ode boutique

Artist Interview

Erin McNally of Tiny Anvil

September 4, 2018

There's an ocean about Erin: a depth and fathomless calm, a wild beauty, a quiet wisdom and a spirit that inspires wonder. She's someone with whom you'd want to travel, garden, sip tea on a porch swing. A friend and artist at Ode since we opened our doors 8 years ago, Erin McNally started out making sculptural leather earrings and has since grown her Tiny Anvil collection into something more intricately expansive: architectural and etched brass and stone pieces inspired by the natural world. What we love about Erin's jewelry is that each design is so unique, and yet so wearable. There's a simplicity to each piece that makes her pieces so universally beloved. Join us for a night with Erin, where she'll be featuring one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces. Friday, September 14th, 6-8pm, at Ode.

What inspires you and your designs?
I am inspired by the enduring solid designs of old simple tools. I am also inspired by natural formations and symmetries. My vision for the jewelry I design spans beyond aesthetic and adornment. I strive to create pieces that are beautiful but, in some cases, I am more interested in making pieces that the wearer can imbue with their own meaning, connecting their sense of identity to the object, and even deriving a sense of power and protection from the piece. I have always been interested in self expression as a form of empowerment. I am drawn to jewelry that is linked to cultural and social expressions of power and emotion- talismans, ritual adornments, signifiers of commitment, faith, loss, etc. I am interested in the ability jewelry has to wordlessly express so much about who we are. I make my jewelry with the hope that it can become the wearers everyday piece, keeping them anchored to themselves, and giving them a way to express themselves to the world around them without words.

Is there a “Tiny Anvil” in your collection of tools?
Several (wink).

You are a bit of a fish. Talk to us about the importance of water to you. Where’s your favorite place to swim?
I am a pisces so water is in my stars. I get a deep sense of peace when I am in an expansive spaces so the ocean is incredibly comforting for me to look at and swim in. One of my favorite places to swim is at Flamenco Beach on Culebra, Puerto Rico. There is a stretch where the waves are big and the break is shallow and, if you duck under at just the right time, you can propel up out of the crest of the wave. When it crashes water rains back on you in a gentle sprinkle and often creates a momentary rainbow. Its unbelievably fun. Around here in Western MA I love a swimming hole in Conway.

What’s your spirit stone?
I am drawn to the stones that contain light like labradorite and opal. I think they are magical.

A wandering spirit and adventurer, you have traveled to and lived in many different places. Where is your “heart spot”? I learned a lot about knowing people from the heart more than from the head living in Culebra, PR so I’d say that is a “heart spot”. But I also have been gardening at the Northampton Community Gardens on Burts Pit Rd for 10 years and my heart is always nourished by that space.

If you could describe your aesthetic in one sentence, what would it be?
Simple grounded enduring and functional design with balanced embellishment.

What famous or influential person would you love to adorn with Tiny Anvil?
Alive: Solange
Departed: Frida Kahlo

From your early leather earrings to your current intricate metalwork, your collection has really transformed through the years. How has your art and your philosophy evolved?
A lot of the evolution of my style has coincided with the progression of my skills as a metalsmith. Initially, as I was self-teaching, I was very experimental with materials. Eventually, as I started to dig in to more traditional bench work, I was able to build my aesthetic around more simplicity. The knowledge I gained helped me to achieve impact with less detail/embellishment. Now, as I continue to advance my skills, I am able to bring in more detail while maintaining solidity and integrity. I think there is a common thread that links my aesthetic throughout its evolution and now, having established an extensive line of work, I feel I am able to branch out again into experimenting with materials and drawing in bolder elements like the stones I am incorporating. I have consistently wanted to have my jewelry be a part of individual empowerment through self expression, and to make pieces that feel grounding and anchoring, so my philosophical views for jewelry have only become better articulated as I acquire more skill. 

What grows in your garden?
Currently tomato, tomatillo, husk cherry, delicata squash, zucchini, jalepeno and anaheim peppers, watermelon, eggplant, kale, cucamelons, raspberries, sunflowers, tons of herbs, echinacea, weeds- lots of weeds. Also marigolds, I’m hoping to have enough to make a garland.

