Today I am so pleased to introduce you to my good friend and team member, Nicole. Nicole is a dream Creative Director and has been influencing Kosterina design and direction from our early days as a brand. Nicole’s free-spirited creativity combined with her confidence, conviction, and consumer connection makes her a rare talent and someone I am honored to work with. I was lucky enough to visit Nicole’s studio in Long Island, NY this summer and was fascinated by her artistic process. Please visit her website to sneak a peek at her handmade (and body-made, you’ll see what I mean) creations. I’m waiting for my young children to grow up a bit so I can display her Moon Jar “Her #2” in my home.
TIO: Nicole Corbett
The Inquisitive Olive: Nicole Corbett
Artist, Creative Director, Entrepreneur
Nicole Corbett is the Founder and CEO of Worn and Creative Director for Kosterina.
Find Nicole online: @nicolecorbett_studio & www.nicolecorbett.studio
Favorite food? Hot sauce
Favorite self-care treatment? Evening baths
Favorite yoga pose? N/A
Favorite place to travel? Seoul, Korea
Favorite part of your day? Going to sleep with my dog, Jack, at the end of the bed
What’s your passion? What makes you feel most alive?
I have several passions, and the first is making art. It’s freeing to take an emotional or spiritual experience which cannot be expressed in words and turn it into something visual. In the studio, I feel uninhibited and lose track of time. The opportunity to be fully focused on one thing for several hours without interruption is delicious. Currently, my work takes the form of hand built clay sculptures that I mark using my hair and body as my tools.
Allowing myself to make art is an incredible kind of freedom that makes me feel both incredibly vulnerable and alive. I have a similar feeling when I’m riding horses, which is also a passion of mine. When I’m jumping a horse over a fence and my adrenaline is pumping, I feel absolutely free because I’m connecting to a core part of myself that is fundamentally wild.
What about you surprises people when you first meet them?
When I first meet someone, they are shocked that my art includes sticking my head in a bucket of paint and using my hair as the brush. They don’t usually see that coming. And also that my former life included being an entrepreneur and creative agency CEO. The clay covered overalls I wear today don’t give away that I have had a uniform of brightly colored suits.
Where do you live, and what do you love about your home/hometown?
I live in East Hampton, NY year round. My neighborhood is called Springs and it’s steeped in art history as the birthplace of the Abstract Expressionist movement. I love that so many artists have lived and worked here and still do. Our house is also full of history. It belonged to Judith Lieber, the handbag designer, and her husband Gus Lieber who was a painter. I took over his former studio which overlooks a garden with Japanese maples, endless birds, and rabbits eating clover on the lawn. It’s a very special place.
The other thing I love about living here year round is the ability to be really active throughout each season. In the winter I run trails in the snow or ride horses indoors, in the fall I paddle board around the Accabonac Bay, and in spring, it’s not uncommon to have the beach to yourself.
What inspired you to pursue your area of expertise?
I picked up clay because of its physicality. I liked the idea of making things that required not only my hands, but also the strength of my entire body. I personally don’t get the same catharsis from painting on canvas on a wall. I like hitting the clay and feeling the weight of a finished piece in my hands.
Drop us with some knowledge. What’s the one fact, insight, or story about your area of expertise you’d like to share?
Ceramics that are made with clay and then high fired in a kiln will last 30,000 years. Working with clay is truly humbling because it’s an art form where you can spend months on one piece and then when you’re done, you stick it in an oven at 2300 degrees, let it burn, and then accept what comes out on the other side. It’s a lesson in letting go.
Is there a wellness myth you can bust for us?
There’s no such thing as being “bad at meditation.”
CULTURE & RELATIONSHIPS
What values did the people you consider family instil in you?
Generosity, independence, loyalty.
What’s your cultural or ethnic heritage, and how does your background inform your approach to wellness?
I’m half Mexican and Argentinian and I am a first generation American. I think the Mexican approach to wellness prioritizes long meals with lots of laughter. When I think of Mexico, I think of my mother’s huge extended family, many shots of tequila, and a lot of loud and enthusiastic displays of affection. I think the love from family keeps them well..
Who do you call family?
My husband Peter and our dog Jack. My siblings, my parents and my closest friends, many of whom I’ve been friends with for 10-20 years.
