Creativity Crusader | Mirror Mirror Image | Nikki Caldwell

Hi friends!

Happy Fall! I’m in slight denial that October is literally happening next week, but also excited that Pumpkin Spice Latte is back at Starbucks – AND, yet, trying to avoid it since Van and I are really working on this fitness thing.

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Y’all. This year. It has kicked my boohiny. In the worst ways and the best ways all at once. It’s had some really rough moments. Like really rough, tear filled, heart aching, make you stretch and grow so you don’t fall apart moments…not your every day, I can’t figure out what to wear and it sent my day into a spiral ones. I know this happens to you, too, sometimes – both the real hard moments and the what to wear ones – I call it getting in a fight with my closet and my mom has wanted me to illustrate it for years…but as I sit here excited to celebrate the incredibly talented photographer from Mirror Mirror Image… I am reflecting on this year a little, too…probably partly because of her company name…{Insert drum and cymbal sounds here}, maybe because the days are cooling off, the air is getting a little crisper and we are entering fall…and definitely partly due to the fact that I originally told her I wanted to feature her in July when I first asked her to humor me with some questions and photos so I could introduce y’all to her amazingness.

After several unexpected events in spring and summer, April through July – and especially August – came and went in a blink. Life happened and Nikki’s feature…well, it did not…along with several other pre-scheduled crusaders, who I am still excited to feature and will roll them into 2018 as I get back in the groove.

This spring I lost my Grandpa, which was tough. It’s still tough at times even though he was ready to go home. This summer, we almost lost Van’s sister, twice, but she was graced with a miracle (and some really incredible doctors and supportive friends and family) and she, along with Van’s Mom, Van, and myself, survived a really, really challenging 6 weeks. She still has some recovery ahead, but is doing great by the way. At one point this summer, Van looked at me and said, “How much weird stuff can happen to us in a few months?”.

My point: when the fleeting, precious moments of life have passed, we are left with nothing but memories. Nikki Caldwell makes memories tangible. She captures something in people that is truly magical. She freezes moments and memories, faces, expressions, and emotion; capturing people and life through her lens in a way that is animated and delicious to the eye in a style that is uniquely hers.

Meet Nikki, owner of Mirror Mirror Image in Anderson, SC.

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I first saw some of her work at the home I featured last December, The Gillespies…the one with the life size Santa Claus in the office and the pineapple powder room. Nikki’s photos are in pretty much every room of the home, but the ones that made me ask were the large canvases in the stairwell.

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Usually, I don’t include this question when I publish the answers because it’s obvious, but – similar to her photography – the answer made me do a double take:

What is your name?

Nikki, Well actually Jennifer – but I go but my nickname shortened from my middle name Nicole.

This made me laugh, and I knew I liked her.

How old are you (if you are ok with sharing…totally optional)?

I am 46 32ish years old. 

Ok, ok, I embellished this for her after ‘paraphrasing’ her answer… ;-P – the rest of the answers are hers verbatim.

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Do you consider yourself to be creative?

Absolutely!  I find BEAUTY in things that most may not! I am a VISUAL person, and cannot REST until things are the way they should be in my mind.

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What toys or activities were you drawn to as a child?

I was very much in to creating spaces as a child. I enjoyed toys such as Lincoln Logs, or LEGOs, but mainly enjoyed creating ‘forts’ from chairs, sheets, blankets and anything around to create vertical height and space.  I also LOVED refrigerator boxes, and made numerous ‘castles’ and ‘homes’.

What inspires you?

Gosh, my children. I find that the innocent minds of children are innately so creative, because they know ‘no bounds’ or whether something may actually ‘not’ work.  They can imagine the GREATEST things, and unless you tell them that something NOT possible – they keep expanding upon their creations.  I remember as child being told that NOTHING was impossible – so I think I was able to DREAM  and imagine with no limits!

Yes, yes, yes!!! AMEN!

What do you do for a living?

I am a photographer as well as a jewelry designer.

