ode boutique

Artist Interview

Victoria Accardi

February 1, 2018

Remember the vibrant rainbow in Ode's window at last year's Auction for Action? Victoria painted that. Or the multi-colored triangle lemon cookies on display? Victoria made those. Oh, and that blooming hand-painted garden hanging on our wall last fall? That, too, was Victoria. Whether she's painting, cooking, dancing bachata, dressing a window, or donning her signature striped pants, Victoria Accardi brings a distinct joie de vivre and play to her creativity. But there is also undeniable intensity and intentionality to all she does. On life as a professional painter, she says, "I don't always love it. It's hard work. But I have to do it. I can't not paint." And the world gets to thank her for that. Currently, Victoria's work is represented by The Gallery at Somes Sound. She will be teaching Ode's first art workshop, Flowers in February, an ink watercolor exploration, this Thursday, from 6-8pm. Please call or stop by to sign up, as there are limited spaces. 


What inspires you to make art?
I am inspired by contrast and contradiction; things that are not initially perceived as or considered beautiful. I want to point out the serenity in a chaotic urban landscape, the romance of a neon-lit laundromat, the isolation of a crowded street. I am interested in eliciting common and relatable emotions in unlikely and overlooked settings. 

What do you do/wear/listen to when you paint?
I favor very old, broken-in denim, soft t-shirts, and a blue and white pinstripe Brooks Brothers button-down that I stole from my Dad as a teenager.

                                      "Bushwick" 26x36" Oil on canvas 2016 (Victoria Accardi)

What’s the best mistake you’ve made artistically?
I am a big proponent of the “learn by doing” method; my approach to learning any new medium (or anything at all) is very hands-on. The ignorance of any “rules” allows me to make mistakes that teach me so much about that particular medium. A perfect example is this technique of ink watercolors. I stumbled upon this because I did not bother to read the ink label and learn that ink is not water soluble, and the reactive properties turned out to yield really beautiful results when mixed with water. Just to be clear, this is not a technique I pioneered – I just came upon it by accident. 

Describe the perfect day in your New York.

There is a very specific scent that the breeze carries in New York City in the late Spring. Growing up I referred to it as “the almost-Summer smell". I think it may be indescribable and possibly undetectable to anyone who didn’t grow up in the city. But there is nothing better than being in New York city as the pear and gingko trees are blooming and getting hit with a warm breeze filled with the smell of almost-Summer. It is only present for a few days usually in May. On these days I like to walk across one of the bridges and people-watch, ideally ending up in Brooklyn drinking rosé with some friends.

What makes you dance?
Almost anything:
-When a car driving by is bumping the song of the summer.
-When I am in Trader Joe’s with my best friend and Jessie’s Girl starts playing.
-When I need to embarrass my brothers.
-When something good happens and there isn’t even any music playing.
-Literally anytime there is Salsa or Bachata music playing.

What’s your favorite food?


If your style was an animal, what would it be, and what kind of sound would it make?
If my style were an animal it would be a bird of paradise, and it would laugh.

Favorite color of paint? Least favorite color?
My favorite color to paint is and has always been red. Usually a bright red with shades of Alizarine and Quinacridone glazed over it. My least favorite color to paint with is yellow, the pigments are weak and frustrating to modulate. 

Last time you belly-laughed:
Last night, facetiming my best friend who can always make me laugh until I cry. 

What 3 women have inspired you this past year?
My mom, who got her undergraduate degree from Smith this year at age 46 and is already onto her masters. She is a nerd-Goddess. 

My 16-year-old cousin Magdala, who is attending catholic school in rural Pennsylvania among very close-minded peers. She does not let anyone dissuade her from standing up for what she believes in and advocating for human rights with eloquence, bravery, and grace. She is a social justice warrior. 

The owner of Ode Boutique Kristin, whose leadership style is one of encouragement and mutual respect. She has shown me what can be achieved when women support women. Working with the incredible group of women here at Ode is unbelievably inspiring. 

Artist Interview

AM Radio

November 9, 2017

                                            AM Radio (Left to right: Mia, Meg, and Audrey)

Can we get an A? AUDREY! Can we get an M? MIA! And that's how the story of AM Radio begins. The two met "via boys and a bar" and discovered they shared musical interests and inclinations, and they formed a duo, performing around Burlington. Along came Meg and her standup bass, and the glorious trio was born. Fortunately, there was no need to change their name because Meg's initials fit right in (their unofficial band stipulation: your name must start with "A" or "M"). You may remember Mia from the Dire Honeys, who played Ode several times. We're so excited to have her back, along with Audrey and Meg, bringing to us all the way from Burlington some North Country Soul. They'll be performing at Ode this Friday, November 10th, from 6-8pm. A perfect cold night for some red wine and some strong, sweet music.

