When my grandfather was 85, I went to his birthday party and my dad asked him what he thought were the top 5 things he had learned. Sadly, I didn't have a recorder that day, but the top two stuck with me:
1) To love well, and be well loved in return.
2) To be lucky enough to be surrounded by beauty
It has become an acid test of sorts for now Nash and I decide to accept new clients. When I first meet a new designer(s), I listen to their story. Designers have all types of reasons to want something made, but I want to hear my client say what you're making is inspired by love, not just for yourself, but also for those around you. Secondly, I look at the sketch or prototype they have and decide if it's beautiful.
Beauty is something that changes I think like the Velveteen Rabbit, but when you see it, you know it for the simplicity of design. It is always driven by love. This story is the why I'm looking for in the projects I agree to work on. Sometimes it's a big project like a play or a film a costume designer is working because plays and movies are magic and she loves making audiences laugh. Or military gear designed by a guy whose back from Afghanistan and wants to protect his buddies still in the forces. Sometimes it's a little project like a father teaching his son to sew. Or a guy who just had two sons and wants to design golf gear for them to share his love of the game with them. Or a friend who wants a custom dress for her wedding to be a beautiful swan for a night while she dances with her new husband.
They all matter because they were created for one simple purpose: as an expression of love from one person to another. I appreciate the money, don't get me wrong. It's what let's Nash and I tell each other our own story of how we love each other and those around us, but it is the story that opens the door for you. Because it tells me your priorities are in the right place.
Thanksgiving is this coming week in the US and I think it's a great moment to stop and reflect on the big picture and how we are spending our time overall. Because time is the one thing you can't get back. How are you spending yours?
Dara and Nash are two happily married craftspeople who love making practical beautiful things.