Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Fashion, Art, Life with Paris Gerrard- CHARCOAL ALLEY

All photos taken from charcoalalley.com

When I choose people to interview for my blog; it's someone who inspires me in new and exciting ways, someone who brings passion to everything they do, someone who takes on life's journey with a smile and 2 steps forward and finally someone I admire and look up too. For me Paris takes on all those qualities and more. We have been going through this blogging journey together and even though we are half a world away she still brings such an energy in everything she does or says. 

She has set quite a standard when it comes to photo shoots haha, anyway who can lay on the beach in shimmery green clothes and look like a real mermaid is doing something right in my books :P but not only that but she has such an intriguing and passionate way of writing.  Taking you beyond the words and letters and through a swirl of emotions and thoughts yourself. She is a rare creative being that you won't come past many times in life.

So it has been a long time waiting that I interview her and give you a taste of what she is all about..... have a look through her blog to see for yourself her truly goddess beauty and passion for  fashion, art & life.

Where did the name 'Charcoal Alley' come from? what does it mean to you?
The name Charcoal Alley resonates on a lot of different levels for me. First of all, as anartist, charcoal is an amazing, primal, medium of expression. There is also theconnection to burnt ashes and the myth of the Phoenix arising from something that hasbeen destroyed -- but arising in a more powerful and dynamic form. Prior to startingCharcoal Alley, I was going through a major breakup. Things ended badly, and I was leftwith a broken heart. I felt confused, lost and vulnerable. In a way, this blog andInstagram saved me, and I rose from the metaphorical ashes stronger than ever. CharcoalAlley gave me a creative outlet to channel my energies, and actually remind myself ofwhat I believe. I added the “alley” aspect, because, I love the idea of adventuring downan unexplored alley or passageway, and discovering something totally unexpected andmagical.

You are such a creative being in so many ways; are there certain influences orexperiences that have gotten you to where you are and made you who you are?

One of my earliest childhood memories is of my mother handing me a big, hand-tooled,turquoise, leather book, with blank pages, commanding me to draw. I loved that book andhow it made me feel that my early, artistic expressions were special and valued. Also, Iwas lucky enough to be born into a family of artists where art was always appreciated andencouraged. As a result, a lot of opportunities have been made available to me.
On the other hand, I was not your typical child. I was an art nerd, awkward, introverted,and eccentric. I did things my way and in my own time. It wasn’t always easy as a kid tostand my own ground, but that’s what I did. I home-schooled, gardened, cooked, painted,and taught myself graphic design. All of our past experiences, whether good or bad, moldus and shape us into our own greatness. The challenging and painful times are essentiallynecessary for deepening and developing what is often the best in us, includingcompassion and empathy for others.

What is your all time favorite quote that you live by?

James Taylor said it best, “The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.” I think it’sreally that simple.My sister Zoe is a poet at heart. She recently wrote to me, “Life is short. And so, I amchallenging myself--to let go; to throw all of my expectations out the window. I inviteyou to join me in this challenge. To free yourself from the conditioned thoughts that weigh you down, to open your eyes and your hearts, to the astonishing perfection of thismoment”. I think that this is really a beautiful way to live--the only true way to be free.

Your fashion style is quite boho-luxe- Who do you draw inspiration from and what areyour top 4 favorite brands?
My inspiration comes from everywhere: Travel, art, music, fashion blogs, and nature;nature is incredibly inspirational for me. Walking the beach or hiking through themountains, I am always inspired by the harmonious patterns, amazing colors, and naturalformations that are inherent in earthly elements. Currently my three favorite brands are:Spell, Indah Clothing, Depetra Jewelry & Modern Vice. www.spelldesigns.com,  http://www.indahclothing.comhttp://depetra-2.myshopify.com
I love the boots by Modern Vice. http://www.modernvice.com > They are rockin' my world these days. 

What gets you out of bed in the morning and gets you through the day, What inspires you?

Honestly, I have been having such a blast creating Charcoal Alley. The possibilities seemendless. I have met so many amazing, talented and creative people, with many of whomI am collaborating. I have also had many people share with me how my blog hasinspired their life. That makes everything worth it. I love the idea that my personaljourney is having a positive impact for others.

If you could go back in time and live in another era when would it be and why?

I would head back to the age of antiquity. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am acomplete jewelry addict. Last summer, I lived in Paris, and I had the joy of visiting manymuseums. I fell in love with relics and jewelry from the Egyptian era. Their designs areso unique and, of course, hand made. I like to think that I may have been an Egyptianqueen in a past life -- he he.I would love to visit the Silk Road and experience all that amazing trade that was takingplace during that era. What an exciting time of expansion and interaction of so manydifferent cultures discovering one another. Surreal.

What do you want and wish for the future of 'Charcoal Alley' and yourself as an artist?
I aim to inspire, and Charcoal Alley is a place for me to to explore and share the thingsthat I love through art, fashion, and life. It’s my space to continue to discover who I am. Ihope that people find my blog an exciting place that can encourage them to go for theirdreams, as well as trust that anything is possible. I have a vision for my blog, but I amtrying to stay open and just enjoy the ride. Like a winding river, we are in the time ofrapid changes. Trusting in the idea. that something bigger and brighter is guiding me tobe my best self, helps me to go with the flow. 

I hope you found some inspiration for the day.... exciting things to come this week!

love Leana xxxx


  1. Love this, it's all so very inspiring :) I'll definitely be checking out her blog

    MacK @ SoulMakes Blog

  2. Awesome interview. x

    <3 Melissa

  3. Such an inspiration ...


    Coline ♡

  4. Love your blog! Very nice pictures!

  5. What a great article and I will be certainly taking a look at this site so thanks for sharing.It may what I've looking for.
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  6. good fashion...image composition is outstanding. well done.

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