Gretchen Lohse, Musician, Mother

Welcome to the first post in our interview series with Emily "Birdie" Busch. Birdie's challenge is to tease out candid responses from fellow artistic, industrious women. Painters, mothers, musicians, brewers, bakers, and more. What muses! Let's begin...

Gretchen Lohse is a musician and mother who lives in Philadelphia with her husband collaborator and young son Cecil. It’s hard to quickly sum up Gretchen’s creative journey which I believe is what I have always admired about her. She has a perseverance to contain multitudes and a hunger to work on projects that are extremely varied in scope and imagination. In addition to putting out solo work in the past, she often collaborates with others, composing music for television and film, as well as live scores for projects like the experimental documentary The Pine Barrens. She currently teaches violin and handiwork classes to children in addition to it all. She has joked with me about her young son Cecil’s face observing his parents from his seat on the couch while they set up music videos in their living room involving stop motion editing and props. He seems to already understand that his mother is a peculiar creature and he is just starting to observe a fraction of the wonder they will share together. 

I went to her house for the photo shoot and Cecil woke up early from a nap to join us. He became part of the series to fully capture a day in the life. It seemed serendipitous to document it all together as National Picnic clothes are made for smooth transitions within our lives full of daily shapeshifting.

Gretchen is styled here in tops from the Simpatico Collection and some bateau neckline pieces.


Recommended Gretchen Lohse rabbit-holes: 

Sylvio- Award Winning indie comedy that Gretchen Lohse and Thomas Hues did the musical score for.

Carol Cleveland Sings- The Psychedelic bedroom pop duo of Gretchen Lohse and Thomas Hues.

The Pine Barrens- The experimental documentary film in which Gretchen Lohse was part of the live score orchestra.


What is a career/creative moment you are proud of? 

Last fall my husband and I scored and performed a section of Lotte Reiniger's Prince Achmed at the Parkway Theatre in Baltimore, along with a group of really talented musicians. I have always loved silent film and been a fan of Lotte in particular for years, so this felt like coming home. 

What are you listening to now? What are you looking at? What recipe you feeling? 
It's winter and rainy, so lots of Sibylle Baier and Satie and other melancholy types. The Millennium and Donovan when I need something more cheerful. I spend a lot of the day making up songs to sing to my son who loves music and making noise.
I like to spend a lot of time in the kitchen when it's cold out and I've been roasting lots of root veggies and baking pastries for breakfast. Anything that makes the house feel cozy.
How do you define your own personal style or approach to clothes?
I try to stick to thrifted, vintage and handmade clothing and stay away from fast fashion. I like well made pieces in natural fabrics and anything flowey and floral that makes me feel like I belong in an enchanted forest.
What would be your advice to a teenage girl—clothing and style wise—that you wish you had received?
Wear what you feel comfortable in and what makes you feel amazing. I wish someone had told me I didn't need to wear low rise jeans. I was pretty confident in terms of not feeling like I had to wear what everyone else was wearing, but I sure wasted a lot of years wearing pants that didn't fit me.
About the interviewer:
Emily "Birdie" Busch is one of National Picnic's social content contributors. Living in Germantown, Philadelphia, she has been songwriting and recording independent music for a solid decade. She has created a constellation of connect-the-dots that has people listening to her music all over the world. Read Birdie's extended bio here.

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