ELEVEN SIX talks to Dana McClure of Ravenwood at their incredible, converted, Upstate barn-space. Ravenwood has hosted and curated a series of weekend pop-up shops…where farming, food and design meet in the most perfectly, serene way!
The last pop-up, farm shop of the season is this long weekend… Oct 12/13/14….don’t miss out!
Photography by Delaine Dacko
How did the world of Ravenwood evolve?
Ravenwood began as a collaboration between my husband and I when we first moved upstate in 2010. It’s an attempt to integrate our two worlds – his in agriculture and culinary arts, mine in art and design. We’ve since hosted farm dinners and a farm shop out of our 1850s barn in Kerhonkson, NY. It’s a chance for us to showcase the work of our favorite NY-based growers and makers, including our own – Chris’s homegrown produce and my mixed media art. We’re so lucky to call the Hudson Valley our home with its heightened seasonality and rich history of artisans and farming. Each season, the experience we create in our space changes, but the central focus has always been to inspire creative exchange and to celebrate time and place.
What inspires you day to day?
I’m inspired by all the creative people surrounding me. It seems like just about everyone we know moved up here to carve out time to make something special and focus on their craft – growers, brewers, distillers, painters, potters, textile designers, the list goes on and on. I get so much creative fulfillment and inspiration from those close to me who are fully present and dedicated to their work, whatever that may be.
Also, it’s impossible not to be guided by the natural world around us. We grow a substantial amount of food and flowers on our property and we also harvest 4 acres of maple trees at the start of each spring to make maple syrup. So, this time spent in our garden and deep in our woods, influences my work for sure – the shifting palettes, textures, and varying light each season. It gets more magical each year. Thought I’d be in the city forever so loving the country this much is a pretty big surprise for me. Slowing down and experiencing this all with my kids has opened me up to a whole new visual vocabulary to explore in the studio.
What are your dreams for the future of Ravenwood?
I really hope that Ravenwood continues to be an open, flexible container of sorts for us to explore our ever-shifting ideas about food + art. I love that our space is cyclical and seasonal so that it can change each year. We have so many far-fetched dreams for Ravenwood but try to take it one small step at a time, to slowly chip away at a creative hub that we can share and enjoy with the community.
What are the highlights of life and community Upstate?
When we first moved upstate, I feared we would lose the community we had built around our work and life in Brooklyn. But a whole new community opened up for us up here. Finding others who were starting a family and trying to carve our their space and open businesses has helped us develop deep friendships that have offered us so much support and encouragement – both personally and professionally. Having the time to really nurture these relationships is what I would say is the biggest highlight of life upstate. Life is still busy for sure, but there seems to be less distractions to keep you from truly connecting with those around you.
What does the ELEVEN SIX brand mean to you and what is your favorite piece season and why?
I love wearing Catherine’s pieces. I think I’m up to five of them! Each fall I look forward to wearing Eleven Six sweaters. They can all be worn in a relaxed or polished way which fits my lifestyle of working from a home studio and interacting with guests in our shop. The craftsmanship of these pieces makes me feel so luxurious when I wear them – like I’m prioritizing myself and that feels good. My favorite piece from the new collection is the Caroline sweater. It’s a collaboration with abstract painter Caroline Denervaud and I love how Catherine was able to capture the rhythm and movement of her forms in a wearable piece. It’s so nice to feel wrapped up in the artistry of two talented women when I wear this piece that is made from the absolute softest, air-spun alpaca.