2nd from 6 - 9pm for the opening reception.

Find Lauren on Instagram @laurenstelling & @archetype_goods