Lived In Series ~ Kelly Brown

Lived In Series ~ Kelly Brown

January 05, 2022

Our Lived In Series was created to capture our clothing on a series of women, all pursuing their own creative paths, to see how they live in Kordal. So many women in our lives inspire us with their drive, their talent, and their genuine sense of self. These are the women we design for. They remind us of why we want to design clothing in the first place: to create pieces that encourage comfort, ease, and the unique and honest beauty in each and every one of us.


We were first introduced to Kelly's work midway through 2021, a year into the pandemic and dreaming of the days we could travel to wild places again. Kelly is a photographer who splits her time between British Columbia and Joshua Tree, California, and it's her ability to beautifully capture these vastly different landscapes that drew us to her work. For this month's lived in series we caught up with Kelly to learn more about her inspirations, building an Earth House in Joshua Tree and 
becoming a mother.


You split your time between British Columbia and Southern California, how did you end up in these two locations and what draws you to them?

I was living in California when I met my husband about 10 years ago.  He was traveling down the west coast from Canada (where he is from) visiting natural builders and intentional communities and exploring the coastline in his bright orange GMC camper van. We met on Christmas Day in Slab City and it was honestly love at first sight. I hopped in the van and we’ve been splitting our time between Canada and California ever since. I'm grateful for the balance between spending time in such vastly different landscapes.

What draws you to photography as an art form? What photographers or artists have informed your practice? 

For me, photography is a practice in being present and a meditation in seeing beauty. My background is in photojournalism and being immersed in the work of documentary photographers at a young age really made an impression on me. The work and life of Larry Towell has definitely been the biggest inspiration to me. While my work is nothing like his, I’ve been deeply moved by how he sees the world and how he presents his work. As a documentary photographer, he still brings his own artistic lens and unique presentation to his work - it feels true to the story but also deeply personal, something very different than most journalistic approaches and the part of journalism I always struggled with. I saw him years ago showing the work he had done on documenting Mennonite communities and the experience has really stuck with me. As the images played on a large screen, he told stories, played music and recited poetry. The experience was so rich and inspiring. It showed me how art and life can blend seamlessly. 

Larry Towell | The Mennonites. Zacatecas, La Batea, Mexico. 1994

You've created a beautiful portfolio as a wedding photographer, can you tell us a little bit about that aspect of your work? What's the most rewarding and most difficult part about capturing a wedding? 

If I’m being honest, I never imagined nor wanted to be a wedding photographer when I had started my career, it just kind of happened. I started assisting some wedding photographers when I moved to Los Angeles and got really into it. I loved how I could use so many aspects of photography all in the same day. The heart of my approach is journalistic, as I want each of my couples to feel seen and captured in their truest form. Having a front row seat into their relationship, their families and how they have chosen to celebrate is really fascinating to me and I feel deeply grateful to be trusted in that space. I also love that I get to do portraiture, hone in on beautiful details and end the night on the dance floor. The down side is definitely all the computer work in post. Most of my day is spent editing photos in front of a computer. It’s way more screen time than I would like but everything has trade offs. 

You and your husband created a beautiful home in Joshua Tree called the Earth House, it appears that all of the building materials, furniture, and overall design was carefully considered and hand made. Can you tell us more about this process and what's your favorite spot in the home?

Earth House was the first project that Bryce and I did together that was just for us so it feels really special and reflective of how we want to create. The walls are all finished in earthen plaster from local clays and sand that we sifted from our yard. Bryce built all the furniture including the bed, built in kitchenette and desert masonry side tables.  We found most of the objects in the room either second hand from antique/thrift shops or from small makers and all the textiles are natural fibers. My favourite part of the space is the bathroom sink which we made from an old wooden dough trough that we found in an antique store. 

You've recently become a mother, congrats! How has pregnancy and motherhood changed your creativity and work? What was the most unexpected change? 

Thank you! Motherhood has been a big and beautiful transition. I’ve learned to be creative with my time and energy because both are limited these days. I truly loved being pregnant and appreciated using that time to do a lot of self reflection and care. Once my son was born, I was lucky to have the first 6 months off so I could really sink into motherhood with no distractions.  Now that I’ve returned to work, it’s challenging balancing both my work load and showing up the way I want to as a mother but I’m finding my groove and I'm lucky to have a really amazing and supportive partner. As for an unexpected change... I've loved photos my entire life but since becoming a mother I have a deeper appreciation for how they can really bring you back to a memory or ignite a deep emotion. Time is a thief but imagery grants you moments of time travel. 

What do you look for in your clothing? Are there particular textures, silhouettes or color palettes that you gravitate towards? 

From a purely aesthetic standpoint, I’m drawn to neutrals and earth tones and always natural fibres. I’m a weaver, so I also like a bit of texture with some thicker weaves and subtle patterns. When I go thrifting, which I love to do, I can scan a rack and quickly find pieces of interest by noticing color and texture. It's a bit of a game for me and it’s so rewarding finding good clothes second hand, not to mention better for the environment. If my clothes aren’t second hand, then it’s important to me that they are made in an ethical way including living wages for the makers, natural fibres and dyes, recycled or deadstock fabric and a commitment to sustainability. This is one of the reasons I love Kordal so much. Timeless clothing that doesn’t hurt the environment. 

What's your perfect day?

Waking up early to see the sunrise, eating a big breakfast, spending time outside in the sunshine, going for a swim, making an elaborate dinner, getting a foot rub and snuggling in bed with my guys (my husband, baby boy and pup) 


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