I go to many charity benefit events, where you pay a lot of money, everyone dresses up to be seen for about an hour or hour and a half max, to eat the tiniest bites of food imaginable, and schmooze with the rich and famous with everyone posturing to get their photo taken and wind up in the "scene" photos of one of the local publications.
This event is kinda like that mixed with Filene's bargain basement sale where Lucy and Ethel are reaching and grabbing in a big herd of people all fighting to beat everyone else to the bargains, while holding a glass of wine in one hand, a tiny snack in the other, and balancing a designer handbag over one's shoulder which is precariously threatening to knock the wine or snack to the floor at any moment. It is a hoot! I love it!
So what is the big deal with all of this??? To start with, the founder, Lisa Robinson, has a passion to provide not only housing for those who are without a home, but to provide them with beautiful, well designed spaces fully tricked out to meet their needs and give them a sense of pride and dignity. With a background in design herself, she could envision the possibilities of creating these spaces using the resources of the Dallas Design Community. So she wisely came up with the idea of sort of a DESIGNER SHOWCASE, (counting on designers to want to outdo each other with the most creative vignettes) inviting well known Dallas designers to create vignettes for this one special event that would feature not only donated items from the DwD warehouse to be reinvented, repainted, recreated, whatever, but also with every possible designer furnishing anyone or any designer showroom would be willing to donate- all to be for sale at bargain prices at this one event to provide the funds needed for DwD to operate another year, and challenging the designers to showcase their creative abilities.
All you have to say is designer furnishings at discount prices-- everyone comes running!!!
I didn't hesitate a second when invited to participate in this year's Thrift Studio! I was IN! From the beginning I tried to keep in mind the focus of the event was to raise money for the cause. Yet as a designer you have a chance to get out in front of people to show what you can do with a challenging combination of elements.
For me this meant calling on some of my creative resources such as Richard Bettinger, a fabulous photographic artist, to provide a full wall mural of a Paris city scene from our recent trip to Paris, to Kathy Runkel making a resin top for a "re-purposed" table base from the warehouse, using selenite crystals embedded in the resin in colors to match the vignette, to Bryan Wetz to provide powder coating for metal pieces from the warehouse in fun colors, and robing the warehouse of my friend Bernadette Schaeffler of fun pieces of furniture to mix with strange and wonderful pieces from the DwD warehouse, covered in scrumptious bright fabric remnants from some of my past projects. Then drawing from my friends at Carlyn Galerie, Kittrell Riffkind, Dallas Rugs, and Allan Knight Showroom to provide the finishing touches, so that all could have a part in supporting this outstanding cause.
Along the way, there was plenty of excitement, starting with drawing against other designers for the perfect vignette space. I still do not understand how I drew the sixth place to make my selection, yet still garnered the very first spot as you came in the front door! I felt like I must have missed something. Then going to the warehouse to put your name on the items you wanted to use was like a trial run on the Filene's Bargain Basement scenario with designers fighting over whose name was on a piece first! - "my name was on that bean bag chair before ours was!!!" etc! Sooo funny, and so much fun!
When we finally were allowed to start installation after scrambling around to find enough to fill our space with donated items, recreating them with astonishing new finishes and fabrics, I was amazed at the hands on commitment of the DwD team! So glad that Laura, who bravely climbed to the top of the 18' ladder to help Bryan Wetz hang my chandelier, ended up with the 18' ladder. Her eyes lit up like a child's on Christmas when Bryan suggested that Home Depot might let her keep the ladder he had rented!
All in all it was so much fun from start to finish, and yet the part that brought tears to all our eyes was hearing Laura say that not only had we made enough to meet this years budget, but had actually exceeded it by 15% !!! I love being on the winning team!!!