I was blown away. I knew we both had very liberal arts degrees from an institution that pretended vocational skills like design don't exist, so she didn't get any of this from college...and she had been working at a think tank so couldn't really have picked it up there. It was pure, raw, natural, inimitable talent. She obviously had not only a keen eye for design and a very distinctive style, but a passion that had even in her spare time turned her into an avid collector. The items in these photographs clearly weren't just off the shelf from Crate and Barrel or Restoration Hardware...some might have been, but others were inherited or found...in antique shops, estate sales, markets, bookstores, dark basements or hot attics...far and wide, and she knew exactly how to put them together. I've always loved her effortless ability to combine different eras, colors, textures and patterns into an uncluttered whole that makes it look like all those things asked to be brought together. In the same way, she blogged about her process, inspirations and finds in a natural, light, humble and funny way. And...she had the gumption to make that massive career jump. To think, so what if I didn't study this, so what if no one's taught me, so what if no one would hire me because its not on my CV. I want to...I can, and I will. I remember it clear as daylight, that night, that moment, seeing all that, thinking...hey, maybe I can do that.
I continued following Christine's projects, travels and blog with great interest and about a year later I did it. I made the jump. Following a couple of intensive graphic design courses at Parsons, I was hanging out in New York drawing, painting, lettering and dreaming up what you now know of as The Letterist, and starting to share a few things on Instagram. I didn't quite know what I was doing yet...but I had a big stack of aquarelle postcards and each day I'd paint a swash of watercolor and overlay it with a quote. One afternoon, Christine wrote that she was in New York and we decided to meet at Eataly for a glass of wine. Before she even sat down, I said tell me more about what you're doing! You're my hero! I love your work! And she turned around and said, what I'm doing?! Forget what I'm doing...I want to hear about what you're doing! I saw it on Instagram and I love it! In the time that has passed since, I've had many an encounter or project that has given me the praise, reward or encouragement to believe in what I'm doing and to continue doing it...but I still remember that one fondly. One of my favourite interior designers, and the person who inspired me to even consider this, loves my work. Forget Pinterest, Instagram, classical music and the rest. This. Is. Inspiration. (And its not just inspiration...because when I posted my first collection of Christmas cards on my online shop, the first sale came through in less than a day, and of course, it was from Christine.)
[For some silly reason, I at the time was going through an obsessive hot yoga phase, so when one glass turned into two and was about to turn into three, I said my goodbyes and ran towards the subway. And Christine – I gotta tell you, I still regret it! Trust that I have since then grown up and matured into a rational, sensible adult who picks cold wine, over hot yoga, any day.]
I still follow what she's up to...and hope that if you've read this far, you might too. She's moving to New York in the next couple of weeks so I'm also secretly praying that her magical inspiration might strike again and it wont be long before I end up there too. Ha. In the meantime...a couple of working photos from her latest and I believe most beloved project...their new weekend home in Maine. I've already said I'm coming to visit, and that I want to stay, in that bathroom. To see more of this project (together with some shocking before photos) and her other work, follow Christine on Instagram or visit her website here.
And...in whatever way you can...stay inspired.