This year has felt like lesson after lesson in letting go—of being tender with change, of relinquishing expectations, of admitting that things we thought were constants are actually always in flux. In this usual season of abundance and generosity, as we approach the winter solstice and the shift back towards the light, we are reminded, of course, that there is a flip side: That being tender with change can also look like nurturing new growth. That relinquishing expectations can also look like rewriting what brings joy. That when we realize that the path we are on doesn't have to to be a straight line, it leaves room for twists, turns, unexpected destinations, and beautiful adventures.

On the stunning surf-report coasts of New Zealand, artists Ophelia Mikkelson Jones and Ryder Jones have been living on the flip side—approaching their summer solstice on the twisting, turning path towards a life less ordinary, one on which they are the authors of their own joy, finding deep meaning in living simply, with intention, and with each other. 

As we are reconsidering how to make the most of this holiday season (and this one precious life), we wanted to step into the flip side, and take a few notes from Ryder and Ophelia on giving beyond the material and celebrating the miraculous in the everyday.


Ryder wears the Wilma Pullover and Sierra Beanie





This season we are all reimagining our concepts of gratitude and abundance. What is resonating for you this year? Have you noticed any shifts in perspective?

Ophelia: Our garden is bursting right now, this, for me, brings such joy! The ocean is warming up too which I am grateful for.

Ryder: I’m grateful to the country we live in, Aotearoa, its land and oceans.

Freedom was a great gift I was given, an essential ingredient in my life growing up, and it is one of the things that draw Ophelia and I together now, in the family we are creating.


What are your thoughts on ritual? How is that similar or different than your thoughts on tradition?

Ophelia: To me they are very linked and interwoven and always connected to nature, cooking, and song. 

Ryder: Rituals, to me, are actions ingrained and braided into the changeable rhythms of everyday life. Constants among change. Traditions, to me, are landmarks in time. Moments to re-enter each year.

Many people equate "living simply/with intention" with "minimalism". How do you reconcile the two?

Ophelia: I think we have the living simply part pretty handled, but the minimalism part is something we need to work on... It is an interesting combination, as people that make and collect things, that we are trying to balance better. 

Ryder: There are seasons in our house. Storms of activity, and times that are mellow.

We are not minimalists, there are times of abundance and times of bare essentials.

But often the mess is beautiful and odd. Shells and knives and cut-open lemons, one thousand mugs, and paintings hovering between. But sometimes you step on things in the night.




Ryder wears the Maison Shirt and Crop Wide Leg Pants, and Ophelia wears the Frankie Slip



Ryder wears the Wilma Pullover and Oversize Tee







What are your most prized possessions? What are your most valuable intangibles?

Ophelia: I have a little box of notes, dried flowers and small sculptures Ryder made me when we first met at University almost nine years ago. Every so often I look through the box, each object is so delicate yet holds so much feeling for me. 

Ryder: Conversations, moments of grace.


Your partnership seems like just that: a true partnership. What does that look like in terms of your daily rhythms? What does that look like on the expansive, electric level?

Ophelia: It means just that: daily rhythm. Knowing each other's ways of being intimately and honouring that. I think we are very kind and gentle with each other. He is my home and family. 

Ryder: There are moments when we are alone but together. I think we try to make a space between us that is calm and connected where we can feel free and safe.

We usually go down to the beach.


What are the best gifts you have ever received What are the best gifts you have given?

Ophelia: Ryder makes me necklaces from things he finds at the beach: fishing line, shells, pods, seaweed. They are so beautiful. I wore one on our wedding day. I love giving gifts—Cooking, for me, is something I can give each day. 

Ryder: My dad taught me how to be in the Sea, this is one of the most lasting things I have received and I love sharing what I have learned.




Follow Ophelia & Ryder on Instagram here. Photos by Sophia Bayly






                                                                                                  Ryder wears the Wilma Pullover and Sierra Beanie, and Ophelia wears the Elbow Tee, Joan Crew, and Utility Pants

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