Three years from today, where are you and what are you making or doing?
I’ll be living close to the ocean, at least part of the year and I will be making jewelry out of a space that will have a small showroom/shop where I can feature other makers from my community. 

Artist Interview

LADY JANE: Esperanza Friel

July 10, 2018


When Jocie Adams of the band Arc Iris wrote to us and said, "Do you know Lady Jane? We played a show with her recently. She is from Nothampton and is great!", we had our mission: find this woman, and ask her to play at Ode. And so it came to be. Esperanza Friel, aka "Lady Jane", will be performing at Ode this Friday, and we couldn't be more ready for some good local music on a hot summer night. See you soon! 

What’s the origin story of “Lady Jane”?
The origin story of Lady Jane is a long and winding one, but essentially it boils down to that one song by the stones called "Lady Jane" and how one night at an open mic I had no idea what to put down on the list other than my own name, and out of the blue I started to hum that tune and wrote down Lady Jane on the list.

What inspires you to write a song?
I get inspired at the strangest moments. When I'm grocery shopping or making dinner or out with friends sometimes a melody will pop into my head, and I'll excuse myself to go record it on my voice memos on my phone. My heart and all that anchors it give me most of my material, but sometimes I'll write songs and I have no idea where they came from.

Last time you laughed:
The last time I laughed was with my boyfriend on the beach today. He always makes me laugh—no matter the mood I'm in, he always finds a way to make me smile, and he's the funniest person I know. 

Guilty pleasure:
BBQ potato chips. 

Go-to summer album/song:
My go-to album this summer has been Super Trouper by ABBA. It's bouncy and joyful and just sounds like summer to me. Honorable mention goes to Caroline Rose's album, Loner, which has also been on constant repeat. 

What are your favorite summer spots in Western Mass?
Favorite swim spots are the Chesterfield Gorge and Chapel Falls.

What do you wear when you want to look and feel powerful?
To feel and look powerful I wear my vintage Levi mom jeans, a white t shirt, my Blundstone boots, and all of my jewelry, which consists of the four rings I wear everyday and two necklaces that I made with small charms that mean the world to me. 

Three years from today, where do you want to be and what will you be doing?
In three years I hope to have graduated from the MSW program at Smith (where I am currently a student this summer) and still making music. Doing both this summer has been a struggle, but it's proof to me that this is how I want my life to always be. Full and vibrant and busy and full of love. And if nothing happens the way I want it to, than at least I hope I am happy whatever I am doing and wherever I am.

Who are your music icons?
My music icons are Stevie Nicks and Joni Mitchell. After my first heartbreak in high school, Blue was the album I turned to. I named my first car Stevie Nicks. I listen to so much Fleetwood Mac it's insane.

What/whom do you sing for?
I sing for a lot of people. People I've been and people I've known and people I know right now at this moment in time. Music is kind of like that for me. Timeless and nostalgic and full of everything all at once.

Artist Interview

Happy Planting w/ Alison Annes

June 9, 2018

 Alison Annes is her own bouquet: a dynamic arrangement of all forms of beauty, adding flourishes of color to the day. Florist by trade, life-enthusiast by nature, and an expert in "what looks good together", her expertise keeps plants and customers alike happy (and artfully arranged) at Ode. Everyone has been long awaiting this Ode art workshop! Choose from succulents and plants Alison has personally selected, and learn how to properly plant and care for your creations. And Alison will be there in all her glory (and wisdom), which means you will get to bask in in! We've reserved two nights for the workshop: June 13th and 14th, 6-8PM. There are still a few openings, so call or stop by Ode to sign-up! 

What’s your first memory of learning how to grow something?
In the garden with my Mum growing her prize winning roses, using her secret recipe fertilizer.

Best smelling flower?
It's so cliché, but a beautiful lavender rose called Ocean Song.

Spirit plant?

Other than working at Ode, what have been some of your favorite jobs?
Working at Adobe Flowers, where I learned so much from my mentor, Miss Nikki. Owning my own
flowers shops was a great accomplishment! My best job ever though was working on a horse
farm every summer as a child, payment was a ride at the end of a long day!