Yep, that’s right. She’s multi-talented. Here are just a few examples of her jewelry – you can see more on her Facebook page. Just gorgeous. I love the textures and patterns.

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Are you formally educated or self-taught?

I have a degree in Architectural Design from Clemson University.  I had some early training in photography with film, but the majority of my knowledge is self taught.  The jewelry designs and concepts that I use are self taught.  Aluminum is the platform for the majority of what I create, which is a versatile metal which is amazingly nickel free.

How do you get un-stuck if you’re in a creative rut?

I usually have to walk away completely from electronics as well as social media – and reinvigorate by playing with my children.

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How do you feel about your organization and time management skills?

I am very organized, and pretty good at time management.  The hardest part is working from home with smaller children – and  making sure to ‘walk away’ to be a mommy rather than ‘getting ahead’ and working after hours.

Do you have a routine?

Most days are the same or similar during the school year, but summer is all over the place!

How do you deal with stress?

Taking time to play with the kiddos.  I work really well under pressure though, and find it sometimes harder to feel normal if I have too much free time.

If you have more to do than can fit in a typical day, do you get up earlier or stay up later?

I am definitely an early riser.  I have a very odd sleeping pattern, though – and typically sleep no more than 6 hours a night.  It is not uncommon for me to wake at 2 or 3 in the morning and not go back to sleep.  If my brain is ‘awake’ then there is no going back to sleep.

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How do you spend your time when you’re not working?

We like to hike, and go on day trips to mainly the mountains.

What’s one piece of advice you would tell your younger self?

Never give up on your dreams!  They can come true! (for those times that I doubted myself)!

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And just for fun…

  1. Favorite color? Red.
  2. Describe yourself in one word.  Passionate
  3. The last thing you ate was… a salad
  4. A favorite quote you want to share? ‘And though she be but little, she is fierce’ – Shakespeare
  5. Do you have any party tricks? Hahahah… This made me literally laugh out loud!  Not as a Mom of three 🙂  I usually and in BED before the party starts!

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So that’s Nikki in about 1,200 words. I am beyond certain that 1,200 words doesn’t nearly begin to cover it, but these little features ARE designed to be merely an introduction and pique your curiosity. You can find her talent and musings on Facebook, Instagram and the Interwebs or send any questions about booking to mirrormirrorimage@gmail.com. Go social media stalk her and get to know her better! And P.S. she is currently booking Fall and Holiday Sessions.

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I have had some tough years. But that’s how it goes. Bad things happen. Good things happen, too. Life consistently throws us curveballs and our only choice is to adapt, which hopefully means stretching, and learning, and growing and to cling with all of our might to the precious, perfect, happy moments that sustain us and see us through the difficult ones. Overall, my life – a precious gift – is pretty frog giggin’ amazing. Special thanks to Nikki for this simple reminder, and for allowing The Olive Shoe to pick your brain and feature you!

Happy Fall Y’all!

Previously featured crusaders:

Coming Soon:

  • Stephanie Irby // The Swaggin’ Wagon
  • Emily Holland // Martin-Holland Advertising
  • Elizabeth Wheaton // Wheaton Whaley Designs
  • …and more!

“Creative people are curious, flexible, persistent, and independent with a tremendous spirit of adventure and a love of play.” – Henri Matisse

If you know a creativity crusader you’d like to see featured, I’d love to meet them and chat for a few minutes! Please email me at lauren@theoliveshoe.com.

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The Olive Shoe | Paperie & Design | Celebrating Creativity and Creatively Celebrating is designed and run by Laure {LAC} James © 2016 LAC James All Rights Reserved.

Lauren {LAC} James is a Sr. Designer of Product Graphics for an international manufacturing company by day and a creativity crusader, designer, planner extraordinaire, artist and blogger in her “free” time. Follow her and The Olive Shoe on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram! Please subscribe to receive emails, and of course, come back and visit again soon!

Please visit the online art gallery {Art by LAC} and Etsy Shop too!

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