In pondering the upcoming holiday ballyhoo, my resolute assistant suggested that I begin the season with a post entitled, “What Interior Designers Are Thankful For”.
My first reaction- “Clever girl, thank you and of course…” but as I began to compose, a million misgivings arose from this simple request. On and on they roiled, the gist of the matter being: how should I rise to speak on behalf of the eclectic and illustrious members of my profession? Why are my words more weighty than those of another?
In deep reflection I suddenly remembered the monumental “Angels” art installation designed by my friend Meg Donahue this fall in Brattleboro, Vermont. Writing on giant chalk boards, people from all walks of life got to publicly express their heart’s gratitude and the graffiti was beautiful and powerful. So knowing that I can’t speak for all and I shouldn’t speak for all, perhaps one small voice might express a few connective thoughts of appreciation for my vocation.
Thankful for the Opportunity
In considering our profession, which is all too often portrayed in the glorious, glamorous afterglow, we can all attest to bumps, bruises, thin margins, broken items, broken promises, excessive details, headaches, Murphy’s law to the tenth power, and an inheritance of lame excuses that would make Looney Tunes seem boring. There is a real zany, ugly backstage which we try to contain and regulate as we assume responsibility for the completed stage setting.
Nonetheless, we quickly forget the woes and mishaps as an amazingly thrilling process offers itself up time and again: the opportunity to see and to touch and to search for undiscovered beauty. This is an inspiring realm of tangible interactive creativity. Our design blocks are not as eternal as the bricks and mortar of architecture and yet they dwell more deeply in the realm of memory, where human experiences play on the stage of unique individuals. Our clients share their inner thoughts and we help create the spaces that become the fabric of their daily lives. With each set of circumstances, a new aesthetic and a new methodology evolve so that the creative process is always changing and never completely our own.
I can not imagine the faith and trust required in those who give us this opportunity of entering their private dwellings and workplaces, allowing us to interpret, suggest, and alter elements from which even their closest loved ones might be withheld. I think we all learn from our clients and if we are fortunate we may learn from them again as time goes by. It is an entrusted privilege to become the painters of these living canvases.
Thankful for the Time in Which We Live
Technology is an amazing asset in our practice. The computer can never replace human interaction, but it is a wondrous tool, allowing us to do business faster and more efficiently. In an instant, visual images suggest ideas and the global market of beautiful textiles, carpets, furnishings and decorative arts which can easily be reached. We can share portfolio shots in and receive almost immediate feedback. Every terrific artist, furniture or cabinetmaker, every great new resource from High Point Market, every local subcontractor can be readily introduced to clients. We must use this tool wisely, sharing only what we know to be authentic and worthy, but in doing so, we are able to offer a breadth of service never before known. The world is shrinking, interconnected in ways never imagined. To be a part of the intimacy is only one idea away.
Thankful for a Community of Support
We all need the support of others to do our jobs. As designers, we are incessantly asking orders of production, installation, construction and shipping. We work in local business communities that support us as independent entrepreneurs. We work with artists, architects, carpenters, painters and workroom managers who produce breathtaking results. We work within a larger design community of support-journalists, designers, vendors, design centers and manufacturers, who share and support our passion.
For me, I love my little shop on beautiful Main Street, Keene, New Hampshire. Our community is blessed with a wealth of diverse, gifted artists whom we value and support. It’s amazing the resources I have just outside my door! In our community dreams do come true through benevolent, generous, focused work. My small business thrives within these dual networks of an exciting, accessible world beyond and a world of local possibilities. These links are blessings that connect and sustain all designers
Thankful for Education in the Arts
As designers, an education in fine arts most likely is our foundation. Whether it be the study of art history, studio art or architecture, we have learned about space, scale and color. Many of us have studied Interior Design as well, honing our knowledge of Interior Architecture, space planning, color theory, rendering, textiles, decorative arts and furniture. It is a vibrant, ongoing education, steeped in our formal training yet constantly unfolding. New materials and aesthetics present themselves rapidly while old ones are rediscovered. Scanning centuries of creative expression, all things of beauty have a relationship and continue to weave their way around and over the warp of time. We are so blessed to be creating living art from this dynamic exploration of exquisite forms, colors and motifs. Whether from nature or man’ s hand, beautiful objects await our discovery and installation. Each day presents itself as another opportunity to learn and to grow in beauty.