Top three rules of green-thumb?
Select plants that will do well in your home's environment.
Don’t be scared! Plants tend to intimidate us, don’t let them!!
Set a watering schedule, most plant problems stem from watering too much or too little.

What makes you blossom?
My grandson, watching him devour life with such enthusiasm. Oh, to be 7.

Favorite plant to cook/eat? How do you prepare it?
I love fresh herbs! Have to say Cilantro in homemade salsa, it’s such a sassy herb!

Where do you go to picnic, and what’s in your basket?
My favorite place is by a river, and my basket must have roast ham, salad, cheese, pickled
onions and sausage rolls...and a good bottle wine!

What’s your go-to gardening song?
Landslide. I yell along to it, forget my worries, and get lost in the dirt!

How does nature speak to you?
It calms me. If I close my eyes all my fond memories come from the sea, carpets of bluebells in
the woods, picking wild blackberries with my granddad.

Reserve your spot for Alison's Happy Planting Workshop by stopping by or calling Ode: 413-727-8026!

                                                   Photos by Chattman Photography

Artist Interview

Heather Maloney

April 12, 2018

                                                                              [All photos by Chattman Photography]

Artist, activist, and adamanent coffee connoisseur, Heather Maloney is the kind of woman you want at your table. Listening to her songs makes you feel like you have a close friend in the room. Through music, she tells stories of love and loss, heartbreak and heart-mending.  We were lucky enought to get to hang with Heather and play dress up for a day, and she couldn't have been more gracious and humble...characteristics sometimes rare in a person with so much talent and prowess. Join us in welcoming Heather and her songs to Ode on Friday, April 13th, from 6-8PM.  

What inspires you to write a song?
Most of my songs are silver linings; the brightest and shiniest things I could drudge up from my darkest and gnarliest experiences. That sounds dramatic, but it's true for me. When I'm struggling with something I write it into a song and I usually write my way into the bright side of it. My mom is a psychotherapist (sometimes that's more obvious than I'd like), and growing up in a household where talking about feelings was as normal as talking about what to eat for dinner ("I'm sorry for unconsciously projecting my need for validation onto you yesterday at the recital. Do you want pizza or pasta?"). The parallels between therapy and songwriting have shaped me fully, and many of the same reasons someone might go to therapy are the same reasons that prompt me to write songs.

What's your most rockstar outfit?
I don't own it yet, but I've been on a quest for leather pants for some time. They don't have to be real leather they just have to fit perfectly. Where are they, dammit?? 

What's your favorite place to perform?
On a single tour I'll perform in a grand theater one night and a living room the next. I can say honestly that some of the most memorable, electric moments have happened in the smaller listening rooms. There is something that just can't be replaced when the room gets bigger; a connectivity and a feedback loop between performer and audience that is just so contained, undiluted and pure magic. 

You just released a song, "How Many More". Can you tell us about the impetus for writing and recording it?
My February tour took me through Florida, right after the Parkland school shooting. I heard the news when I was staying in Orlando, right down the street from the Pulse nightclub, where over the past 2 winters I've watched the walls around the building become an ever-changing shrine of rainbows, candles, flowers and notes. About 10 minutes across Route 4, La Plaza Live was where I'd played my first show in Orlando, only a few months before singer Christina Grimmie was shot and killed standing at the same merch table I stood at. Listening to the horrifying live reports from Parkland, I was hit with a nauseating feeling of total immersion... of being totally immersed in a culture of gun violence that has run so rampant and so wildly out-of-control that it's evidence could be seen in every direction. It was everywhere. I went back to my cottage and picked up my guitar, thinking that if I could write out the feeling maybe I'd be able to shake the feeling of helplessness. I tried to write but nothing worth keeping came out, just some sloppy emotions with zero clarity. A few days of consuming news later, there she was. Parkland survivor Emma Gonzalez gave a speech that moved me to my core and lit my heart on fire. I picked up my guitar again, and this time a song came pouring out, fully formed. The song title was clear too: How Many More. 

