“Roses by the Stairs”

My best friend came up with The Lyric Project. The conversation went something like this: “You love words. You’re a band geek. This will make you think, you can get lyrics from other people, AND you don’t have to take a picture every day.” Honestly, it was the last part that sold me. I was coming off a 365 project that kinda made me never want to touch a camera again, but these “rules” gave me the opportunity to spread pictures out over a month’s time. So I started on New Year’s Eve. I was having fun staging and taking pictures, and would write down every lyric I liked, but I kept getting sucked into the second verse of “All the Small Things” by Blink 182 – “Late night, come home, work sucks, I know. She left me roses by the stairs, surprises let me know she cares.” It was an obvious choice for February, so I started thinking – I love my staircase so that was easy placement, I have a bazillion vases, I just needed some really pretty roses. My favorite place in the world to buy flowers is Trader Joe’s, and one afternoon as I was walking through the store, I gasped into my phone “I have to go!”, hung up on my BFF, and grabbed this bouquet that I’ve never been able to correctly describe the color of, so “champagne” is what I went with.

I watched those roses for 3 days. I put them on my desk during the day, moved them to the table for dinner, moved them away from my cat at night, and then I would check their progress in morning…just watching, waiting, for them to be perfect. When they opened how I wanted, I got giddy. I changed their water. I changed their vase, multiple times. I moved furniture. I rearranged lighting. And I took 146 pictures of them. One *hundred* and forty-six pictures. I’m not sure I have ever been so frustrated trying to get a shot the way I wanted. I even broke down and shed some tears around the 115 mark thinking this was a huge waste of my time. I took a break and had some tea, then I had a beer, and went back to work. Then there was one that I thought “Humph. That one wasn’t all that bad” and snapped a few more. I sent the “good one” to my BFF (who had been encouraging me via text the whole morning) and he said “See. You got it. Isn’t that all that matters in the end?” I listed it on Etsy, posted it on Facebook, and sold a couple framed prints of it. I was pretty happy.

Fast forward to July when I joined The Artisan Group. I was thrilled to be accepted! but now what to do with that membership? My first project was a one-off gifting for Mariska Hargitay. I sent her a metal print of an orchid and a set of cards. Then I designed an ad for the TAG event guide for the 2012 CMAs. As I was designing the ad I tried to think of the audience for country music and kept coming back to my “Roses by the Stairs” picture. It was rustic, but simple and striking. So I used it, then I used it for another ad and people kept telling me how beautiful it looked. In November I decided to gift GBK’s 2013 Golden Globes. I really struggled with what image to use; I had so many ideas, so I asked the TAG founder Valerie what she thought. She told me that she enjoyed my portfolio, but there was one image that she really loved. So I ordered 100 prints, mats, cases, stickers, and printed ads, and over Thanksgiving weekend, my mother, mother-in-law, and I made an assembly line around my dining room table to organize and get everything ready. I (slowly) worked on them for weeks – taped the picture to the mat (well, my mom did that), backed the mat, signed the mat, twice, smoothed down the edges, placed the ad in the folder, and finally stickered each one closed. I looked at all 100 of them done for a minute or two, and then boxed them up to ship off to California. I know all products have a “journey” with them, but I’ve remembered every second associated with this print and I’m thrilled for the opportunity to share it at the Golden Globes. I hope they love it as much as I do.