How do you stay connected with loved ones?
I have a very active WhatsApp chat with my friends in the UK, Europe, Mexico, and Asia. My friends are scattered all over the world.
How do you balance the responsibilities of family life (to kids, partners, parents, or others) with self-care?
I have learned that without putting self-care first, I cannot show up for my family in the ways I want to. I am committed to my morning ritual at home before anything else. It’s hard to have a good day with my husband if I have a headache, and if I don’t eat breakfast or hydrate or meditate, then I’m less likely to feel good. I don’t have kids, so my priority is making sure I can be there for my husband, my sister, and my close friends when they need me.
What sparked your wellness journey?
I have struggled with anxiety and headaches since I was a teenager. Both got worse in my early thirties and started to affect every part of my life. Looking for relief motivated me to try so many different things including tracking my blood sugar, changing my diet, meditation, breath work, running, and acupuncture, among other things. Ultimately the most impactful things I’ve done to reduce my headaches have been acupuncture and healing childhood trauma through therapy. It turns out that when you hold a lot of emotion in, your body will express it somehow, and for me that’s through headaches. Acupuncture has also been a gamer changer. I go on a weekly basis. Anxiety has been more difficult to tackle, but I have found relief through meditation, deleting social media, and by simplifying my life and the demands on my time.
What part of your morning ritual helps you start the day on the right foot?
I have a daily meditation practice which is essential. For years I’ve practiced Zazen, but most recently I’ve been exploring Insight Meditation through the Waking Up App.
What’s your favorite place to unwind?
There’s a protected bay near my house that has a small island with a bird sanctuary right in the middle of it. I like to take my stand up paddle board out there and paddle around at sunset. Whenever I do this, I always come back calm and with a smile on my face.
Take us with you on a grocery shopping trip. What’s always in your cart (real or virtual)?
Lately my grocery shopping trips have been to my own backyard! My husband and I have a quarter acre vegetable garden that we planted with 50+ different varieties of fruits and veggies this season. Lately we’ve been doing an early morning harvest and cooking with whatever is fresh. In the summer, the only things we buy at the local farm stand are greens, sourdough, and cheese. Because we grow so much produce, we make our own tomato sauce and pickles. I put extra virgin olive oil on everything.
How do you stay healthy?
I stay healthy by eating mostly vegetarian, moving my body outside as much as possible, and prioritizing my mental health through meditation and staying in touch with my close friends. I am still learning how to take care of my body through different periods of life because what it needs changes and those changes are almost always aligned with whatever is going on mentally and emotionally.
What’s the one ingredient or spice you can’t live without? Why?
Maldon salt. I put it on everything. Sometimes I eat the flakes straight out of the salt box on their own. I’m obsessed.
How do you “treat” yourself?
My weekly acupuncture treatments are both medically necessary and also feel like an indulgence sometimes. I love cupping. I just leave feeling amazing every time. I really look forward to it.
What must-haves are in your pantry?
Maldon salt, Cholula hot sauce, balsamic vinegar, Kosterina Olive oil. I’m very into condiments.
How do you enjoy your Kosterina Extra Virgin olive oil?
On everything, mostly vegetables. One of my favorite recipes is a sheet pan of roasted vegetables with baked feta and lots of EVOO. I also like Kosterina on vanilla soft serve with honey, salt, and dried herbs. Trust me. It’s delicious.
Do you like hosting dinner parties? If so, do you have a dish that’s your claim to fame?
I love hosting people outdoors. My go-to is Mexican food. I make my own salsas and tortillas from scratch.
What are your favorite fitness resources/favorite workouts?
Horseback riding, which can be pretty strenuous. I ride twice per week. I’m also a runner and I like getting out on trails or on the beach. I recently put a rebounder in my studio and I jump on it when I need to re-energize.
Say you only have 10 minutes to squeeze in a workout. What do you do?
I do a rebounder workout or I go for a short run.
Do you have a scent, sound, or taste that helps you relax?
I keep Aveda Shampure oil on my nightstand and I put a little on my eye mask before bed. It’s so soothing and relaxing. I also have a rose fragrance I wear during the day that makes me feel at ease.
How do you stay the course when you’re not feeling motivated?
I make my husband my accountability partner. He helps me stay on course. He’s wonderful that way.