{meet} sherise lee from the radder

Monday, April 7, 2014

Photo by Angela Kohler 
Today I would like to introduce you Sherise Lee! She was one of the amazing gals I met at Blogshop a few months ago here in LA and I instantly knew she was a kind and creative soul. I will not linger too long, since she does a fantastic job letting us in. Even though, it ended up being a long post, it is well worth it! Please take a seat (if you have not already), put the kettle on and let's begin...

For those who are not familiar with your blog, tell us a little bit about it.
The Radder explores modern craft, rad folks, art and music from my perspective as a designer, maker, mother,  Bad Mama Jama (cue Carl Carlton) in Los Angeles via Brooklyn & San Francisco.

What inspired you to start The Radder and how did you end up choosing the name?
About 15 years ago I got totally into Studs Terkel’s approach of interviewing as conversational and akin to storytelling or folk tales. My mind is always blown by NPR's This America Life, Fresh Air and Story Corps. And there’s the work of DougAitken, who already renowned for his fine art installations, also explores creativity with the most amazing thinkers and artists of our time – from his 2006 book Broken Screen to his Patterns & Repetitions 2011 series and now his current project The Source.

So all of this – this sort of conversational, thoughtful, intuitive perspective is my aim in exploring my topics and I interpret that through the photography and writing. Photography is a medium that I’m excited about since I haven’t seriously picked up a camera since I processed film twenty years ago.

The Radder name itself represents my return to the West Coast from New York City. “rad, radical, radness” are all part of my vernacular.

Photo by Andrea Wyner

Do you have a workflow process when maintaining The Radder?
Ha-ha, not at all! I’m very much a working mother trying to balance “the juggle.” I’d be stoked if there were 3 me’s that all shared 1 brain – very Sci-Fi! The Radder has only existed for a few months, so my process is still evolving. It’s all very organic in that I follow what I love and that just rolls into the next discovery.

It is hard to create original content all the time without repeating what other people have already said. However, you do it extremely well! Do tell us how you manage to keep your creativity going and how you keep in contact with so many talented artists.
Thank you! The Radder is a platform of appreciation for all the amazing artists and makers here in Los Angeles. They and their creations are an endless source of inspiration. I fully believe there are magical vibrations in the air LA, not just magnetic plates creaking as earthquakes. I love capturing this moment in time and sharing the work, process and stories of all the creative folks.

From The Radder - Platform 

From The Radder - Artist Jen Garrido

I certainly have had my share of creative slumps. But, I live to be constantly challenged and inspired, so it’s more the opposite. I want to do everything at once. I want to learn and see it all at the same time. Anyone who has known me for a while is familiar with my aspirations to be a drummer (MoeTucker, Keith Moon), a glass-blower (after stumbling upon Michael Anchin’s studio when he was in the Lower East Side. I was to be his apprentice for a second), a ceramicist (Beatrice Wood), a crochet artist (hellooooo Clare Crespo!), a shop-keeper (Terri Gillis of TG-170, OG boutique owner), a chocolatier (fully inspired by the “bean-to-bar” ingenuity and sailing adventures of the Mast Brothers) and most recently a stained glass artist inspired by the art of Olafur Eliasson, my mother's Chinese folktales/mythology, sacred geometry, earth elements and the cosmos.

From The Radder - Artist Heather Levine

Sherise's stain glass

How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Ever-changing. For me, design, music, style, visual art, film, nature, literature, performance, food, people, space, time all merge together. In every movement, there is something I can appreciate: from needlepoint cats to Helvetica, Peter Saville to Stefan Sagmeister, Modern Rustic to Memphis, Minimalist to Psychedelic, Captain & Tennille to Krautrock, Gang Starr to Gang of Four. With that said, the more knowledge you have, the more you are able to filter with a discerning eye and an educated perspective.
From The Radder 

What are your daily website reads - any page that inspires you and helps you get your creative juice going? 
I don’t have a daily website read mostly because I don’t have time. I’m big on listening to NPR and college radio every day. I very much had music in mind when manifesting The Radder. Non-daily but sites I do go to: Instagram on my phone has replaced blog-reading for me. That’s more like hourly than daily. It’s where I get info on art shows, happenings, people’s latest work, etc. Pinterest is a nice quick visual fix. It totally beats all my old-school magazine tears and heavy binders. I still move around with all my magazines. And at my parents house, I have a stash of old issues by Ray Gun, Sassy, Émigré, Colors and NME that I will never part with. I still always go to the first blog I ever read, Design Sponge. Grace Bonney’s impact on décor, the bloggy-internet world and support of designers is truly awesome. Sight Unseen, like it’s name, is my favorite for stuff that I can’t find elsewhere.  I also admire the sensibility of contributor, Su Wu of I’m Revolting.

In truth though, I have always garnered most of my creative energy from friends and experiences. Even my mom will tell you I was like that as a kid.

How did your personal journey bring you to this moment right now?
Oh wow. That’s a loaded question in that I feel that my personal journey carries my family history. Recently, a wonderful Persian gentleman who is also a grandfather and local business owner said to me that "as a parent and as an immigrant, we carry our children on our shoulder so they can see what we can't see and reach what we can't reach." I’m Chinese-American with parents, grandparents and great-grandparents who went back and forth between the U.S. and China / Hong Kong / Taiwan. Without going into a full-blown-generational-Joy-Luck-Club novel (which it is), my father practically raised himself on the streets of Hong Kong and put himself through college by joining the U.S. Marines. My mom was raised by extended family who were under house arrest and worked prison labor during the Communist Revolution because they were teachers and doctors in the village. She had to sneak past guards daily until she was 8 years old! That’s heavy stuff at that age. In the U.S., both my parents became successful engineers in Silicon Valley. Through all that they raised me and my brother with nothing but love and support. I owe my humility and hustle to them.

But me, I grew up a total Cali suburban kid in Silicon Valley – skateboarding to 7-11 for Slurpees with my homies. I lived a brief moment in Santa Cruz for Women Studies and Sculpture, then rode around on a tricked-out '68 Vespa to art school in San Francisco and later drove cross-country to New York City. My husband and I moved from Manhattan to Brooklyn because there was no way I was going to troll up a 5th floor walk-up in the summer 8 months pregnant. Now, 15 years later, I’m back in California with 2 rad little dudes for the open ocean marine layer, open sky, western sunsets, mountains and fresh produce year round. Avocados in January rule – except for the Avocado Cartel (that’s my NPR random knowledge from Good Food with Evan Kleinman!).

Is there anything that you most certainly cannot live without?
Not things, but my loves: hubs, kids, parents / family. But if I had to pick things, that’s the question right? Air, Food and Water. The basics.

In three words tell us how you would describe this exact moment in your life.
Connected by stardust.

Thank you so much Sherise for the amazing interview and for sharing a part of your journey on this planet! 

I learned and giggled so much while reading this and had a blast curating all the wonderful pictures she sent over my way - not to mention linking all the references and learning so much in the process! Don't forget to check out Sherise's blog, facebook, twitter, instagram, and here wonderful online portfolio as well! 



  1. I found you on Instagram! Love the colours :) Wish I could follow you through Wordpress!

    1. hello stephanie! thanks for the sweet comment. if you want you can follow me on bloglovin :) https://www.bloglovin.com/blog/4353463 xoxo!


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