"Enlightening, Fun, Thought Provoking" Notes from the Colour for Creatives Workshop, New York
Last Tuesday was such a special day. We held the very first Brand Stylist workshop in New York City, something I've dreamed of doing for years and my goodness, did we have a ball!
"I came all the way from Uruguay exclusively for this and it was so worth it!" Eva Medella
Fancy an inside look? Come on in, I'll show you around...
I booked the Good Light Studio in Manhattan's Chelsea district which proved to have the most deliciously bright light and white walls - the perfect blank canvas for my styling dreams! Add in a bunch of gorgeous creatives, some great food and a brilliant atmosphere and you have a workshop to remember! Images by the incredible Brooklyn Photographer Ana Schechter.
"Enlightening! Fun! Thought Provoking!" Kate Amarelo, Kate and Moose
"Inspiring, very educational, fun!" Kristen Poissant
"A real eye opener! It will forever change the way I think about color when designing for my clients." Marie Chang, August and White
It was such a pleasure to meet such a diverse range of students - many of whom had flown in from far and wide, as well as some native New Yorkers. And in contrast to my London workshops, it was also wonderful to see the balance of designers/ brand stylists to entrepreneurs completely switch round - usually I have around 70% entrepreneurs/ 30% brand stylists whereas in New York the majority were designers which was really fun and has inspired a whole heap of plans I'm going to share with you soon...
"Relaxed, engaging and personal" Ashley Jankowski, Braizen
You saw my styling plans from my last post and I think things pretty much came together as I'd hoped. Well - actually, better than I'd hoped.
How glorious are these kokedamas? I really wish you could've smelt them. Lemon verbena geraniums sourced by the wonderful Gloria Battista Collins (and my new go-to florist for whenever I am in New York). Gloria also wrapped a selection of ferns and ivy as well as bringing the most gorgeous bale of forsythia. She snipped huge bamboo canes from her garden and we used the leaves as a backdrop (see the group photos below or some of the insta shots).
I hand painted various posters as well as the welcome folders and name badges in fluorescent watercolour ink (seriously, why don't we have such well stocked and well priced art shops at home?!) and added my acrylic stars for a shot of neon energy on the tables.
Much of the morning was spent learning about the seasonal personalities in detail by creating a number of collages that would help the students visualise each one. They take some time to get your head around fully, and interestingly, I noticed how very much geared up to an English climate each seasonal description is. Those based in warmer climes (Miami for example) really had to use the powers of their imagination to relate to each season, and I also noticed how 'out of sync' some of our seasons are compared with America - your harvest comes in August for example.
If you find you have the same challenge, perhaps it'll help to think in terms of 'groups' rather than seasons. Don't take things too literally and just think of them as personalities. In her book, Angela Wright, the original developer of the theory refers to them as Type 1, 2, 3, 4 so perhaps that'll make things easier if you think of harvest coming in summer, for example.
I love planning the drinks as much as I do creating a vision for the styling of the venue and I had so much fun with the flavoured waters at this event. A quick trip to WholeFoods gave me all the inspiration I needed and I snapped up Meyer Lemons and Californian Oranges as well as combining Scented Geranium Leaves with Blackberries for an unusual but delicious refresher. The idea for the cucumber, ginger and mint flavour was shamelessly pillaged from a lemonade the kids had at Illi restaurant- a Lebanese restaurant Steph and I had dined at with my family that week (if you ever get the chance to go, I can't recommend it highly enough. Best. Food. Ever).
We had a whole host of gorgeous cakes, including the cute vanilla bundts you'll spot on the Liberty of London plates I snuck into my suitcase along with a whole host of other delights!
After a quick cake pitstop, it was time for more collaging. This time looking at the style of the seasons, a little like looking in through someone's instagram lens. At my last workshop, I had all the students cut these out by hand, but on reflection, I realised it was probably better if we did the cutting in advance. So my family and I cut out 24x 12 sheets x dozens of photos before the workshop. And we handmade the marbled envelopes too. Spot them? They looked gorgeous. I think we were a little #crazy mind you. That was a serious amount of cutting. We must've cut thousands of images out...
