“I am proud of myself for listening closely to that quiet whisper of instinct and for taking a chance on what I love.” - Ashley Kane Harper
While many of us found inspiration in mood boards made of magazine tears, Ashley Kane turned her love of fashion, interiors and design into early iterations of the successful blog she runs today. Finding distinction in the everyday - in moments of beauty, joy, ritual and reflection - she honours a life well-lived or in the words of Henry Miller, the spirit of creativity that makes ‘living itself an art’.
Currently renovating her first home in California’s East Bay, we caught up with Ashley to hear about the renewal of change, trusting artistic instinct and the pivotal moment in her career when she took a leap of faith…
Physically, where are you right now? Are you at home, on holiday, in the office or elsewhere?
Currently sitting in my light-filled home office! It's a bluebird day after several weeks of heavy rain and gloom—mother nature needed it! But Californians are particularly tight with the sunshine.
How does your current environment inform your creative process and what is inspiring you right now?
My surroundings make such an impact on my energy and creativity—my office is my work of art in our house. Filled with special pieces I have thoughtfully collected and make me feel joyful. I have loved interior design since I was a little girl. I was constantly moving things around in my room since age 10. My dad lovingly recalled at my wedding how he constantly heard furniture being moved and was on edge for the entirety of these frequent refreshes!
With a new year comes a blank canvas... and that always excites and inspires me. So much potential and possibility ahead.
For every good idea there are many more we reject. Do you ever salvage ideas that didn’t come to fruition at a later stage or do you just move on?
Timing is everything. Quite often I will have an idea I love yet it doesn't come to life as I imagined or didn't quite get to it. But the really brilliant stuff will usually find its way back in a more fitting and flow-y way.
What have been some personal milestones that you have achieved outside the expectation or perceived expectation of others?
I stuck with it and had several blogs over the years. I moved to San Francisco after school in 2010 and decided to start fresh. Juggling my site along with 9-5 marketing jobs over the years in the infancy of blogger x brand collaborations. I eventually was able to leave my salary behind and take a leap of faith into running my blog full-time in 2016.
A lot of people in my life were hesitant for me, and I definitely felt fear for the unknown! But I am proud of myself for listening closely to that quiet whisper of instinct and for taking a chance on what I love. My life has completely changed over the last 6 years. Beyond what I could have imagined for myself as a young girl at a bulky Microsoft desktop—saving inspiration of a dream world she hoped to have someday.
What have been some of your most profound personal challenges and have they ever informed your creative process or interrupted it?
In that first year of running my blog full-time, I completely lost sight of my creative lens. My love of blogging and my livelihood had collided and I was new to this. There was now pressure and expectations added to a lighthearted creative outlet. I had found myself reading articles on "how to run a blog" type of content... and in doing so, wound up feeling so lost.
It took me a few months to flush all of the suggestions and tips I had consumed out of my system, and eventually learned such a valuable lesson. There are no rules in the world of creating... authenticity and making things up as you go is what works for me and is my secret sauce. Stay in your lane and create from within—and the magic flows.
Ashley's East Bay home featuring the Rachel Donath Wave Fire Screen
If you analysed the most important factors in your success, what would say these have been?
Staying true to myself. I do my work because I truly love it. I think people can really sense these days if intentions come from a genuine place.
What are your personal and creative rituals, if any?
Personal: Pizza Friday with my family, pilates, journaling, picking up fresh flowers, gardening, setting moods (music playing, candles lit—these little gestures add so much to our routines)—basically things where I can escape and my mind goes quiet while I focus on a task at hand. These things fill my cup!
Creative: Design book perusing, clipping imagery for my office vision board, Artist Date's (adopted from The Artist's Way book)—things that bring on new ideas and perspective.
Where do you go to find creative refuge?
Travelling always does this for me in massive ways. Need to get back on this train! Getting outside my comfort zone in general...
If you could go back in time and begin again without knowing what you do now, would you?
I wouldn’t. Life is a tapestry—of small and big moments woven together that helped shape who I am, all of the messy and beautiful—but ultimately led me to where I believe I wholeheartedly belong.
What piece of wisdom currently resonates with you and how does it inform your approach to life right now?
I heard this quote on Oprah Supersoul podcast and it really stuck with me:
"Purpose is not static, it’s dynamic. Purpose continues to be applied throughout your life. Your gifts, talents, abilities given to you remain consistent—but how you apply them changes as you live life from one level to another, and you go through all different stages of life."
Having moved from the city to the suburbs during the pandemic and becoming a new mom, I have felt such a big internal shift. Like, an old version is gone and a new one is being created. Hearing those words brought me a lot of excitement. As I've mentioned throughout our chat, I love rearranging, change, and fresh starts! And while being on an unfamiliar path can feel uncomfortable, I choose to trust and continue to fill my world with things that light me up.
The Rachel Donath Archae Mirror pictured left and a treasured moment with daughter, Grace.
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