I had a show in St. Augustine Florida that night, and for the first time in my 8 years of touring, I wrote and performed a song in the same day. I played How Many More again the following night in Sarasota. After each show I promised a number of people that I'd take an iphone video and post it in a few days. I never did. It dawned on me that the song could be utilized in a more powerful way than just a facebook post.

So I got on the phone and asked for a whole bunch of favors from a whole bunch of people, and amazingly every single person said YES. Within a couple of weeks we'd recorded, mixed, mastered, filmed and released 'How Many More' without spending a cent so that literally 100% of the proceeds generated have gone (and are still going!) directly to gun control advocacy groups (Everytown & Mom's Demand Action). I was blown away by the generosity of the entire group of volunteers and I've been blown away by how much support has poured in from downloads, donations & streams. (Here are all of the generous people who volunteered their time, skills & resources: Signature Sounds Recording Co, Ryan Hommel, Andrew Oedel at Ghost Hit Records, Melissa McClung, Kevin Butler at Test Tube Audio, Susa Talan and, what do you know, Ode Boutique!!)

If you could bring back the Lilith Fair, who would perform?
Oh yesssss I love this question. So many songwriters-who-happen-to-be-female are killing it right now. Aimee Mann's last record is still on repeat so hopefully she'd come and play the whole damn thing. I'm With Her is a super-group that has blessed us all. Laura Marling I will love forever and ever amen. Courtney Barnett, The Staves, Tori Amos, Regina Spektor, Lori McKenna, Emmylou Harris, Jesca Hoop, Brandi Carlile, Lucinda Williams, Phoebe Bridgers, HAIM, First Aid Kit, Anais Mitchell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, The Weather Station, Julien Baker, Neko Case, Valerie June, Gillian Welch, Patty Griffin, there are so many more!! But seriously I'd die from happiness if all of these women played a single festival. I would just cease to exist. 

PS - NOWHERE in the festival write-ups would be read the words "Female Singer-Songwriter".  At THIS festival we'd know that that's not a fucking genre. All of these women are in different genres and NONE of them have to do with their gender! (sorry I just had to vent)

What are your daily rituals on the road?
1 - finding the snobbiest most delicious pour-over coffee in whatever city I wake up in.  2 - Podcasts podcasts podcasts. So much van-time.  3 - Find two minutes to breath/meditate before the show.  4 - Lavender diffuser and classy-AF-single-serve Sutter Home = hotel room of my dreams.

You spent years studying at a meditation center. What is your relationship with meditation now?
On a silent retreat, meditation can be very structured. Each day there is a rhythm and pattern, a certain amount of hours spent doing sitting meditation, walking meditation, attending a Dharma talk... you eat at the same times, sleep at the same times, watch the same breath, bow to the same Buddhas, wash the same dishes, walk down the same path through the same woods. It's quiet. The silence is everywhere, and eventually it grows inside of you too. It's a container, with just the right conditions to support this inner-stillness. 

When I stepped outside of that container to start my life as a touring musician, I stepped into a world that was the complete opposite in so many ways. Very little to no structure at all. No rhythms or patterns, eating and sleeping at different times in different time-zones on different pillows each and every night. It's not quiet. It's hand-shaking and restaurants and thin hotel walls and traffic and sound-check. It's constant sound and motion and stimulation. It's the opposite of a container, it's chaos. 

But when I left the meditation center I knew this. It's been my goal, since that day, to integrate that stillness into the unlikeliest of situations- to find and cultivate an inner stillness of the portable variety so I could take it with me wherever I go. I can't say it's been easy. I lose my way over and over. But I am relentlessly committed to returning to center. Sometimes it looks like stopping for just a few breaths. A trip to the bathroom just to breath 3 conscious breaths, a mantra when I'm behind the wheel, a pause before the show, chewing my damn food all the way. I look at the stage as my meditation cushion- the place I return to each night for 45 minutes to an hour of being fully present and connected. Often, it's the place and time I'm most aware and relaxed. My practice is a lot less structured and a lot more fluid than it used to be, but I'm getting better at surfing through it all each year with a bit more grace and equanimity. At least I like to think I am wink

Funniest on-the-road story?
I know there are better ones than this, but the first one that comes to mind is the time my bandmate Brennan was woken up at 4am by a huge, angry, fully-naked man knocking on his hotel room door at 4am in a Marriott in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Brennan tried to explain that it wasn't the right room but the guy was drunk enough that it a decent amount of negotiation before the guy ran away. You just never know what you're gonna see out there.


