Akela of akela designs is an artist, writer & teacher combining nature, spirituality & creativity that she delivers an approachable manner. She works with mainly with clay, pen & ink and paint along with many other forms. Her workshops are intended to inspire everyone & anyone to connect to their own creativity, through her words and presence.
The Long Story
Akela’s influence has always come from her sensitive and intuitive soul. Her humble and turbulent beginnings carved her path to being the person she is today. The Brooklyn-born Artist & Storyteller always had art as her language to the world when words could not be formed. Her idea early on of her career path was to become a formal artist or designer far away from the environment she was raised in. After attending the first year at Moore College School of Art & Design in Philadelphia, her life took a turn for a different direction, her wounded healer past presented itself once again and she returned home. She abandoned art and sought a more practical path.
Then she took the life-changing cross country road trip and landed in San Francisco in 2010. Her eyes were open to a world of new possibilities, art was the way. Soon after moving to the vibrant new city she was pulled back into reality and worked in restaurants once again, her fallback career since she was 16 years old. During this time she fell in love and began healing emotionally from trauma from her past. This brought her into studying massage therapy at the San Francisco School of Massage & Bodywork. She immersed herself in school while working as a server. She soon discovered Reiki, an energy healing technique derived from Japan. She shifted interest in this practice and become certified in the Shoden & Okuden tradition. She held clinics at her studio apartment but could not quite get her practice off the ground.
Her partner Mark started a new job and soon after they left San Francisco behind and moved to Concord, CA. Her departure from the restaurant industry followed. She got a job working in sign production where she reconnected with her hands. She was creating again. As much as it was technical and routine, it was finally the inspiration she needed to get back into art once more. During this time she was planning her DIY wedding. The budget and resources were limited but she managed to create the feel she was looking for.
In 2016 she left her job and worked on healing her body, her chronic pain issues followed her from when she was 18 years old, a combination of stress, repetitive motion, labor-intensive jobs, and a minor car accident created the breaking point for recovery. During this time she created, she explored, she started the beginning of akela designs from her home in Concord. She did some pop-ups in Oakland and Berkley and her pieces were mainly focused around intentional home decor which included block-printed textiles, concrete planters & vintage pieces. She shifted into natural dyes, embroidery & sewing, making everything from start to finish. She seemed to have found her place. November of 2017 the two bought their first house in Colfax, CA; a quaint little city right outside of Auburn, in the heart of Gold Country. She was able to spread out and have enough space to create in the environment they both dreamed of.
She then discovered pottery, something familiar yet distant. She admires her good friends that introduced her to pottery. After moving to Colfax she took lessons from her neighbor. What was suppose to be a mindful hobby quickly turned into another love.
In that time she decided that her art had to be meaningful and purposeful so she switched gears from styling and decor and focused on the storytelling. She returned to her roots, writing poetry, studying her ancestors which is rich and varying, she returned to her intuitive beginnings. Her art and spirituality come together. This is her home. Her work includes block-print illustrations, pottery, poetry & creative writing.
She completed her first featured show Ancestors in Early April 2019 in Sacramento, located at Broad Room where she has been chosen as an Artist Resident.
No matter the medium you can expect to see the intention and care Akela puts into her work. She focuses on the feeling rather soley on the look. And everything she touches is associated with a story, bound by the stories that connect us all.
If you are interested in collaborations, custom installations or original artwork please feel free to connect via email