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Jan 10, 2023

You Have to Be There!

“I need people’s energy,” said Michelle Obama during her recent interview on Conan O’Brien’s podcast. I sat up straighter when I heard that declaration.

“Me too!” I nodded. Her words exemplified what stood out for me in 2022. My most memorable experiences were in response to other people’s in-person energy. Yes, I had meaningful exchanges via Zoom, but they cannot be compared to the magic of human contact.

In March I hired photographer, Shirin Tinati, who had recently created glorious headshots for my good friend, an actress. Shirin and I collaborated seamlessly. She found just the right pair of eyeglass frames for me to wear, and I offered her a selection of cups from which to choose for a particular pose.

Her spirit excited me so much that I took out every piece of art I’d made and let her create images of those while I changed outfits.

Shirin pushed together the two slipper chairs in my living room, took down a wall hanging and arranged my work into what has become my signature shot. When I found the opportunity to promote my art in the press, having Shirin’s photos simplified the task and provided the confidence to push ‘send.’


I’m fortunate to live in Lin-Manuel Miranda’s neighborhood. To bring more culture to the area, he offered a series of free movie showings at the spectacularly renovated United Palace Theatre including Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing in May. After the film ended, Miranda interviewed Spike Lee on the stage about his masterpiece. Even though they were a hundred feet away from where I sat, their conversation invigorated me and inspired me to keep at my own process. Lee’s movie, filmed in 1989, was more relevant than ever. Both men’s enthusiasm for creativity and productivity filled the hall, and I received a healthy dose of passion and urgency from their presence.
Attending the Design Influencers Conference in Atlanta in August was a major highlight of 2022, putting me in proximity to over 200 talented, creative and generous men and women. This photo of me and Corey Damen Jenkins, an Architectural Digest Top 100 Designer, captures the joy of being present to a high energy exchange. The dozens of connections I made by being there in person have carried me through the last several months.
The ultimate highlight of 2022 was my trip to Whidbey Island (thank you AGAIN, Patti!) which broadened my world view of creative women and the spaces they inhabit. As a result, I’ve expanded my studio area (I appropriated the top shelf of my pantry closet for my dye pot and jars) and have started dreaming about taking over the apartment next door as a dye studio and gallery. A girl can dream, right?


What does that mean for 2023? I’ve already enrolled in the Luxury Home Design Summit in May and will seek out and attend at least one in-person networking event every month of the year. I want to be present where other makers and doers are showing up and allow the gusto of those exchanges to inform my year.

Put yourself where you can receive. That’s my plan.

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