Artist Interview / Featured Look

Desha Peacock: Life-Stylist and Author

March 14, 2018

Desha Peacock is as interesting, colorful, and creative as her name. She has the look-you-straight-in-the-eye confidence and clarity of a successful entrepreneur (which she is), complimented by that certain glow that comes from an inner peace with one's self. Basically, if you're looking for someone to guide you to realize the life you wish for, she's your gal. Author, Life-Stylist, and Working Creative, Desha Peacock posesses the perfect mix of wisdom and werewithal to lead one down that maybe-not-so-unatainable path. We can't be more excited to spend two guided hours at Ode with Desha for a Vision-boarding workshop this coming Thursday, March 22nd, from 6-8pm. Call or stop by Ode to sign up!

You are a practicer and proponent of oil therapy. What scents inspire or heal you?
I love to use citrus essential oils to lift and brighten my mood, especially during the long cold winter. I love lemon, wild orange and grapefruit. I also diffuse oils to help me stay focused while I'm doing my creative work. Lemon is also great for that.  I use frankincense when meditating because it's earthy ancient scent has been used for thousands of years to help open the heart and spirit. At night, I'll often diffuse cedar wood, ylang ylang and Balance (a doTERRA blend) to help my mind and body relax before bed. And I can't forget Jasmine. It's luscious scent is pure LOVE.

What is a good starting point or step for realizing the life you want to live. 
The first step is you have to be open and brave enough to dream. Admitting the dream to yourself can be a very hard thing to do. Then it's all about taking inspiration actions and being persistent. 

You've been leading retreats to San Miguel de Allende, Mexico for the past 4 yrs. What about that place speaks to you?
When I was in college I met a beautiful woman who told me I would love San Miguel de Allende. I remembered that. Twenty years later I quit my job, pulled my daughter out school for a month, and we went to check it out. The minute I arrived I felt it. I've been back every year since. It's my soul place. 

                                                                                           "San Miguel"  

What is your signature style?
Eclectic with a bit of cowgirl. 

What makes you dance?
My husband. He's so fun on the dance floor. 

Whose art/life/philosophy inspires you?
I'm inspired by anyone who goes for their big dream, especially when it's a creative endeavor. I think the starving artist myth is on its way out now that we have a global platform with the internet.  I am so grateful for those first women I saw online building a virtual business. It's really hard to create something that you can't envision. When I saw role models like Marie Forleo (founder of B-School) Holly Becker (Decor.8) and Justina Blakeney (social media master + designer) I knew I could do it too. 

Describe the work you do in 3 or fewer sentences. 
I'm a multi-passionate entrepreneur and the founder of Sweet Spot Style. I work with clients 1-1 to help creative lady bosses think bigger and grow their online presence. I do this through 1-1 lifeSTYLE design coaching and via my annual retreats to San Miguel de Allende. I also write home decor books and love Instagram! 
Freebie: Want to learn how Desha uses Instagram to grow her biz? Get her 10 FREE tips to Grow Your Brand on Instagram here.

Best thing anyone has said to you?
I'm usually a pretty confident person but when I started doing lux boho retreats (and charging more), I had a moment of fear, "what if it's not good enough?" My mother said the best thing to me. She said, "Desha, just be yourself."

Last good book you've read?
Heart Spring Mountain by Robin MacArthur. It's a brilliant novel set in New England, by a supremely talented Vermont native. 

What do you look forward to?
I am driven by endless possibilities. I look forward to personal growth and insight. I look forward to complete financial freedom. I look forward to inspiring women and spreading the message that yes you can do creative work you love and get paid well for it. I look forward to my annual retreats in Mexico. I look forward to watching my daughter grow into a strong, confident, healthy, creative and amazing young lady. I look forward to dipping my feet in the ocean, face to the sun. 

                                                                       All Photos by: Tara Whitney