The Journal

Everyday Rituals with Colin King

As we’ve withdrawn into our homes, each passing moment feels longer and more deeply felt than the last. Carving out small daily rituals is one way we’re helping ourselves to navigate the uncertainty. We reached out to Brooklyn-based stylist and designer Colin King about the self-care practices and curated objects in his home that are bringing him joy and keeping him creative.

How are you feeling?

I vacillate between deep gratitude and sadness. This time has given me the opportunity to slow down, simplify, and remember how little I need to be happy. 

Is there one consistent thing you are doing each day? 

Making my bed (which wasn’t always the case before) and setting the table for dinner. Right now, my desk is my dining table and I’ve found it important then to strike my desk and set the table for dinner. This is my best attempt at work-life balance and also makes up for my bland cooking.

What are the sights, sounds and scents we’d find in your home right now?

The first couple of things [that] people comment on are the high ceilings, the abundance of natural light and the stripped, unfinished wooden doors. Those are the cosmetic impressions. People also note the warmth and quiet nature of the space. You might hear Cigarettes after Sex on Sonos, smell an Oliver Gustav ‘Volubilis’ candle burning, and glimpse a still life being set.

Are there are objects that are bringing you joy?

Objects that have been given to me, or are inherited from a shoot or trip, bring me the most joy. Also, the handmade pieces in my place – knowing the story and process of the artist brings me joy as well. Ultimately, the smallest object can embody an entire relationship or single experience; they’re tied integrally to memories and can shape the identity of the room.

How did your #stayhomestilllife series come about?  

I’m finding comfort in creating still lifes at home. My home is small, there are only so many combinations when it comes to rearranging furniture, so it’s forced me to think small. Taking unrelated inanimate objects, fruit, and the occasional stem; placing all of that on a clean surface and trying to find an arrangement that feels cohesive has been a challenging and healthy way for me to step away from my screen, disconnect from fear and worry, and just be.

Any tips for us non-stylists to create our own vignettes?

Think outside the box. Abandon an object’s intended use. It is in the examples of the unusual details and unlikely juxtapositions. Oblique references. The crucial thing is always the underlying idea and not the obvious choice. Try to make the photo feel like it hasn’t been styled, where the view just feels like a tourist in someone else’s reality.

Is there anything you’ve recently rediscovered?

Music. While in isolation, I’ve rediscovered my fun and silly side through music and dancing. Playing songs from grade school, high school, and college has been nostalgic and integral to my productivity. I forget how quickly music can boost my mood.

How are you maintaining a connection to nature?

If it’s a nice day, the windows are open. I don’t have any house plants, as I normally travel a lot for work and don’t have a green thumb. Spring is my favorite time of the year so I’ve tried to bring spring indoors with various branches foraged from my garden. I am so inspired by nature and what nature produces – nothing about nature is linear or symmetrical or immune to decay.

What little luxuries are you indulging in?

Just being able to stay home and work from my home is the ultimate luxury. But building fires in my fireplace and baths are also things I am indulging in.

How do you wind down at the end of the day?

I am in the middle of the novel “Where Reasons End” by Yiyun Li.

Do you have any advice to other creatives for staying inspired?

I can’t think my way into being creative. For me, inspiration is in action. I have to use my hands to pick up something tactile – a book to sift through or a couple of objects to arrange. From there I just play, sometimes it’s there and sometimes I walk away. I’m in trouble when I wait for inspiration to hit, I have to get up and find it.

Follow Colin King on Instagram.


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