Affirming Black Women and Girls through Space-Making in the Home

Some of my favorite sites to browse are interior design blogs, especially in their DIY section. Within Beautiful, we have our very own DIY guru, Pamela Thompson. She is an incredible space-maker in the home. I decided to interview her to learn how she brings wellness into the home and create intentional spaces that welcomes and affirms Black women and girls.
~Erin M. Stephens

Erin: There are many ways I can think to introduce you, such as as a phenomenally talented writer, a renaissance woman or TBP’s songstress. Β But in your own words, how would you describe yourself?

Pamela: TBP’s songstress definitely captures me. I mean . . . What else is there to say? Β I would like to describe myself as a poetically beautiful, brown embodiment of redemption. I don’t mean to be deep though I am clear that that sounds profuse and robust. However I do mean to speak about my essence in such an elaborate manner that it encompasses and connotes more than me. I am an amalgamation of the triumphs and tragedies of the matriarchs of my lineage.

Erin: When you create spaces for Black girls or yourself, what guides you? What do you hope to accomplish?

Pamela: When I create spaces for Black girls or for myself, I am guided by three things: I want comfort, beauty and inspiration to be apparent in the experience of being in the space. I am often thinking about how this space can facilitate our ability to gather and feel like we can rest here and let loose here and be ourselves here, while at the same time feel deeply inspired by the beauty and creativity with which the space has been crafted and curated. I like to incorporate as much natural light as possible and work with design aesthetics that include variations of any one particular color palette.

Photo by Pamela Thompson

 

Photo by Pamela Thompson

Erin: What do you enjoy about space-making?

Pamela: I love the intentionality around filling up a space with thoughtful touches. I love the opportunity to explore and dream and then bringing those imaginings to life. The process of creating is so powerful. We essentially have the opportunity to make something from nothing, or, at the very least, bring forth beauty from chaos. If we peel away from our inhibitions and fears of “not getting it right” or “making a mess” we could really see ourselves fly and create dopeness along the way.

 

 

Erin: What is your favorite way to create in your home?

Photo by Pamela Thompson

Pamela: At home, I love to cook, bake and make art. Hosting people is one of my absolute most favorite things to do. When I find or create a new recipe, I literally get giddy with excitement and anticipation at how much we are going to love to eat this thing that was made by combining a few ingredients and time. It’s the same with the art. Though I am an amateur, I resolve that by only making art for myself so I only have to make pieces that are pleasing to myself and I don’t have the pressure of “being legit”. I’ve recently started exploring with watercolor florals. This has been such a satisfying process.

Erin: Why is it important for Black women and girls to create intentional spaces in the home?

Pamela: You know, when we take what we know and marry that to whatever resources we have and create something new with it, this is multiplication at its essence. Black women and girls are innovators and artisans and we can do anything. It is important that we use our gifting and glitter in our homes to make spaces for ourselves because so much of what we do is for others. Creating intentional spaces in our homes is a form of self care. It is not only recognizing what we need but stopping to make room to actually ensure that we get what we need. It is saying to ourselves, “You, my love, deserve the best of what you offer to everyone else.”

Photo by Khayla Deans

Erin: What’s in your toolkit for crafting intentional spaces?

Pamela: Honestly, my toolkit contains audacity and imagination. Sure, I keep my glue gun hot and paintbrush at the ready, but it starts with seeing something you like and believing that you can put your pizazz on it and make it something that suits your lifestyle and meets your needs.

Erin: What tips or DIY projects can you recommend for folks who want to create affirming spaces in their own home?

Pamela: First, I think we should expand DIY projects to the kitchen. DIY also means baking or cooking up a new recipe. The aromas rising from sizzling stovetops and 400 degree ovens are rivaled only by the colors and textures of the finished product once it is placed on the table. Food is art and cooking/baking can be such fun ways to create a space that says I see you, I care about you and I want you to know that you are welcome here, in this space, with me. Another tip would be to start with what you love. Is it plush couches with fluffy pillows? Perhaps you can make your own throw pillows for the floors and couches in your home? Is it wall art? What would you like to see on your walls? Take out some materials and play around a bit. Of course there are some of us who just don’t feel creative in this way or don’t want to give our time and attention to this. For those of us like that, I would say order the things you want to see (or thrift shop hop) and you arrange them the way you want to see them in your space. Creating affirming spaces doesn’t have to be labor intensive. Creativity is multi-dimensional and is expressed in very nuanced ways. We shouldn’t create cubbies for shelves that don’t exist. Just be free and have fun with it.