I loved how quickly everyone connected and new friendships were formed. Working so closely in groups meant that bonds were formed and discussion between peers was easy. I loved that. Almost all of these guys had never met before but they really did work well together.
I always mean to take a big group shot at a workshop, and somehow, time runs away with me and I always forget. This time it was at the top of Ana's list and we brought together the group, with a little help from Steph and a confetti canon just before lunch. The results, as I hope you'll agree, are priceless!
Lunch was as delicious as I'd hoped it would be. I worked with Poppy's Catering in Brooklyn at the suggestion of a friend of a friend and knew the instant I saw their menu we were going to be on the same page. They brought the most delicious spread: Striped Bass with Yoghurt Dill Dressing and a Citrus Salad; Chicken with Salsa Verde; a Green Salad with those strange watermelon radish things that we definitely don't have in London and a gorgeous Farro Salad with Jerusalem Artichokes and Apple Slices. It was a huge hit with the students and I really can't praise them enough for their flexibility, deliciousness and general loveliness to work with.
After a brief lunch it was back to business. More collaging: this time looking at the design styles that reflected each season. This was quite a challenging task as it's really about looking for the nuances in design and that can be tricky, but the reward: a really robust understanding of how to make design work for your brand.
Collaging over, it was time to move on to mood boarding. Something I find so inspirational and a really fun creative activity. Each student created a board to use as a jumping off point either for their own brand or a client project. It was seriously inspiring to see them all come together. Take a look, they're gorgeous!
As well as making the marbled envelopes, each student was also given an Absolute Essentials of Colour Psychology book as well as a Brand Stylist sketchbook to use in the workshop and then for a host of inspiring projects at home. I can't wait to see what big dreams and grand plans are hatched in those beauties!
I signed a lot of books which is always a lovely (but still slightly surreal) experience.
And at the end of the day it was time to kick back with cocktails and a really lovely goody bag. I'm so grateful to our generous sponsors - Diane James Home who provided the glorious faux roses as well as Legion Paper for the Colourplan samples and books and the lovely Daniella Rondon for the sweet calendars. I also snuck in a bar of chocolate from the UK and Gloria added in a kokedama too which meant that those lucky enough to be able to carry plants on the plane had a deliciously scented and bulging bag to enjoy!
I love this photo taken at the end of the day. It just shows the atmosphere and warmth and loveliness of the students. I'm only sad it's all over, I can't wait to go back!
Running a workshop is a massive undertaking anyway: the content, the handouts, the style, the details, the admin, the food and the drinks! Imagine transporting all of that abroad, adding in the extra pressure of working with a team you've only ever skyped or emailed and sharpening all of that up in the knowledge that you are making one of your life's ambitions happen. You can imagine, the stakes were high and I'm so thrilled with how the day went.
The students really were an overwhelmingly lovely bunch who made the day so fun and special, I just wish we'd had longer together. And the team. Oh, my goodness where do I start?
The wonderful Steph Eastwood who is my assistant for the London workshops and just the loveliest most hands on and energetic person I've worked with in a very long time. It was so good to have a friendly face there and as always, so fun to work together. Gloria - an absolute godsend. The most flexible and inspiring person to work with- full of great ideas and open to working to a brief. She created utter beauty and I know the students loved her work, as did I.
Robin Zachary, who is a prop stylist in New York and suggested Good Light Studio in the first place as well as being a one woman recommendation machine for everything. She is amazing! M at the studio who was always flexible and lovely. And finally Ana Schechter, the incredible photographer who shot these light filled beauties. There are dozens more that I haven't shared yet. I feel so lucky to have been able to work with her, she's taken such beautiful shots and she was an absolute blast to work with and a real joy to be around.
To everyone that made this happen, I just want to say a massive thank you. From my lovely family who are always there for me, right by my side, to the gorgeous students who made the day so special, to the friends that had my back and the whole team that worked so hard to pull this all together. Thank you.
I've come back from New York literally buzzing with ideas. It's a place that can do that to you isn't it? I can't wait to share my plans as I have plenty bubbling...
The next Colour for Creatives workshop is in London on 22nd June. If you'd like to join us, there are just a few spots left so do be quick!