Introducing CARMEL | Interview Feature with Carmel Elizabeth

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Most of us would know her as Bree. Bree Holloway from Tea and Bree, and the sister of Elizabeth Rose from Living on Literary Lane. Bree has guest-posted on my blog more than once, and she always writes with a serious maturity and dedication to her convictions and understanding of the important things in the art of living and writing that has made me always especially enjoy staying up to date with her delightful blog where she shares about her writing, style and art and all that good stuff. She is such a sweet girl! According to her unique-ish name, when I first found her blog, I imagined Bree's parents had a number of things on their mind when they named her ;) - from a Bree cheese, to a village with an inn called The Prancing Pony, or even to a more delightful namesake - the talking Narnian horse called Bree from The Horse and His Boy!

No matter that. Actually, Bree's real name is Carmel Elizabeth (isn't that so lovely? <3), and she has just started a new project or website called "CARMEL". Today, I get to spend a virtual tea-time-and-chat with Carmel and ask her a few questions about that new project, and her love of the arts. Oh, but first, here is a little description about the website she's just launched. 

CARMEL.com is a place where interests in writing, fashion, health and graphic design converge. It's a celebration of art and beauty and elegance. It's learning to be edifying and uplifting. It's life lived to it's fullest, bodies filled with the best, minds flowing with inspiration, mouths speaking words of wisdom and intelligence and truth. We're here to be the best versions of ourselves, and I welcome you to join. All the love. <3

  1. Hello Carmel, and welcome to Fullness of Joy blog! It is lovely to have you on. . Can you please tell us a little of what inspired you to launch CARMEL.com, and why? What can we most look forward to from the website?
It was the combination of a lot of things that inspired me to create the website. I have a lot of different interests - you may have noticed - and it’s always only been a matter of how to combine them. I prayed about it for many months; after the idea appeared, I prayed for many more months that it was the will of the Lord for me to launch it. In the end, it was only natural. :)

I’m excited to share a myriad of things, all equally fantastic. (But one particular Spring Lookbook is on my mind.)

  1. Cast your mind back, what was your first artistic love? (first hobby)

I’ve always loved sketching and painting. As a five-year-old I was ardent about what looked good and what didn’t, and while my fashion tastes were yet to be developed, they were certainly distinct. I have been writing since the same age, though I no longer perform my works as plays for my parents.

  1. At what age did you first start writing and develop a love for wordcrafting? Was there someone or something that influenced you to start this journey?
As I said, I started writing around five. Elizabeth and I would spend all afternoon in the guest bedroom writing plays (inspired by the March sisters, sometimes she would write and I sketch illustrations) that we would later perform for our parents. We had our own Pickwick Papers that we made weekly for a while. We copied out passages from Little Women for some sections; others we would write on our own. I would say Elizabeth was inspired by Little Women, and I by her.

  1. Isaac Newton was known to have said, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.” Who have been the giants or “Greats” that have inspired your writing, love of art and perhaps even your life thus far? 

Lewis and Tolkien remain my lifelong favorites. Austin Kleon has become a recent favorite for lifestyle inspiration; and Audrey Hepburn - my favorite style icon. One of the books that has most changed me is Cry, The Beloved Country by Alan Paton.

  1. This is the bane of a literary interview question, but can you name five of your most well-loved authors, and why you love them so much?

Again: Lewis and Tolkien, as well as Chesterton, Sutcliff and Shakespeare. I love them because they taught me my craft. “The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can’t refuse you as an apprentice. You can learn whatever you want from them. They left their lesson plans in their work.” -Austin Kleon

  1. How would you best describe your artistic style? What makes you passionate about what you do?

My style is bright, sharp and simplistic. My passion is inspired by everything: people, places, stories around me, the Word of God.

  1. Can you tell us a little more about your graphic-design work?

When I first started blogging, I disliked the premade blogger templates; thus, I taught myself how to create my own. Somehow that became a business, but honestly I have no idea how. ;) My favorite part is creating graphics - which ultimately is just another medium through which I can pour my artistic inspiration.

  1. Well, let us have it out straight. Is HTML and all that internet coding as hard as it really looks? Are classes worth taking to learn that magical art?

HTML and CSS are not difficult. JavaScript is, but not impossible. If you have an interest in it, by all means: go after it! It should be said, though, that it is like learning another language: and it does take time.

  1. What are your thoughts on fashion in general?

Fashion is my way of making a clear first impression. I think clothing is a wonderful way to express yourself.

  1. Do you have any plans in pursuing your love of style, and fashion in the future? Are you on Polyvore? ;)

Who can know the future? I don’t make plans more than a few weeks in advance, simply because I invariably end up having to change them - so no, I have absolutely no clue where this will take me (and that’s the fun part!). My Polyvore is here.

