Every one and a while a project comes along that captures your heart. This is one of those projects.
Many of you know from following over the years, I’ve been involved with the iconic Engage! Wedding Symposiums for the past 5 years. Not your typical conference by far, these epic gatherings are a mingling of minds, hearts and passions. Twice a year I join the best in the industry in some of the most impressive locations coast to coast; from Grand Cayman and Las Vegas, to San Diego and the incomparable Breakers in Palm Beach.
We joined forces with the team at Two Paperdolls to create the itineraries and namecards for each attendee…Being this was Engage’s 10th anniversary, we just had to step it up. Once I reviewed the color story…Tangerine Tango, white and silver, I knew…there had to be silver foil. It all began with a sketch of The Breakers…
For some wow, I envisioned a large tri-fold to stretch to 15 inches when open…Here is where the insanely talented Deborah Nadel comes into play. Her custom script, crafted especially for Engage! made an appearance again and again from cover to interior. We had the honor of watercolor-ing over and around her lovely hand.
To get the look first clean water is painted onto each. We then float in soft watercolor shades, letting the color and water explode together in haphazard form.
Next we moved on to the extra large namecards. Two Paperdolls created sheets of the Engage! pattern in silver foil which we then painted in an ombre effect with rich shades of tangerine ink.
I interpreted the Engage! sunburst in sketch and each were then painted with juicy watercolor and silver shimmer ink brushstrokes…all 600…these lovelies were double sided.
I won’t soon forget the call I received after all art was sent and the printing had been done. Vanessa from Two Paperdolls could only say “this stuff looks #!&*##!! amazing!” Now you know me…I don’t get mouthy on my blog but that statement from Vanessa seemed to sum up what we all were feeling about the Engage! paperie.
Every impression, every brushstroke, each turn of the pen was full of spirit and a colorful energy -we all felt it. I’m honored to have created this paperie with such good, good people. XO
So I have a story for you and not the kind of story you might expect to hear after I’ve been at a fabulously orchestrated, glam conference in Las Vegas. As on onlooker you may think our days are filled with all that is beautiful, creative and just plain wonderful. I must admit, I have pinch-me moments often as my job, the way I make a living and support my family in most ways is a dream. BUT, there are some days that try the soul. Last Saturday was one of those days for me.
A stationers worst nightmare came true for me last week. The type of situation all of us event professionals dread. The situation we plan for with scenarios A-Z; the kind of situation that never happens…HAPPENED.
FedEx (whom we do not typically use for shipping) decided our massive, perfectly packaged box full of hand-watercolored letterpress itinerary booklets, fresh off 60+ hours on the painting table needed a little hydration. Not a mist or a sprinkle but what appeared to be a five hour submersion in standing water. The box was so damaged it arrived lovingly re-boxed by FedEx to appear as if nothing ever happened. Oh but it did happen. Water + cotton letterpress stock + individually hand painted watercolor moments = you do the math.
So why am I telling you this story? Why am I sharing one of my worst fears coming true? One simple reason – to share how we triumphed with the help of some friends.
Just one minute after receiving the call, I sprang into action. My ruined papers were in Vegas, I was still in PA and there was a good 24 hrs between me and them. New covers were printed, phone calls were made. A team in Vegas agreed to jump on board (without me even asking really) and begin to curate and salvage what was left of these gorgeous pieces. By the time I arrived in Vegas after 10 pm the next day, the water soaked beauties were well on their way to being stunning again and ready to meet their recipients on Monday afternoon.
Now, a look at the finished pieces…
The purpose of telling this story isn’t to scare (no worries ladies, we have systems in place so this doesn’t happen to you). The purpose isn’t to flaunt our pretty-despite-the-mess papers. The purpose is to inspire. This industry is full of individuals with gumption and guts. We put our hearts (the work) out there every day and well, some days go better than others. Regardless though we are ready. Ready for the worst and the best. Prepared to literally do whatever it takes to preserve and rebuild all that we take great care to cultivate – our art.
Every year, twice a year I head off to some lovely location to mingle with industry friends at the legendary wedding symposiums called Engage! The experience of Engage! goes far beyond mingling, to a higher place where like-minded artists get to let their hair down, speak freely and get to the heart of what it is we do everyday…tell love stories.
So a little peek at all the fun to start from Lori and Matt of I Do Films in Chicago…Look closely, you get to see me painting a bit in here!
Don’t let the artful decor and brilliantly branded swag be all that you see…This symposium is serious stuff and is the springboard for many innovations. At any moment you can hear the ammunition of big ideas gearing up. Small conversations by the pool, big groups laughing and dreaming up their next partnership; it all happens at Engage!, the fun of life, the beauty of life and yes the big ideas that make this life so worth it.
Mind-Blowing gifting and swag by Gifts for the Good Life
Every year I sketch Engage! I never need to look far to get inspired. This year the team at Bob Gail Events designed the stage where all the speaker magic happened. Chevron stripes, delicious patterns, texture made with succulents all wrapped up into an innovative design to catch my eye again and again. This year I went beyond the fleeting sketch, and whipped out my full palette and brushes. Each day I began I painting inspired by whatever caught my attention first.
Opening Session – Instantly enamored by the painted succulents I created a quick study…
Day 3 – All about gold. The signature Engage!12 burst became my muse as I interpreted each and every detail in quirky ink and paint.
I’m not asleep here, promise. But seriously just had to share this shot. I never get to see myself painting!
More to come!