Describe each other in three words: 
Meg—Kind, Enthusiastic, Inspiring
Mia—Strong, Creative, Sassy

Meg—the cool cat of the crew, multi-talented, confident
Audrey—the sweetheart, optimistic, nurturing

Mia—Fierce, confident, capable
Audrey—Wise, graceful, supportive 

                                                          (Top: Audrey and Mia. Below: Meg)

What is your most memorable moment from AM Radio so far?
Audrey: There are moments when our harmonies are so blended that it feels like everything else in the world stops and I am truly present. We played our first house show recently and I was so taken back by the suspended silence when we finished playing. That was incredibly memorable. 

Mia: We performed a very intimate show for family and friends of a women battling cancer- we played acoustic and at first it was a struggle to capture the room- but by our last song we had moved right up next to the audience, and the room fell silent. It was a very emotional event and our last song seemed to cradle the room. It felt like our voices were a blanket laid upon them, or the arms they needed to be held by. I sang the entire song with my eyes closed and when we finished, a beautiful sadness hung in the air and many of the people wept.  It was a validation for making music, to know that just by singing we provided a place for those people to let go and just feel. That's what art is for after all isn't it, to let us feel?

Megan: I loved when we were playing the song "San Francisco" (a beautiful tune with bowed bass that Mia wrote), and there was a lighting storm outside. The windows were flashing and there was a crash of thunder right as the song swelled. 

Fall sounds like:
Audrey: The whistling of a crisp breeze through the dying leaves. 
Megan: Crispiness and crunchiness

What's your stage-wear?
Audrey: Stage-wear depends on the gig, though almost always incorporates denim, floral prints, cowgirl boots, and occasionally some suede. 
Mia: Always something involving cowboy boots.
Megan: Cowgirl chic

Favorite Halloween candy:
Audrey: Mini- Twix bars.
Mia: Kit kat bar/ tootsie rolls
Megan: Almond Joy or candy corn. 

First snowfall, where will you be?
Audrey: I hope to be in my bed nesting with a warm cup of something (tea or a hot toddy preferably), watching the first snow fall.
Mia: Hopefully snuggled up with my animals and a hot toddy. But realistically, I will probably be outside harvesting root vegetables.
Megan: Snuggled up in my room with my cat

The word you most like sung?
Audrey: I couldn't possibly pick one word over all others as a favorite. Though words that resonate for me are; home, see, stay.
Mia: I really like it when people sing long words, with multiple syllables that end in "ally" Traditionally, hypothetically, professionally, confidentially, etc... I don't really know why. I am just always very impressed.  
But for me, I love singing the word "Darling" or "Why" both of which you can spin a real nice twang into. It must be the wannabe southerner in me.  
Megan: "waiting" 

Describe North Country Soul. Who are the forefathers/mothers?
Audrey: ​I'm honestly not familiar with the history of "North Country Soul", though in my own words, I would say it feels like music that is inspired by the landscape. Mountains and wild streams. Fresh cut hay, cold nights, and clear skies. Inspired by love and heartache and identifying what home means.

Mia: Well, it's a genre I sort of just invented, at least by name. Often when we think of country music we think of the South, but here we are, three very Northern women doing our version of country/blues, and I wanted a way to describe it. The music we make can be damp like our forests and mountains, and melancholy like our winters and endless days of grey. It can be heavy like the snow that covers us for months at a time. It can be light like the undying faith in spring, and it can be hot and sticky like the absolute stubbornness of a humid day in summer. The stories that come out of the North are different, as our the people writing them. While the South has football and line dancing and belt buckles and unbeatable hospitality. We've got liberalism and seasonal affective disorder and maple syrup and wood-stoves. Our environment influences our songs; it influences our souls.

Megan: Well.. I'm new here! Honestly I know more about the soul of the West than the North Country, but would love to learn more!

What song do you listen to while jumping into a pile of leaves?
Audrey: "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by the composer Edvard Grieg.
Mia: Jitterbug- by Wham
Megan: Something bright and earthy like Sigur Ros "Go Do" or an explosive song with a bunch of strings and horns.


Artist Interview

Hawthorn Duo

August 25, 2017

                                                                Chattman Photography

If you were hiking in the woods alongside a mountain capped with white snow, and you stumbled into a clearning where a burst of wildflowers greeted you under a spot of sun, it might not be a surprise to find the Hawthorn Duo there, singing. It may be a song about Appalachia, or the moon, or some bird or flower native to a place within the great expanse. And if you do happen upon them, the music will be like honey and streams converging: richly sweet, rushing and soothing. Yes, the Hawthorn Duo, comprised of Heather Scott and Taylor Holland, are that magical. And natural and wonderful. And they filled Ode with their goddess selves one Friday in August. Meet Taylor and Heather, if you haven't already on one of your hikes.