  1. I understand that ballet dancing has been something you’ve done for several years, as well as enjoyed. What does ballet dancing mean to you, and how much work does it take for you to enjoy doing it?

Ballet is the backbone behind my dance training, but my favorite styles are Contemporary and Modern. I love to be able to take the discipline and precision of ballet and unroll it, piece by piece into the purposeful freedom of Contemporary. Dance is my release at the end of the day; while it does take up many hours of my week, and it is by no means easy, it’s worth it to me.

  1. Have you performed in any ballet or musical events?

My dance company performs twice a year, but these are only compilations, and I have yet to do a proper ballet.

  1. How do you feel your Christian faith affects your artistic work in general, and allows you to express your worldview of life?
“I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” Christianity changes the shade of everything I do; it is inescapable, and it is a beauty I cannot claim to have produced.

  1. If you had, you had to choose between the different art forms you love (writing, graphic design, fashion, ballet dancing—we’ll leave out the reading, because we all know that’s a necessity of life!), which one would you choose?

Writing. It is the foundation of all I do.

  1. How do you personally deal with many of the secular/ungodly influences that unhappily tarnish the beauty of the Arts in our day and age, as you study and learn, i.e. postmodernism, immortalization, etc?

I’ve never been much interested in traditional art: if is is ungodly, is has never affected me, since I do not much dwell in it.

  1. As I understand you write in a few genres, including allegorical fantasy. In writing in the fantasy genre, do you hold to any convictions or guidelines on how you approach things like magic, sorcery and allegory in your books, as well as drawing the distinction between good and evil?

I write as the story produces itself in my head; if I am doing my job, a reader should have no trouble distinguishing right from wrong.

  1. Can you tell us a bit more about your writing, and what makes you passionate about it? (also, a few snippets from your work would be a treat!)

I write, quite simply, because I have stories in my head that will not sit quiet. From there comes the passion.

“Would you only come with me, perhaps I can explain.”
Years of common sense – eighteen of them, exact – crumbled at his suggestion, a dry moth-wing between closing fingers. She had nothing left, nothing left at all, but to follow.  -Psithurism

  1. Do you have any strange writing habits/quirks (like standing on your head for research or plotting assassinations in the shower)?

I bite my nails while I write, and hate myself for it later. All my assassinations are plotted in the shower. XD

  1. Can you tell us what are your current favourite movie(s), TV show(s), and/or book(s)? (Stress is on the current, of course.)

I’ve loved Downton Abbey so far - but otherwise I watch little more TV. As for movies, I’ve recently been catching up on superheroes - so Captain America and The Amazing Spiderman are some relatively recent favorites. As for books, my most recent favorites are Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon, The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins, and of course Fly Away Home and Plenilune.

  1. What is your greatest hope for CARMEL.com? Can you tell us a bit about the new writing, graphic-design and fashion project(s) you’re working on now?

I would love to inspire people to live beautifully.
I’m working on countless projects at the moment, as is my habit, but I’m most excited to share what I’m calling #inthepink. (You’ll have to come to the blog on Friday to find out more).

  1. A favourite life quote?

“Oh, I’ll think of something.”
“You’re just making this up as you go along!”
“Yep. But I do it brilliantly.”

  1. After school, what are your plans in pursuing your love of the Arts?

Again, I have few. I would love to continue doing what I’m doing, but without the distraction of homework, for the rest of my life (and find a wonderful man to do them with me). Oh. And I’d like to go to Rome.

  1. In ending, do you have any special words of advice or something you would like to share with fellow young artists?

Wake up and live. Time won’t wait for you to finish high school, or go to college, or to feel ready, or whatever else is holding you back. Pursue your passions now, while you’re still busy, because when the time comes, you’ll be busy with something else.

Thank you for joining us today, Carmel! Congratulations on the launching of your new website. It is very exciting!


ABOUT CARMEL:
Hello! My name is Carmel, though you probably know me better as Bree, or Bree Holloway. That's alright, I'll still answer to it - I went by Bree on this little blog world for over 4 years, and in many ways it's become a part of who I am. But before Bree Holloway, or Blogger, or any of all this, it was just me. Carmel. I could tell you about how I'm different than most people you probably know, but I'm sure you've read that 100 times over. Instead, I'll tell you what I love.

My first pursuit is Christ; in Lewis's words, "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else." If I can lead one person to the saving grace of God, if this journey of self-discovery encourages others to join me, I've done something worthy, despite countless mistakes - and that's firstly what this place is about. As for the rest? I'm a prolific reader, writer of allegorical fantasy, ballet dancer, graphic designer, style-lover, bright-lipstick enthusiast and high-heel wearer. Chocolate is my love-language.

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