What is one thing that people might not know about you?
I’ve been working on designing a new line of creative paper party goods. I absolutely LOVE entertaining but find it challenging to find plates, cups and napkins that fit the theme and feel of my parties and events. I figured others must have this problem as well so I created themes inspired by the decorative arts of various cultures. For example, a French design, a Greek theme, Asian, Italian etc. Eventually I’d like to do some fun children’s party designs as well.
What is the one thing in life you cannot live without?
English breakfast tea, with cream and sugar of course!
Past or present, who has most influenced your direction in life?
No one achieves success on their own and I have certainly had many mentors in my life. Among those who have inspired me are my wonderful husband, my parents, teachers, professors and my Girl Scout leaders. I have always been motivated naturally but I’ve been fortunate to have people in my life that support my goals. From a young age I've always known I wanted to create things, design and experiment with art materials. My fascination with art, interior design and entertaining has always been a direction that felt right.
Who would you most like to meet and how would you spend the day?
It’s very important for artists to push boundaries and there are 2 people that come to mind, Pablo Picasso and Kelly Weartsler. What I most admire about Picasso is although he could render and paint realistically from a young age, he explored and invented many diﬀerent styles and genres of art. He never allowed himself to get locked into one specific style. Over his lifetime he produced an extraordinary amount of diverse work. I myself enjoy exploring a variety of styles and genres of painting and his life’s work very much inspires me. We would spend the day at a museum or just making art in his studio.
Present day, I’d say the very bold and glamorous interior designer, Kelly Weartsler. She has such a distinct eclectic style that is warm, luxurious and unique. We would go to an antique market in Paris to hunt for interesting things and later enjoy éclairs at a cafe.
What inspires your creativity?
I’ve always been enamored with the way light and reflections hit surfaces and the textural qualities in fabrics or nature. Historical decorative arts from all over the world have always been of great interest to me, Lately celestial elements like comets and shooting stars get my attention. Art materials and colors also inspire my work. There are so many gel mediums, types of paints and canvas/paper supplies to choose from with their own unique qualities that inspire the direction of a piece.
How would you describe your personal style?
I think it’s always evolving and inventive. I’m always drawn to warm, classic, earthy things but always seek a bit of whimsy and a touch of glamour.
What is your most prized possession?
Among my most prized possessions is a culinary master set of ornamenting tubes I inherited from my French-born grandfather. He had served as Executive Chef at the venerable Hay-Adams Hotel in Washington, D.C. from 1954-1969. I think I owe my love of the culinary arts and entertaining to him.
What do you like most about your job?
It's always something diﬀerent and never repeated. My job gives me the opportunity to learn and study the artistic aspects of all cultures and time periods. For example, designer Summer Thornton commissioned me to do delicate Chinoiserie wallpaper and murals in the style of de Gournay for her clients. I recently did some outrageously diﬀerent large graﬃti-style paintings for one of Megan Winter’s clients. The custom pieces were for the client’s 10 year old son who made a list of his favorite things (dinosaurs, robots, pandas etc) which I incorporated into the pieces. Most recently, I’ve been painting large scale abstracts for designers all over the country. I love working from my home studio because it allows me to be with of my 10 month and 2 year old little girls. It’s a challenge to get things accomplished sometimes, but I somehow manage and enjoy it despite all the “help”!
What's in the future for you?
It has been a very good year. To have had my work featured prominently in Elle Decor’s May issue throughout Megan Winter’s fabulous home AND on the cover of December’s Veranda with the very talented Miles Redd. I would very much like to work with more great designers like Katie Ridder, Michael Smith, Kelly Weartsler, and Madeline Stuart among others. I’d also like to foster relationships with galleries and possibly consider licensing my designs with companies that align with my work. In addition to more variations of the gold and silver leaf canvas pieces, I am presently developing new works reminiscent of the abstracts of the 1970’s. I’m going for lots of texture and blocked in shapes but with an excited updated color palette.
What advice would you give someone wanting to become a designer?
People appreciate attention to detail and good clear communication. Be punctual and organized as well as professional and respectful in every way. The creative aspects are of course fun, but these traits are always appreciated and will set you apart from others.
What valuable lessons have you learned along your journey as a designer?
I feel it’s important to earn a degree, but there’s nothing like real life experience and learning from others in your field. Every project has something to be learned from and if you think of it that way, you will train yourself to look for the lesson and improve each time. Think independently, keep your craft fresh and fluid and have the confidence to be open to new endeavors.
Do you have a style icon?
Megan Winters. I love, love love what she's doing right now. She enthusiastically dreams up extraordinary things way outside the box and lives fully. She glows brightly and makes everything fun. Her spirit is something I aspire to and her style is truly delightful!