Talk to us about the meaning of Hawthorn to you.
Heather - Hawthorn is sisterhood. It is a platform upon which we are able to see and be seen, where we each can bear our naked hearts to one another, where we can encourage radical openness and passionate strength. Hawthorn serves as a portal to our collective and individual purpose.

Taylor - When choosing a band name, we looked at different plants in the herbal medicine world and so many aspects of hawthorn felt like the right fit. Heather looked at the heart-healing properties of Hawthorn and continues to teach me about that. For me, the most special thing is that according to Celtic folklore, hawthorn is a portal to the spirit world, so the fairy folk make their homes in hawthorn bushes.

How does summer sing to you?
H - Through bird-song. The warm breath of summer night wind, ringing with possibility. Through the sight of the ground and the plans teeming with life, medicine, and food.

T - Summer is a time of bountiful energy! I go out to more shows, spend late evenings on the porch jamming with friends, and revel in moonlight skinny-dip adventures.

Chattman Photography

Describe what your inner goddess wears.
H - She adorns herself only for herself and for no one else. She wears gowns into the ocean and walks in the trees with her body completely bare, save for a crown of birch bark on her head. She is always barefoot. Each things she puts on her body - her temple - has a deep and powerful story. Colors of the earth swirl around her: soft greens and dark blues of night, pale yellows of sunrise and deep hues of wet earth. And she is not afraid to wear red.

T - The adrenaline of a run and coconut oil on my skin after showering, a silk jumpsuit with my hair wild and curly and my grandmother’s silver jewelry from her childhood in India. Or, nothing! I recently learned a beautiful term for being naked—“skyclad.”

What’s on your plate?
H - Local, seasonal, and/or wild foraged food whenever possible. Right now, it’s locally made 8-grain sourdough bread, thai basil pesto that I made from my garden, fresh mozzarella, and heirloom tomatoes. I’ve paired it with a maple syrup-sweetened Chaga tea made from an adaptogenic mushroom called Chaga that I foraged on a recent hike.

T - Whatever Heather’s making! She’s an amazing chef, and we love cooking together. Right now, I’m in my hometown of Portland OR and am loving the access to amazing local food (and sharing that food with family). For breakfast this morning I have fresh Oregon melon and nectarines, coconut milk yogurt, and locally made cardamom granola, along with organic chicken basil sausage made in-house at the neighborhood grocery. I’ve got a full mug of coffee with almond-coconut milk and a bit of local honey.  

What’s your go-to dance move?
H - Anything where my hips can sway.

T - Yes, hip swirls! Hips are the seat of the second chakra--creative energy, so it makes sense that we both like to move here.

What would we be surprised to know about you?
H - I have a great passion for Herbalism. I have various bottles of medicinal flowers, roots, barks, and leaves steeping in various solutions of alcohol, and honey, and other types of natural preservative liquids to create my own medicine. I carry around a medicine bag containing several rotating remedies and aids (seasonally dependent) for the nervous and immune systems, sore throats, sleep, etc.

T - My background is in peace and conflict studies—I worked in both Northern Ireland and South Africa and almost went to grad school for conflict resolution, until I realized my heart was in the creative field and that I could use songwriting and arts education to support social change. I actually recorded my first EP while doing research on student activism in Cape Town last year.

Chattman Photography

If you could capture one sound and play it at will, what would that be?
H - Ocean-side rain.

T - The way the wind sounds in the mountains above the tree line in the Pacific Northwest.

How have your mothers influenced you?
H - My mother taught me about selfless compassion, for the self first and then for others. To trust that my path is no one else’s but mine. That the way I experience grief, confusion, joy, and challenge are absolutely my own and for no one else to claim. Simply by living the ways she does, she instilled in me that comparison is futile if you wish to honor your Self. And - she gave me my passion for food and cooking, for which I will forever be indebted to her.

T - My mom exposed me to music from infancy—she was always singing around the house, playing guitar in the other room after tucking me in, teaching me songs. She put me in dance classes, brought me to every violin lesson I had, and advocated for me to go to a school that was full of arts and movement (Waldorf). More recently, I’m learning from the thoughtful and compassionate way she’s gone through her divorce…showing me how meaningful relationships can end with grace, how people can go separate ways yet still have love for the life they shared together, and how change that seems terrifying can also be rich with opportunities for growth.

Chattman Photography

Talk to us more about the “sacred reclamation of wild feminine power” you refer to when describing your song, Salt.
H - When I began writing this song, the ocean served as a sanctuary during and after heartache. As Taylor and I started to write it together and clarify the melodic and lyrical themes, the purpose of the ocean in this song crystallized as a healing place that supported reflection, transition, and renewal. This process of radical and unapologetic transformation is something that Taylor and I would like to reclaim as sacred, as a part of the identity of the feminine force.

T - I think writing Salt was the first time Heather and I fully realized the power of baring our hearts to one another. Heather brought the first verse of Salt to our session, with its questions to a past lover: “In your dreams of the salt and waves, do you see me there?” As we spoke about the relationship and how it had impacted her, our desires to understand and heal our heartaches brought our writing to an archetypal space where women step into their power by connecting with nature and the goddess—“wild abandoned rituals burning high in the wind / where the ocean takes it all to the ash to the sand.”

                                                        Chattman Photography

What’s on the horizon for Hawthorn?
H&T - We’re working on an EP of songs and poetry celebrating the moon, the divine feminine, and the body as sacred space. You can catch us performing next at the last of the Barn Show Manomet series or at Club Passim’s Labor Day Campfire Festival. And save the date for our show September 26 at Atwoods Tavern to celebrate the release of our ‘Appalachia’ music video (shot by the amazing Jo Chattman)!

Artist Interview

Poet Dora Malech

April 11, 2017

                                      Photo credit: Chattman Photography

Dora Malech might just be Ode's spirit poet. She loves wordplay as much as we do; She cares deeply about her participation with the world through art; and she can't say no to the perfect blazer. She is the author of Shore Ordered Ocean and Say So, with her third book on the way. Speaking of "on the way", soon-to-be-mother Dora Malech will be making her way to Ode for a Night of Poetry on Friday, April 14th, from 6-8PM, also featuring poets Debora Kuan and Amy Dryansky. Join us in celebrating National Poetry Month!

What poem have you read recently that we should be reading?
At this time of year, I often find myself re-reading Jill Alexander Essbaum’s poem “Easter” from the January 2011 issue of Poetry. I love her sense of pacing and phonic echo throughout, and I’m always moved by what the poem can pack into such short, spare lines. Like many poems I love, I revel in the paradox that the author’s poem about feeling alone in a certain season actually makes me, the reader, feel less alone in that season.


is my season
of defeat.

Though all
is green

and death
is done,  

I feel alone.
As if the stone

rolled off
from the head

of the tomb
is lodged

in the doorframe
of my room,

and everyone
I’ve ever loved

lives happily
just past

my able reach.
And each time

Jesus rises
I’m reminded

of this marble

they are not
coming back.

     Jill Alexander Essbaum, Poetry, 2011

If you could make one word a piece of gum, what would you be chewing today?
The word “orrery” has been stuck in my head lately, and saying it out loud even makes the mouth move a bit like it’s chewing the word. It means, “a mechanical model of the solar system, or of just the sun, earth, and moon, used to represent their relative positions and motions.” It was named after the Earl of Orrery. I like the word’s “mouthfeel,” but I also just like very specific vocabulary like that. I finally worked the word into a poem recently, which I look forward to reading out loud, especially since I surrounded it with other “or” sounds (“ornery” and “orbit”).

Favorite line of poetry about Spring:
Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem “Spring” is another darkly satisfying take on the season, like Jill Alexander Essbaum’s “Easter.” It begins:

     To what purpose, April, do you return again?

And it ends:

     It is not enough that yearly, down this hill,
     Comes like an idiot, babbling and strewing flowers.

I also love the first lines of Phillip Larkin’s poem “The Trees”:
     The trees are coming into leaf
     Like something almost being said . . .

Give us a writing prompt (please).
Inspired by Essbaum and Millay, write a take on the month or the season that Hallmark would refuse to publish. Like Millay, who speaks to “April,” include a direct address to something that is not a person. While you can, of course, include beautiful details too, don’t hesitate to describe both things and emotions “as they are.” Bonus points if you go outside and gather specific details from direct observation. 


Artist Interview

Poet Debora Kuan

April 11, 2017


In the Artist Interviews we sent to our three featured poets, we ask for a favorite line of poetry about Spring. Well, we might just have ours. It's a line from Debora Kuan's poem "Pastoral". And although it may not have been intended to refer to Spring, it somehow feels perfect for it:

                             To shepherd. To pause. Where things begin grazing.
                             This is some silo for storing. This is some green. 

Debora is a poet and writer who works at an educational nonprofit in New York City. She is the author of Xing and the newly published Lunch Portraits. We're so happy Debora Kuan chose Northampton as one of her stops on her book tour. Join us for a Night of Poetry on Friday, April 14th, 6-8PM. Debora will be joined by poets Dora Malech and Amy Dryansky. 

April is:
National Poetry month!

What poem have you read recently that we should be reading?
Any poem by Anais Duplan or Danez Smith.

If you could make one word a piece of gum, what would you be chewing today?
I hate gum, so probably Trump..?

Favorite line of poetry about Spring:
“Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote.” I totally butchered the spellings, sorry!

Give us a writing prompt (please).
In my new book, I wrote a list of 121 memories of my American childhood. Write 121 of yours!